In an apparent first, Thomson Reuters could face federal penalties for allegedly disciplining an employee over her use of Twitter, according to the Newspaper Guild of New York.
The Guild, which represents more than 420 Thomson Reuters employees, announced Wednesday that the National Labor Relations Board planned to issue a complaint, the equivalent of formal charges, against the company. According to the Guild, the employee in question was a union activist who was responding to a management solicitation for opinions about the company. The employee tweeted that the company should “deal honestly with Guild members.” Thomson Reuters hasn’t replied to a request for comment.
The Guild said the NLRB would also charge Thomson Reuters with illegally cutting employee pay in the amount of $2.4 million a year; and with imposing rules that illegally bar the union from bargaining over wages.
The NLRB complaint would lead to a trial before an administrative law judge unless both parties settle, according to the Guild.
A similar case involving Facebook was settled earlier this year. An ambulance company fired an employee after she criticized her supervisor  on Facebook. The company settled after the NLRB brought a case against it.