The General Counsel (GC) of the National Labor Relations Board issued a memo on October 24, 2018 that focused on the unions’ duty of fair representation to their bargaining unit members. Numerous commentators, including management-side attorneys (as I am), trumpeted the fact that the Board is holding unions accountable. There seemed to be a feeling that, after years of employers being attacked by a left-leaning Board, the playing field is being re-leveled. But, as my partner Mike McGuire pointed out, is this really good for employers?
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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.
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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).
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