What the National Labor Relations Rulings Means for You
Recent NLRB rulings should cause employers to take a second look at their employment related policies and practices. For a business owner it’s advisable to review the language in your handbooks and policies to ensure they are not out of step with recent rulings handed down by the NLRB.
Review your handbook to ensure that policies are not overly broad, as defined by Section 7 - The Rights of Employees- in the National Labor Relations Act. Under this ruling, policies that are "too broad," or not specific enough, contain language that infringes on an employee’s right to engage in protected concerted activities.
Protected concerted activities means the law gives employees the right to act together to improve their pay and working conditions, with or without a union.
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Key Takeaways of Recent NLRB Rulings
Common sense alone cannot guide you in these cases. For example, any policy that claims information about wages, benefits, terms and conditions are confidential probably violates the law. Policies that restrict employees from the workplace during non-working hours are not specific enough and ruled unlawful by the NLRB Board.
We recommend that you take the following approach to policy review:
- Review your employee handbooks, policy manuals, social media policies, work rules, plant rules, and individual employee agreements – including confidentiality and non-disclosure agreements. Change any language that possibly interferes with an employee's right to exercise "protected and concerted action" or even having a "chilling affect" on that right.
- Revise policies that have a potential liability for unfair labor practices but still protect your rights. Make any revisions before having knowledge of any union-organizing activity.
- You may include specific examples and disclaimer language that clarifies the restricted conduct or activity as well as accepted behavior.
- Before taking disciplinary or dismissal action, carefully review any previous enforcement of the policy.
How We Can Help
We have experts in Labor Relations who keep up with the latest rulings. We know how to construct policies that are acceptable to the NLRB and other legal entities. Call us
for a review of your handbook and policies. If you do not have an employee handbook, we can create one for you and help keep your policies compliant and up to date.
Latest News on NLRB
In recent weeks, the Supreme Court ruled that two members of the NLRB were unlawfully appointed, so rulings of the past two years may be reargued. These cases included a decision protecting workers from being fired for complaining about their jobs on social media and decisions that struck down policies preventing workers from discussing private matters involving other employees. The current NLRB maintains a majority who generally agree with the previous rulings. We therefore, expect the rulings to stand and encourage you to review your policies.