A few months ago, we wrote about the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB” or “Board”) publishing its widely anticipated final joint-employer rule (the “Final Rule”). The Final Rule overrules the NLRB’s 2020 joint-employer rule and broadly expands the definition of joint-employer under the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA” or “Act”). See Standard for Determining Joint Employer Status, 88 Fed. Reg. 73946 (October 27, 2023) (to be codified at 29 C.F.R. pt. 103).
Continue Reading NLRB’s Final Joint Employer Rule Takes Effect This Month

In an historic development for the financial services industry, a group of employees at a Wells Fargo branch bank in Albuquerque, New Mexico voted this week to join Wells Fargo Workers United, a grassroots labor union backed by the Communications Workers of America. The successful vote marks the first time in memory that employees at a major U.S. bank have elected to unionize. Workers at Wells Fargo branches in California and Florida have also filed for union elections in the past month alone.
Continue Reading Wells Fargo Retail Branch Employees Vote to Join Union

A National Labor Relations Board Administrative Law Judge dismissed the General Counsel’s allegation that the employer violated the National Labor Relations Act by not giving the union representing its employee notice and opportunity to bargain over the discharge of an employee it represented. In doing so, the Administrative Law Judge teed up the issue for the Board to change the law on appeal.
Continue Reading Get Your Bargaining Shoes On

On May 1, 2023, the National Labor Relations Board issued its decision in Lion Elastomers, 372 NLRB No. 83 (2023), which will make it more challenging for employers to discipline workers who engage in abusive workplace conduct in connection with Section 7 activity under Board law. The decision overrules General Motors, 369 NLRB No. 127 (2020), which logically and uniformly applied the Board’s traditional Wright Line burden-shifting framework to cases involving employee outbursts. The Board’s decision reinstates a triad of “setting-specific” tests previously used to determine whether an employee’s opprobrious conduct forfeited the Act’s protection.
Continue Reading NLRB Restores Leniency for Employee Abusive Conduct and Workplace Outbursts

The National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB or the “Board”) Office of General Counsel (“GC”) released an internal advice memorandum on February 27, 2023, which indicates that the NLRB will seek to enforce the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA or the “Act”) against employers that allegedly retaliate against employees for having workplace discussions about racism. The memorandum—which concerned employment actions the Kaiser Permanente Bernard J. Tyson School of Medicine, Inc. (the “Tyson Medical School”) took with respect to a faculty member/physician following various discussions about race in the workplace—sets forth an expansive interpretation of conduct that constitutes protected concerted activity under Section 7 of the Act so as to include general discussions “working to end systemic racism, including its impact at the [e]mployer.”
Continue Reading The National Labor Relations Board Seeks to Regulate Discussions of Race in the Workplace

On March 22, 2023, the General Counsel of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB or the “Board”), Jennifer Abruzzo, issued a memorandum providing guidance in light of the NLRB’s recent decision in McLaren Macomb, 372 NLRB No. 58 (2023). As previously reported, the Board in McLaren Macomb held that overly broad non-disclosure and non-disparagement provisions in severance agreements violate employee rights under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA or the “Act”). The General Counsel’s memorandum—which is directed to the Board’s regional offices over which she exercises supervisory authority—seeks to clarify the scope of the McLaren Macomb decision, including: the types of provisions that may violate the NLRA; language that may be acceptable in light of the decision; whether the decision applies retroactively to previously executed severance agreements; and the potential applicability of the decision to supervisors. The memorandum is not legally binding, but it does give employers a more informed roadmap for how the Board initially will handle unfair labor practice (“ULP”) charges challenging severance agreements.Continue Reading NLRB General Counsel Issues Guidance Memorandum Regarding Severance Agreements

The National Labor Relations Board (“Board” or NLRB) decided in McLaren Macomb, 372 NLRB No. 58 (2023) that an employer violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) by offering furloughed employees severance agreements that contained confidentiality and non-disparagement provisions. “A severance agreement is unlawful if its terms have a reasonable tendency to interfere with, restrain, or coerce employees in the exercise of their [NLRA] rights, and that employers’ proffer of such agreements to employees is unlawful,” announced the Board. In rendering the decision, the NLRB overruled Baylor Univ. Med. Ctr., 369 NLRB No. 43 (2020)[1] and IGT d/b/a Int’l Game Tech., 370 NLRB No. 50 (2020). In those cases, the Board decided that employers did not independently violate the NLRA simply by presenting employees with severance agreements containing non-assistance, non-disclosure, and non-disparagement provisions that arguably restricted NLRA rights absent some additional circumstances.
Continue Reading NLRB Rules Severance Agreements with Confidentiality Provisions Violate Employee NLRA Rights

As part of the bill funding the federal government, President Biden signed into law the Pregnancy Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) and the PUMP for Nursing Mothers Act (PUMP Act). These relatively unknown laws are important pieces of legislation carrying with them significant changes to the workplace for pregnant employees.
Continue Reading Under the Radar Laws Expand Protections for Pregnant Employees in the Workplace

On December 16, 2022, a National Labor Relations Board (Board) majority (Members Kaplan and Ring) issued a Decision and Order holding that an employer’s conduct did not warrant setting aside a union election where the employer failed to strictly adhere to regulations requiring employers to provide unions a voter list comprised of employee names and contact information (commonly known as an Excelsior list).
Continue Reading Common Sense Wins the Day (sort of) in Board Ruling Concerning Substantial Regulatory Compliance

On October 19, 2022, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released the new “Know Your Rights: Workplace Discrimination is Illegal” poster, which updates and replaces the previous “EEO is the Law” poster. Covered employers are required by federal law to prominently display the poster at their work sites.
Continue Reading Know Your Rights: EEOC Releases Updated Worksite Poster