Over the past 40 years, the National Labor Relations Board has grappled with the appropriate balance between an employer’s right to discipline an employee for abusive behavior and an employee’s right to engage in Section 7 activity. Much to the dismay of employers, this balancing act has historically tipped heavily in favor of protecting an employee’s right to engage in Section 7 activity at the expense of an employer’s right to discipline its employees for conduct such as using racial slurs while picketing, engaging in sexist behavior, or yelling obscenities at a supervisor while discussing wages.
Continue Reading NLRB Loosens Restrictions on Employee Discipline for Abusive Conduct and Speech

The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia has issued its third, and presumably final, decision in the lawsuit challenging the National Labor Relations Board’s new election rules. In the latest order, the Court granted summary judgement in favor of the NLRB on the remaining counts of the complaint.
Continue Reading NLRB Prevails in Remaining Challenges to Election Regulations

On May 30, 2020, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia issued a two page order invalidating five elements of the NLRB’s 2019 election regulation, based on Count One of the plaintiff’s complaint.  On June 7, the court issued its promised memorandum opinion further explaining that order. 
Continue Reading NLRB: Federal Court in DC Issues Promised Opinion on Election Regulations

In mid-May the NLRB established a clear rule regarding stray marks on ballots in union representation elections, eradicating years of convoluted and inconsistent precedent. The decision, which applied retroactively, resulted in a union’s failure to amass a majority of the votes and, consequently, a reversal of the Regional Director’s Decision and Certification of Representation.
Continue Reading NLRB Provides Clarity and Consistency to Stray Marks on Ballots

In another decision recognizing employers’ rights to issue reasonable prohibitions even if they have some slight impact of employees’ right to engage in concerted activity under the National Labor Relations Act, a beverage manufacturer’s rules banning cell phones in food production and warehouse working areas was recently upheld by the National Labor Relations Board.  Cott Beverages Inc., 369 NLRB No. 82 (2020).
Continue Reading NLRB: Employer Allowed to Ban Cellphones in Beverage Production and Warehouse Working Areas

Social distancing and uncertainty about COVID-19 have altered many aspects of daily life, uprooted traditions, and redefined “normal.” Unions are seizing this opportunity in a push for electronic representation elections.  On May 6, a coalition of fourteen unions urged Nancy Pelosi, Mitch McConnell, Kevin McCarthy, and Chuck Schumer to fund and direct the NLRB to establish a system and procedures to facilitate electronic union representation elections.
Continue Reading Electronic Union Representation Elections Are Looming

In a recent decision of first impression, the NLRB held that its contract coverage doctrine does not apply to changes to the terms and conditions of employment after the expiration of the parties’ collective bargaining agreement, unless the contract contained explicit language that the relevant provision would survive contract expiration. 
Continue Reading NLRB: Employer Right to Take Unilateral Action Under a Collective-Bargaining Agreement Does Not Survive the Expiration of the Agreement Absent Explicit Language to the Contrary

Almost overnight, COVID-19 has radically altered the American workplace.  Employers and employees alike have been forced to adapt to unique issues related to employee health, compensation, leave, and in unfortunate circumstances, furlough or lay-off.
Such change may be accompanied by grievances, concerns, and fears.  And in some instances, employees will desire to communicate those anxieties to the greater public at large. 
Continue Reading Navigating Employee Media Communications in the Age of COVID-19: A Recent NLRB Decision Provides Useful Guidance