It’s that time of year when many folks look forward to seeing family members near and far. In the context of the pandemic, however, the CDC and many state and local officials are recommending that folks avoid travel and gatherings with those outside of the immediate household.  Given the workplace impact of employees’ holiday travel – with possible infections, exposures, and quarantines – employers are wondering whether they can prohibit employees from traveling during the holidays. And the answer, of course: It’s complicated.

Continue Reading It’s The Holiday Season – Can Employers Restrict Personal Travel?

As a follow up to my last post on political discussions in the workplace, I thought it might be helpful to employers to discuss other, material aspects of politics in the workplace – such as campaign posters, flyers, buttons, and clothing.

Given that, as we now know, you can ban (most) political speech in the workplace, most of you will not be surprised that you can ban (most) political paraphernalia in the workplace. There are caveats, of course.donkey-and-elephant

First, you may have a solicitation and distribution policy that would prohibit posters (soliciting political support) in employees’ workspaces, or the distribution of political flyers in working areas. Similarly, your dress code policy may instruct employees that they may not wear clothing with slogans or words (political or otherwise).


Continue Reading Political Paraphernalia in the Workplace

In the latest round of extreme workplace rulings, the National Labor Relations Board has found yet another reasonable employer work rule to violate the National Labor Relations Act. recorderIn this case, Whole Foods Market, Inc., the employer had implemented two “no recording” policies: one that prohibited employees from making audio or video recordings of company meetings without prior management approval or the consent of all parties to the conversation, and the other that prohibited employees from recording conversations without prior management approval.

The first policy stated that it was intended “to encourage open communication, free exchange of ideas, spontaneous and honest dialogue and an atmosphere of trust.” The second policy specifically explained that,

“The purpose of this policy is to eliminate a chilling effect on the expression of views that may exist when one person is concerned that his or her conversation with another is being secretly recorded. This concern can inhibit spontaneous and honest dialogue especially when sensitive or confidential matters are being discussed.”

That seems pretty rational, doesn’t it?


Continue Reading NLRB Says “No Recordings” Rule Is Illegal