Workplace Investigations

In American Baptist Homes of the West d/b/a Piedmont Gardens (“Piedmont Gardens”), 362 NLRB 139 (June 26, 2015), the NLRB overruled longstanding precedent protecting the confidentiality of employee witness statements and adopted a new rule that balances the union’s need for the witness statement with the employer’s “legitimate and substantial confidentiality interests.”
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Furthering its controversial ruling in Banner Health System d/b/a Banner Estrella Medical Center, 358 NLRB No. 93 (July 30, 2012), the National Labor Relations Board’s Office of the General Counsel recently released a memorandum providing additional guidance on the confidentiality of internal workplace investigations.  Banner Health held that to require confidentiality of investigations, an employer must show more than a generalized concern with protecting the integrity of its investigations.  Rather, an employer must “determine whether in any give[n] investigation witnesses need[ed] protection, evidence [was] in danger of being destroyed, testimony [was] in danger of being fabricated, and there [was] a need to prevent a cover up.”


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The NLRB has again asserted its willingness to encroach upon employers’ long standing legitimate employment policies in a non-unionized workforce.  In Banner Health System, 358 NLRB No. 93 (July 30, 2012), the Board held that a blanket policy prohibiting an employee from discussing an ongoing investigation violates section 8(a)(1) of the National Labor Relations Act.


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