On June 6, 2018, the General Counsel of the National Labor Relations Board issued guidance on lawful and unlawful handbook rules under the National Labor Relations Act. This guidance follows the GC’s December 1, 2017 withdrawal of prior guidance on handbook rules that had been issued in 2015. Shortly thereafter, on December 14, 2017, the Board issued its decision in The Boeing Co., in which it articulated a new and more balanced test for assessing the legality of workplace rules, applicable to both unionized and non-unionized employers. Continue Reading NLRB Issues New (And More Balanced) Guidance on Handbook Rules
Many employers would like to ensure that employees focus on their work during their working time – after all, that’s what they’re being paid to do! One way employers attempt to prevent distractions is by implementing a policy that prohibits employees from soliciting their co-workers (Buy cookies! Participate in this raffle! Come to my church supper! Join a union!) or giving them written materials to read while at work. Continue Reading Guidelines for a Valid No-Solicitation/No-Distribution Policy
Practitioners of labor law know that the 5-member panel comprising the National Labor Relations Board is appointed by the President of the United States. The Board majority (three members) are from the President’s party and the remaining two members are from the other party. As the administration changes, so does the Board majority. Continue Reading Recuse Me? Why the NLRB’s Order Vacating the Hy-Brand Decision Should Not Stand
The National Labor Relations Board’s Office of the General Counsel recently issued an Advice Memorandum and, although the employer and employee names are blanked out, it obviously is about James Damore and Google. Unless you have been in the wilds of Pago Pago for a year, you have heard the story of James Damore, the “Googler” (that’s what they call themselves at Google) who, in response to one too many company diversity training initiatives, prepared a memo to convey his thoughts and engage in open dialogue. Continue Reading NLRB GC Is Woke! (In more ways than one…)
Employers struggle with the challenges of social media platforms that allow employees to post information, complaints, and even disclose confidential company information on an anonymous basis. Often, the information is false or misleading – but employers usually find little recourse, as we’ve discussed in a previous post, Employee Warning – GlassDoor Posts May Not Always Be Anonymous (in which we discuss the rare case where the employer triumphs). This week, CNN Money reported on another new app, “Blind,” for employees to make these anonymous postings. Continue Reading Another Anonymous Employee Posting App? Watch Out!
Here we are again on the brink of another possible federal government shutdown, and employers may be wondering how it may impact them. The last time, during the 2013 federal government shutdown, we provided a summary of the shutdown contingency plans for the major employment-related agencies – the Department of Labor (DOL) (which includes the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Wage-Hour Division (WHD)), the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). So we thought we’d provide you with an updated summary of these plans, which set forth what the agencies will and will not do if there is an actual shutdown. Continue Reading EEOC, NLRB and DOL Shutdown Contingency Plans – The 2018 Edition
The new Trump National Labor Relations Board issued two more important decisions last week that reverse positions taken by the Obama Board. In PCC Structurals, Inc., the Board rejected the “overwhelming community of interest” standard for establishing an appropriate bargaining unit. In Raytheon Network Centric Systems, the Board reinstated the standard for determining when there is a change in the terms of employment that triggers the duty to bargain. Continue Reading NLRB Overturns “Overwhelming Community of Interest” Standard and Duty to Bargain Principle
The National Labor Relations Board issued two decisions of major interest to employers on December 14, 2017 – (1) adopting a new, more balanced test for evaluating whether workplace rules infringe upon employees’ rights under the National Labor Relations Act and (2) overturning the broad standard for determining joint employer status and returning to the prior, more practical standard. Continue Reading NLRB Overturns Employee Handbook and Joint Employer Standards
As my colleagues know, I have been unbelievably frustrated over the past eight years about the National Labor Relations Board’s (overly) aggressive pro-union approach. As I have previously complained, during this period, the NLRB has taken unreasonable and illogical positions on issues that for many years had been considered settled and balanced between the interests of employees and employers. These include issues we’ve previously blogged about, including handbook rules (you can’t prohibit recording in the workplace, you can’t prohibit employees from disclosing confidential personnel information), employee conduct (you must tolerate racist and sexist picket line conduct that violates Title VII), and joint employer status (which is found in almost every case, under the NLRB’s test). Continue Reading The Light at the End of the NLRB’s Tunnel?
Last week, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced it was offering a training program on respectful workplaces as an alternative to traditional harassment prevention training. This training was developed following the issuance of the Report of the Co-Chairs of the EEOC’s Select Task Force on the Study of Harassment in the Workplace, The press release included a quote from EEOC Acting Chair and Co-Chair of the Select Task Force Victoria Lipnic that stated, “These trainings incorporate the report’s recommendations on compliance, workplace civility, and bystander intervention training. I believe the trainings can have a real impact on workplace culture, and I hope employers make use of them.” Continue Reading The EEOC’s Civility Training Program – Watch Out For That NLRB Charge!