Applebee's Employee Takes A Stand Against Facebook Ban

Applebees Facebook banGive him the status update or give him the axe.

Receiving word that his employer, Applebee's, planned to impose a ban on its employees posting negative comments about the company on Facebook, 36-year old Jason Cook decided to take a stand. Without any particular gripe to air with regard to his employer, which formally is the Apple American Group, Cook took to the social media website to post his protest.

"I have come home and talked to my family. I have wrestled with my conscious [sic], and weighed my options. A line has been drawn in the sand. I'm not sacrificing my principles," he wrote Aug. 31 regarding the new regulation, according to an ABC report.

Cook's decision to draw a line in the sand comes on the heels of major developments in the nascent field of social media labor law. The ability to interface with other digital users is perhaps the defining aspect of the Web 2.0, as was forecast by Steve Jobs during his first stint as CEO of the Apple company. But while many were foreseeing some form of established digital dialogue, few could have imagined the form it was going to take.

Indeed, an endless stream of tweets, status updates and pokes has been part of a transformation in communications not seen since Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press in the 16th Century. And the elimination of barriers has created unprecedented workplace conflicts. Should an employer have the right to control an employee's social media identity? Variations on answers to that question, which have appeared in myriad iterations over the last few years, motivated the National Labor Relations Board to release codes of conduct earlier this month.

As reported on AOL Jobs, the set of guidelines derive from established precedents for workers' rights as well as the NLRB's experience with prior social media cases. In the broadest terms, employees have long been protected from employer retaliation when engaging in a "concerted activity" to improve their working conditions. In deciding what to protect, the NLRB will continue to look for action deemed to be constructive, as opposed to an individual gripe. (Nasty wall posts are most likely not going to be protected.) And while the NLRB is more likely to protect actions made by a group, with or without the help of a union, there is precedent for the NLRB protecting individuals who seek to improve labor conditions on their own.

Apple American has yet to respond to Cook's stance, but as the NewsCore service reported, he was told that such a posture would result in the termination of this job. Having worked for Applebee's for three years in the greater Seattle area, Cook expressed a willingness to compromise with his employer. "The words 'negative comments' should be changed to 'slanderous comments,' " he wrote on Facebook.

Observers expect Apple American, which owns some 270 Applebee's, to address the controversy by this Wednesday.



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pat corona

What is freedom of expression? Without the freedom to Offend, it ceases to exist. Salman Rushdie

Truer words were never spoken!! This goes for Freedom of Speech as well.

September 13 2011 at 10:37 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
ckevinbaldwin

ALSO: He won't be "charged with slander" or any other "crime" b/c slander is NOT a crime. It is a common law tort. Meaning he can be sued. if sued, truth is the ultimate defense. The Gov. will not charge him with anything b/c they DON"T CARE!!! Its a civil matter.

September 13 2011 at 1:38 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to ckevinbaldwin's comment
ItGravyBaby

It is not possible to "slander" someone on Facebook b/c slander is spoken whereas libel is written.

September 13 2011 at 8:58 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
ckevinbaldwin

OMG!! Didn't anyone pay attention in your high school civics class???

The "Bill of Rights" which is what the 1st ten amendments to the constitution are generally called ONLY LIMIT THE ACTIONS OF THE GOVERNMENT WITH REGARD TO THE PEOPLE!!! It does NOT apply to private corporations. The 1st Amendment prohibits the Gov. from retaliating against you for your speech or from restricting your speech. It does not protect you from being fired by your employer for complaining, blogging, or any other such thing. You still have your rights, b/c the gov. hasn't taken any action against you. Just as the corporation has its right to fire you for sharing your thoughts.

September 13 2011 at 1:37 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Johanna

I know that cage-fighting is popular with some people, but it does not belong in what once was a family oriented restaurant with mediocre food. The one in San Dimas, CA, is impossible to eat in on a weekend night with televisions on every wall on the cage fight stations with the loud volume, people yelling and screaming, and try to eat while someone's teeth are punched out of their mouth and the arena is full of blood (on TV) all in all a pretty crappy condition to 'enjoy' even a mediocre meal. We're done with Applebee's :P It's the bottom rung of the eatery scale.

September 13 2011 at 1:02 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
catwomencjk

applebee has the right to protect its interest. however, illegal or immoral activity by applebee can be
addressed by those aggrieved. the individual slandering the company may be charged with slander
or even false accusations. both applebee and the unhappy employee may be battling in court soon.

September 13 2011 at 12:54 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
vwells7957

Don't be stupid! If you have a job, be loyal & don't get fired over stupid principles. At least wait until you have a new job, but you new employer may not trust you if you start badmothing a former employer.

September 13 2011 at 12:53 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
corey

This is news? Who cares?

September 13 2011 at 12:40 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
stripedbass7

Im a Customer & not an employee, & any company that tells You, That You Cant Speak THE TRUTH. i wont go to.
p.s. applebees was good when they 1st opened, now they are typical corporate CRAP food.

September 13 2011 at 12:38 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to stripedbass7's comment
tamarya

yeah because what are they hiding from their paying customers, we also have a right to know what goes on in a business for our protection and safety and if businesses to do not like someone speaking the truth they should be shut down. Thats like if I would hire a babysitter for my children that is recieving a check from me, if they would complain if I were to be mean to the children, or of I did not upkeep my house and they complained about the shape the home was in they would have every right to do that, even though I am paying them. Yes if the slandering was false I would have every right to sue, but if it is true, in that case, me the paying employer would be out of luck. And in that case it would not be a matter of a business shutting down, it could be a matter of losing my children. Or having cps hounding me for yrs even if the accusations were false. With applebees it is not like the bbb or osha is hounding them because of the posts.

September 13 2011 at 1:02 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
dtgswan

The last time I went to Applebees in NY, we got curbside takeout. We got a free side of cockaroaches in the bag. Disgusting.

September 13 2011 at 12:35 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
stripedbass7

an employee Knows, that the Manager that has the right to fire him. Then He sees the manager ,drop food and put it back on the plate, But only those 2 witnessed it.... Your saying he CANT tell the public"

September 13 2011 at 12:34 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to stripedbass7's comment
ItGravyBaby

If the employee wants to be a news reporter s/he shouldn't be accepting a paycheck from a food establishment. It's sometimes difficult for ppl to understand that when they accept a paycheck they give up things like freedom of speech. Employees are paid to do as they're told.

September 13 2011 at 9:09 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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