On September 8, 2021, the House Education and Labor Committee issued proposed legislation in connection with the House’s new spending bill. Among other pro-union proposals issued in connection with the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act, the proposed legislation seeks to amend the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) by banning class and collective action waivers.
Continue Reading Proposed Federal Legislation Quietly Threatens Viability of Class and Collective Action Waivers Through New House Spending Bill

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

Scabby the Rat is a familiar sight in disputes between unions and employers. Scabby, a giant inflatable rat with red eyes, fangs, and claws, is often placed outside the places of business of employers with whom a union has a labor dispute (the “primary” employer).  Recently, the NLRB again addressed the issue of whether such union protests can be directed against a “secondary” neutral employer who does business with the primary employer but who is not party to the underlying labor dispute.
Continue Reading Scabby the Rat, Coming to a Business Near You? It’s Possible.

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

With the ushering in of a new administration, several changes have quickly taken place at the National Labor Relations Board. Within hours of taking office, the Biden administration removed Trump appointee NLRB General Counsel Peter Robb and replaced him with interim General Counsel Peter Ohr.
Continue Reading Changes Afoot at the NLRB Under the New Administration

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

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?