Things are tough in the business of selling cars, so much so that at least one person thinks the quality of food can affect sales of the ultimate driving machine. At least that’s the gist of a complaint announced today by The National Labor Relations Board against Knauz BMW, a long-time Chicago area BMW dealership. NLRB alleges unlawful termination of an employee for posting photos and comments on Facebook that were critical of the dealership.
The fired employee in question, a car salesman, and coworkers were allegedly unhappy with the quality of food and beverages at a dealership event promoting a new BMW model. Salesmen complained that their sales commissions could suffer as a result.
Following the event, the salesman posted photos and commentary on his Facebook page critical that only hot dogs (not bratwurst?) and bottled water were being offered to customers. Other employees had access to the Facebook page.
The following week, the dealership’s management asked the salesman to remove the posts, and he immediately complied. Nevertheless, NLRB says that shortly after a meeting with managers on June 16, the salesman was terminated for posting the images and comments.
The complaint alleges that the employee’s Facebook posting was protected concerted activity within the meaning of Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act, because it involved a discussion among employees about their terms and conditions of employment, and did not lose protection based on the nature of the comments.
Unless the complaint is settled, the Knauz BMW case will be heard by an administrative law judge on 21 July 2011, in the Chicago Regional office of the NLRB.
If the complaint stands should the BMW slogan should be changed to the ultimate dining machine?