Chipotle has been banned from punishing employees for their social media activity.
The National Labour Relations Board ruled last week that the company’s social media policy, which prohibits employees from disparaging the company publicly online, violates federal labour law, Eater reports.
The NLRB has ordered Chipotle to get rid of the policy, as well as terminate a number of other policies, including one that restricts employees from circulating petitions for better working conditions and another that prohibits employees from discussing politics and religion.
Chipotle has been ordered to post signs at its restaurants noting that the policies were illegal.
The social media policy in particular banned employees from “posting incomplete, confidential, or inaccurate information and making disparaging, false, or misleading statements,” according to the NLRB ruling.
The NLRB issued the order in response to Chipotle’s 2015 firing of James Kennedy, a Philadelphia-area restaurant employee, who circulated a petition claiming that workers weren’t able to take breaks just before he was fired. Two weeks prior to circulating the petition, Kennedy was reprimanded by Chipotle management for a tweet about the company’s wages.
He wrote: “@ChipotleTweets, nothing is free, only cheap #labour. Crew members make only $8.50hr how much is that steak bowl really?” Kennedy later removed the tweet at the request of a supervisor.
An administrative judge ruled in March that Chipotle must offer to rehire Kennedy and pay him for lost wages.
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