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  In recent weeks, Republican Board Members have provided some hints in a pair of footnotes in two unpublished decisions.

Continue Reading NLRB Members Drop Hints in Footnotes Regarding Potential Issues the Board will Revisit

Raytheon Network Centric Systems, 365 NLRB No. 161 (Dec. 15, 2017) (“Raytheon”), is one of several decisions issued this month by the National Labor Relations Board’s (the “Board”) new Republican majority which reverse Obama-era precedent.  Raytheon overrules the Board’s decision E.I. du Pont de Nemours, 364 NLRB No. 113 (2016) (“DuPont”), which limited the changes employers can make unilaterally in a union environment.  Raytheon clarifies the degree to which employers may rely on past practice to make unilateral changes to terms of employment once a collective bargaining agreement has expired, and, more specifically, offers welcome guidance to employers with regard to continuation of health benefits under those circumstances.

Continue Reading NLRB Reverses Prior Precedent – Expanding Changes Employers Can Make Unilaterally In Union Environment

The National Labor Relations Board issued a much-anticipated decision on Thursday, overruling its controversial 2015 Browning-Ferris decision that unions and employees argued drastically expanded the definition and scope of the Board’s joint-employer doctrine.  In Browning-Ferris, the Board departed from decades of precedent and held that entities who merely possessed—as opposed to directly and immediately exercised—control over workers would be deemed joint employers for purposes of assessing liability under the National Labor Relations Act.  The Board used the Browning-Ferris decision to expand its reach under the joint-employer doctrine to include, for example, companies that relied on staffing agencies and in some cases, parent companies that did not exercise immediate or direct control over a subsidiary’s workers, but had the potential authority to affect certain terms and conditions of employment.  The Browning-Ferris decision faced heavy criticism from employers as well as an appeal of the decision itself to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Continue Reading NLRB Overrules Browning-Ferris to Reinstate Prior Joint-Employer Standard

On September 15, the White House announced that President Trump will nominate Peter B. Robb, a longtime labor and employment attorney, to become the National Labor Relation Board’s next general counsel.  Assuming Robb is confirmed by the Senate, he would likely take over his position  hopefully in early November following the end of the incumbent’s General Counsel’s term and Robb’s swearing in.

Continue Reading Trump Taps Management-Side Lawyer to Serve as NLRB General Counsel

On August 3, 2017, the U.S. Senate confirmed Marvin Kaplan, a former Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission attorney, to fill one of the two vacant seats on the National Labor Relations Board.  Kaplan’s confirmation moves the Board one step closer to a Republican majority.  Kaplan was confirmed on a 50-48 party-line vote by the Republican-controlled Senate.  Kaplan joins NLRB Board Chairman Philip Miscimarra on the Republican side of the NLRB.  Mark Gaston Pearce and Lauren McFerran are the Democrat Board members.

Continue Reading U.S. Senate Confirms Marvin Kaplan to Serve on the National Labor Relations Board

On June 27, President Trump nominated labor attorney William J. Emanuel to fill the last vacancy of the five seats on the National Labor Relations Board.  Emanuel is a management-side labor attorney who has practiced many years before the Board.  Emanuel has extensive experience arguing in support of employee class and collective action waivers, including involvement in multiple cases that have either been before the Supreme Court or directly led to precedent that the Supreme Court is now set to consider.

As we have said in previous posts, President Trump’s election and now nomination of two NLRB members could signal a tide turn in favor of employers before the Board.  Emanuel’s nomination comes a little over a week after Trump nominated attorney Marvin E. Kaplan to the Board on June 19.  If confirmed by the Senate, Emanuel and Kaplan would give the NLRB its first Republican majority since 2008.  With a likely more employer-friendly majority, the NLRB could be poised to roll back some of the previous administration’s labor initiatives.

President Trump nominated attorney Marvin Kaplan to fill one of two vacancies on the National Labor Relations Board on June 19, 2017.  Kaplan currently works on the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission and previously served as Republican counsel to the House Education and Workforce Committee which, among other things, provides oversight of the NLRB.  The five-seat NLRB currently consists of only three members: Chairman Philip Miscimarra (R) and Members Mark Gaston Pearce (D) and Lauren McFerran (D).  With members appointed (subject to Senate approval) to 5-year terms, the NLRB is typically composed of three members of the sitting President’s party and two from the other party.  If Kaplan’s appointment is approved, it could clear the way for President Trump to appoint a third Republican, giving the NLRB its first Republican majority since 2008.

Continue Reading President Trump Nominates Marvin E. Kaplan for National Labor Relations Board Position

Two recent rulings have labor law observers questioning where the line is in disciplining employees for making offensive or obscene comments toward their employer. Seemingly at odds are a recent Second Circuit ruling finding such behavior is protected activity under the NLRA and a recent NLRB ruling finding the use of profanity towards management is not protected.

Continue Reading Profane or Offensive Rants – Can Employees Be Fired For This Conduct?