Labor & Employment Law Daily Barstool Sports settles NLRB charges prompted by threatening tweets about union activity
Friday, January 24, 2020

Barstool Sports settles NLRB charges prompted by threatening tweets about union activity

By Pamela Wolf, J.D.

As part of the settlement agreement, the tweets and a purportedly fake twitter account about union activity inside Barstool Sports must be removed.

In a case that attracted widespread attention when David Portnoy, the founder of Barstool Sports, Inc., a sports and pop culture blog, tweeted threats to fire workers who engaged in union organizing activity, the National Labor Relations Board has resolved the case with a settlement under which Barstool Sports will be required to post for 60 days notices of employees’ rights under the National Labor Relations Act.

The notices must be posted at Barstool’s New York headquarters and satellite offices in Dallas, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Watertown, Massachusetts. They must be signed and dated by the employer, not the employer’s attorney, and also emailed to the last known email addresses of all employees who worked for Barstool on August 13, 2019—the day he launched his infamous twitter tirade.

Tweets immediately drew criticism. In addition to prompting warnings from Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and the AFL-CIO, and others, that he was likely violating labor law, Portnoy’s tweets prompted pro-union attorney David Rosenfeld to file unfair labor practice charges on behalf of the Industrial Workers of the World Freelance Journalists/Committee to Preserve the Religious Right to Organize.

The settlement agreement resolves three unfair labor practice cases charging Section 8(a)(1) coercive statement violations.

Twitter account relief. As part of the settlement, Barstool Sports is required to verify that it has “removed from Dave Portnoy’s Twitter Account @STOOLPRESIDENTE the two tweets he made on August 13, 2019, referencing discharging and suing employees if they support, seek assistance from, or make inquiries about any labor organization.” Barstool Sports must also remove its @BSSUNION Twitter Account, an allegedly fake account purporting to be the “labor movement inside Barstool Sports.”

Website video. Under the agreement, Barstool Sports must in addition remove from its website the video, “Professor Nate Explains Unions,” which was posted on August 14, 2019.

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