Joking at work?…Courts may call it a threat
Joking Tweet was illegal
According to the National Labor Relations Board and a recent HR Dive Article you can get in deep trouble if joking around about the wrong thing. Ben Domenech, publisher of The Federalist, found out recently while letting staff know through a personal tweet that if anyone tried to unionize “I swear I’ll send you back to the salt mine.” Union organizing has been protected since the mid to late 1800s and even more so since the National Labor Relations Act was established near the mid 1900s.
What Mister Domenech apparently failed to understand and obviously failed to refer to his human resources staff was that employers may not threaten, interrogate, promise or spy on union organizers and interested employees without proper legal and due process. His words, without a doubt, were considered as a threat whether the salt mines were a real place or they were just an analogy of what might happen to those employees who gave unions any consideration.
Some of you may recall a similar tweet from Tesla CEO Elon Musk when he tweeted that employees that attempted to unionize would lose their stock options in Tesla. While it may be true through future union negotiations it is still considered a threat until it is actually being negotiated.