A recent memorandum released by National Labor Relations Board (Board) General Counsel Jennifer Abruzzo previews a Biden-appointed Board’s agenda and priorities. In the August 12, 2021 “Mandatory Submission to Advice” memorandum, General Counsel Abruzzo identifies three types of cases and subject matter areas that the General Counsel would like to “carefully examine.” These three types of cases and subject matter areas include: (1) cases where the Trump-appointed Board overruled past Board precedent, (2) “other initiatives and areas that, while not necessarily the subject of a more recent Board decision, are nevertheless ones [the General Counsel] would like to carefully examine,” and (3) “casehandling matters traditionally submitted to Advice.” Accordingly, General Counsel Abruzzo has instructed the Board’s Regional Directors to seek advice for cases that fall into these three categories.
Continue Reading Memo from NLRB General Counsel Signals Upcoming Shifts in Board Precedent

Covid-19 has left employers who want their employees back in the office in a difficult position. With the pandemic still raging, many employees are fearful of returning to the office with unvaccinated peers. In order to ease their employees’ concerns and provide a safe work environment, some employers are offering incentives to get vaccinated.
Continue Reading Legal Considerations of Employer-Provided Covid-19 Vaccine Incentives

Given the pervasiveness of social media in society, the National Labor Relations Board has been forced to frequently weigh in on the intersection between employee and employer’s social media activity and labor law. The Board has released a great catalog of cases over the past decade touching on issues related to the workplace and social media—these issues range from what social media policies and employer may enact to what discipline an employer may impose for an employee’s social media conduct.
Continue Reading NLRB Finds Executive’s Joking Tweet Violated Federal Labor Law

COVID-19 has fundamentally changed the way representation elections are conducted.  From March 1 to November 16, 2020, the National Labor Relations Board issued 167 election decisions and, of those, only 2 manual elections have been directed to proceed in that time-frame.  This is a marked change in the Board’s longstanding preference for manual elections.  The overwhelming trend towards mail-in elections was necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic. 
Continue Reading NLRB Provides Clarity On Pandemic-Related Circumstances Justifying Mail-In Elections

Due to the outbreak of COVID-19 and the inherent risks in holding large gatherings of people, the prospect of mail ballot elections has recently received considerable national attention. Typically, this attention is focused on how mail ballot elections might affect voter turnout or election results in state and federal elections and whether it might benefit one party over the other.
Continue Reading Mail Ballot Elections: The New “Preferred Method” for Holding Union Representation Elections?

On September 10, 2020, the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts issued a Memorandum and Order granting summary judgment in favor of a franchisor in response to claims by a purported class of franchisees that they were not truly independent contractors, but employees of the franchisor. The main issue addressed in the case was whether specific federal legal requirements that are imposed upon franchisors trump the general Massachusetts independent contractor classification statute.
Continue Reading Massachusetts District Court Rejects Employee Classification for Franchisees

Earlier this month, the NLRB General Counsel released a guidance memo urging the Board to apply the “more than ministerial aid” standard when evaluating whether an employer’s assistance in union organizing violates the National Labor Relations Act.
Continue Reading NLRB GC Memo Clarifies the Standard to Evaluate Employer Assistance in Union Organizing

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

Many employers will need all hands on deck once shelter-in place orders are lifted. In a perfect world, employees would return to the workplace and seamlessly divide their vacation requests throughout the remainder of the year. In reality, employees may immediately seek to take time off, causing an influx of overlapping vacation requests.
Continue Reading Viewpoint: Minimize Vacation Scheduling Conflicts in the Pandemic