There has been a lot of discussion over the past few years about what employees can and can not say on social media sites. It is one thing for employers to ban employees from posting negative things about the company, but requiring employees to post positive things about the company is another subject altogether. Can an employer force you to lie about the company you work for?
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PayScale reported the that National Labor Relations Board came to the defense of employees who were fired for discussing their workplace situation via Facebook. It is important to note that the employees were not slandering their employer nor it’s customers.
There are numerous cases of employees being threatened or let go as a result of Facebook posts that deliberately made fun of or slandered the company or its customers. But some companies take it a step further and ask their employees to post positive comments about the company, whether or not those statements are true.
For example, say you work in a restaurant that has received negative reviews on Yelp. Your boss tell you to join Yelp and post positive review of the restaurant, but you agree with the disappointed customers and would prefer your restaurant make improvements.
Is posting these comments any different from a secretary who is told to tell a caller that the boss is “in a meeting” when they really just don’t want to talk to somebody? And when the caller figures it out, he chews out the poor secretary or receptionist who has no control over the boss’s behavior. Technically, it may be perfectly legal for your employer to ask you to lie to one person, but what about anonymously posting on a public forum?
The answer depends on the policy of whatever site you are asked to post the review on. Most sites, including Yelp, work hard to ensure that their reviews are honest and reliable. If you are confronted with this kind of demand, it may be time to talk to upper management about the fact that negative reviews may expose fundamental problems that they should address instead of try to cover up. If this kind of tactic doesn’t work, then it may be time to start looking for a new job.
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