On June 1, 2021, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit overturned a NLRB determination that a manager’s incorrect blaming of a union for discrepancies in an employee’s paid-leave time constituted an unfair labor practice. The pivotal issue was whether the manager’s statements had a reasonable tendency to interfere with employees’ labor rights. As discussed below, the D.C. Circuit rejected the NLRB’s determination that the manager’s statements had a reasonable tendency to interfere with employees’ labor rights, reasoning that the manager’s misstatements were lawful expressions of the employer’s opinions.
Continue Reading D.C. Circuit Clarifies Boundaries of Protected Employer Expressions

It is early in 2021 and already the NLRB has before it ALJ determinations that employee handbook policies conflict with the NLRA. When analyzing employee handbook policies, the Board generally applies the Boeing test, whereby a handbook policy’s potential interference with employee rights under the NLRA is balanced against an employer’s legitimate justifications for the policy, when viewing the policy from the employee’s perspective. While the NLRA and the Boeing test apply to a number of employee handbook policies, confidentiality, social media, and solicitation/distribution policies are especially vulnerable.
Continue Reading It’s Time Again for Employers to Ensure Handbook Compliance

On December 21, 2020 the NLRB adopted an ALJ’s determination that a union’s request for information about non-bargaining unit employees was relevant. One of the issues present in the case was whether a union’s request for information about non-bargaining unit employees sought relevant information. The NLRB upheld the ALJ’s determination that the information was relevant solely because the employer should have known the information was relevant based on the circumstances surrounding the request.
Continue Reading Information on Non-Unit Employees May Become Relevant Once Grievance Filed

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

On July 27, 2020 the NLRB issued a supplemental decision involving a labor law successor employer, which unilaterally implemented terms and conditions of employment prior to commencing operations. The question presented was whether and to what extent the successor could take further unilateral action, free of the duty to bargain with the union.
Continue Reading NLRB Clarifies Successor Employer’s Duty to Bargain Over New Employment Terms

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

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

An employer’s duty to bargain may change during emergency situations, and the General Counsel for the National Labor Relations Board released a series of case summaries Friday to help employers navigate the exceptions. General Counsel Peter Robb summarized nine Board cases addressing both general public emergencies and emergencies particular to individual employers.  Robb did not make any declarations about how the COVID-19 outbreak and associated response might affect bargaining obligations, but the summarized cases provide good examples of bargaining exceptions that may or may not apply.
Continue Reading NLRB General Counsel Releases Emergency Bargaining Case Summaries

In Country Wide Financial Corporation, 369 NLRB No. 12 (2020), the National Labor Relations Board ruled that an mandatory arbitration agreement violated the National Labor Relations Act because it restricted an employees’ ability to file and pursue unfair labor practice charges before the Board.
Continue Reading The NLRB Rules Mandatory Arbitration Agreement As Overbroad