We have reported on several Board decisions issued by a new Republican majority in the final days of 2017, but questions remain as to what issues the Board will address next to scale back on Obama-era precedent. In recent weeks, Republican Board Members have provided some hints in a pair of footnotes in two unpublished decisions.
Employers should be aware of a recent ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit that overly broad confidentiality and nondisparagement policies violate the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”). The case, Quicken Loans v. NLRB, 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 13778 (D.C. Cir.), involved an employment policy which prohibited employees from using or disclosing a broad range of personnel information without Quicken’s prior written consent or to criticize publicly the company and its management. The National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB” or “Board”) determined that those rules ran afoul of Section 7 of the NLRA because they “unreasonably burden the employees’ ability to discuss legitimate employment matters, to protest employer practices, and to organize.” Quicken then appealed the NLRB’s decision to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.
The newly-enacted Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA) represents a significant new weapon for companies to prosecute trade secret violations. Among other features, the DTSA creates a federal cause of action for theft of trade secrets and a provision for judicial ex parte seizure of stolen property, double damages, and attorneys’ fees. Please join Hunton & Williams LLP for a complimentary webinar on August 3, 2016, 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. (EDT) that will cover the important aspects of the law, including the language that needs to be inserted into employment and confidentiality/non-disclosure agreements to ensure your company can take full advantage of the law.
Yesterday, John Smith, the president of ABC Bank, announced to the board of directors that he intended to resign to go work for XYZ Bank, a local competitor. Smith also intends to take some of the bank’s most important customers, and several top officers with him to XYZ Bank. Upset and panicked, the chair of the board contacted the bank’s employment attorney to determine what could be done to stop the president from leaving and taking customers and employees with him. “Send me a copy of John’s employment agreement,” the lawyer said. “Employment agreement? The board did not think John needed one. We never imagined he would quit.”