National Labor Relations Act

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 (“Board” or NLRB) recently decided in Noah’s Ark Processors, LLC d/b/a WR Reserve, 372 NLRB No. 80 (2023) to impose extraordinary remedies upon an employer who violated a court order imposing certain collective bargaining obligations and committed multiple violations of the NLRA throughout the collective bargaining process. The extraordinary remedies included: the posting and distribution of a notice explaining employee rights under the NLRA (in addition to the standard notice that states the NLRB found NLRA violations, the violator will not commit those violations in the future, and the remedies); the reading of the notices in the presence of employees by the employer’s chief executive officer, or, if the employer prefers, by a Board agent in the presence of the CEO; and site visits by an NLRB agent to determine compliance for one year.
Continue Reading NLRB Discusses Extraordinary Remedies Available for Egregious or Habitual Violations

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

Yesterday, the National Labor Relations Board (“Board” or “NLRB”) in American Steel Construction, Inc., 372 NLRB No. 23 (2022) decided that employers must meet a heightened burden to expand a voting unit sought by a union in a union election. The decision is a significant development because it makes it easier for unions to organize workforces. And it marks yet another reversal of precedent by the Board to the benefit of unions. (We’ve discussed prior reversals here and here.)Continue Reading NLRB Reinstates “Micro Unit” Standard Making it Easier for Unions to Cherry Pick Voting Units

Last week, the National Labor Relations Board (“Board” or “NLRB”) decided that an employer no longer can unilaterally stop union dues deductions from employee pay pursuant to a dues-checkoff clause once a collective-bargaining agreement (“CBA”) expires absent a lawful impasse during negotiations for a successor agreement.
Continue Reading NLRB Says Employers Can No Longer Stop Union Dues Deductions When CBAs Expire

In Amnesty International of the USA, Inc., 368 NLRB No. 112 (2019), a number of paid staff of the nonprofit advocacy group joined a petition circulated by Amnesty’s unpaid interns, seeking compensation of their volunteer work.  In response to the petition, the director of the organization made statements that she was “disappointed” that the signers of the petitioners had not availed themselves of the organization’s open door policy to discuss the matter with her and the executive team before signing the petition, and that she did not think the petition was “appropriate” as it was “litigious” and “adversarial.” 
Continue Reading The NLRB Rules that Unpaid Interns Are Not Employees Under the Act