Settlement Forestalls Case Law Precedent
THE BROADLY-WATCHED CASE BETWEEN American Medical Response (AMR) and one of their former employees has been settled out of court, thus postponing any hopes people may have had for a determination of how “free” and employee’s free speech rights are. (For a brief background report on what this refers to, read the earlier Firegeezer posting HERE.)
Dawnmarie Souza, the EMT who was fired after she posted unflattering descriptions of her supervisors at AMR on her Facebook page, has agreed to a 2-part settlement with AMR and the encouragement of the federal judge hearing the complaint.
The Associated Press sums it up:
The National Labor Relations Board sued the company last year, arguing the worker’s negative comments were protected speech under federal labor laws. The company claimed it fired the emergency medical technician because of complaints about her work.
Under the settlement with the labor board, American Medical Response of Connecticut Inc. agreed to change its blogging and Internet policy that barred workers from disparaging the company or its supervisors. The company also will revise another policy that prohibited employees from depicting the company in any way over the Internet without permission.
Terms of a private settlement agreement between the employee, Dawnmarie Souza, and the company were not disclosed, but Kreisberg said the parties reached a financial settlement. Souza will not be returning to work there.
Many people had been anticipating a legal decision that defined the limts an employer could impose on an employee’s right to talk about their workplace and superiors. They will have to wait longer, now.