In the news

Posted January 31, 2013 at 12:37 pm

BABBLING BROOKS column–Express Editor Kim Brooks

Some news tidbits to end the month of January…

I saw a posting on Facebook the other day from a news source, KGAN CBS channel 2 news. (I know, never believe anything you see on Facebook.)

The gist of the post was that is apparently legal to use social media outlets to complain about your job and your boss, as long as you don’t release personal company information.

I wanted to find whether this nonsense news was factual or not and I came across an article to prove, in fact, it was right on!

According to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), which is a federal agency, prohibiting employees from using and accessing social media sites (such as Facebook and Twitter) could be illegal. It said some employer policies, which are done in good intention, might be stretching it.

Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act says that it is legit for employees to take to social media to discuss such things as salary and benefits. It is also okay for employees to discuss job-related problems. This applies to both union and nonunion employees.

Section 7 refers to such activity as “protected concerted activity.”

One stipulation to employees, though, is the fact that they are prohibited from disclosing company or business secrets or trade information. Obviously for larger companies, this can be an issue.

No even if the federal NLRB allows for such networking, as I’ll call it, that doesn’t mean an employer can’t discourage social networking within an employee contract.

With all that said, would you still want to take to the Internet to air your grievances about your job or your boss? The Internet… where everything remains a secret right? Yeah, think again!

Once it’s out there in cyber world, it’s out there to stay. Nothing is safe online anymore.

I wouldn’t want to be that employee testing this law either. On Facebook, everything has a connection, so you never who is going to come across your post. You just never know. Your friend’s brother’s girlfriend’s aunt may not see your Facebook profile, but through the process of social media, that aunt might get word of your frustration with your job and just happen to know your boss. Your future at that company is now in jeopardy.

Last week we also heard new military news concerning women in combat. The U.S. Defense Secretary lifted the ban on women serving in combat roles on the front lines during war.

It seems our government is another step closer to “the times.”

Almost 20 years now, a 1994 ruling banned women from the front lines.

My mother served in the Army in the mid-1970s. She was stationed in South Korea, which, at the time, was still a bit shaky. She has recalled stories of minor incidents that turned into bigger issues while she was there.

Now, she wasn’t fighting, but she still represented her country in an office-type setting. Now, women make up about 15 percent of the military. (I would have thought that figure would be higher.)

She said when she enlisted, women at that time had a choice as to whether they wanted to shoot with an M16 rifle or not. She decided against it. Now, women have no choice.

I am in full support of this mandate! If a female could prove her strength next to a male when it comes to fighting in combat, than why not allow her the same rights as her male counterpart?

To become a fire fighter, in most instances, a woman has to prove her strength just like a male fire fighter.

Get with the times! Women are not just sitting behind desks working in secretarial positions anymore. Now I’m just waiting for the day when we see a female president…