Marquez Brothers International Inc., a manufacturer of cheese and other products, sued a temporary worker for making false statements in Facebook posts, according to court records.
According to the lawsuit, temporary worker Aaron Pruitt made Facebook posts alleging unsanitary conditions at Marquez’s food processing plant in Hanford, Calif., and that the company violated the labor code. Allegations included that the plant had cockroaches nearby and inside food processing machines.
“Defendant acted with malice, oppression or fraud in knowingly posting the false, negative information about plaintiff on the public forum,” according to court records.
The court issued a preliminary injunction against Pruitt on Nov. 16 prohibiting him from posting audio or video recordings of the plant, although the case is still in court.
The lawsuit, Marquez Brothers International Inc. v. Aaron Pruitt, was filed in October in Fresno County Superior court. The defamatory Facebook posts and text messages were made on Oct. 18.
Some businesses use nondisparagement clauses to prohibit employees from making critical comments, even after their employment has ended. Here’s one example. However, there can be limits. According to the California Employment Law Report, a new law in the state, SB 1300, prohibits employers from requiring workers to sign nondisparagement agreements that deny workers the right to disclose information about unlawful acts such as sexual harassment.