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Labor Relations Update

Category Archives: Protected activity

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NLRB Reverses Course, Gives Employees Certain Rights to Use Employer’s Email

Posted in Email, Employer policies, NLRA, NLRB, Protected activity, Social Media, Social Media Policies, Solicitation

In a decision that reverses existing case law on employee use of  employer email, the National Labor Relations Board (with two members filing separate dissents) has decided that under certain circumstances employees do have the right to use and employer’s email to engage in protected communications under the National Labor Relations Act. Purple Communications, Inc.,… Continue Reading

NLRB Says On-Line Planning For Insubordination Is Not Protected Concerted Activity

Posted in Employer policies, Facebook, NLRA, NLRB, Protected activity, Social Media, Social Media Policies

 In Richmond District Neighborhood Center, Case 20-CA-091748 (Oct. 28, 2014), the Board upheld an Administrative Law Judge’s ruling that a conversation between two employees, who were involved with student programming at the neighborhood center, was not protected under the NLRA.  During the course of their Facebook exchange, which included obscenity-laced statements regarding how they would… Continue Reading

Ebola and Potential Labor Relations Issues

Posted in Collective Bargaining, Healthcare Employers, Non-Union employers, Protected activity, Strikes

The Ebola panic presently sweeping the U.S. raises a host of potential issues for employers.  We recently provided guidance to help employers ensure employee safety while also complying with legal obligations under the Americans with Disabilities Act and similar laws.  In addition, the Occupational Health & Safety Administration (OSHA) recently released a comprehensive summary of… Continue Reading

Reading the NLRB Signs at the Triple Play Sports Bar

Posted in Employer policies, Facebook, Handbook, NLRA, Protected activity, Social Media, Social Media Policies, Uncategorized

In Three D, LLC d/b/a Triple Play Sports Bar and Grille, 361 NLRB No. 31. (August 22, 2014), the National Labor Relations Board ruled that an employee “liking” a status on Facebook is engaging in protected concerted activities under the NLRA.   Employees were unlawfully terminated for ranting about the employer’s tax-withholding error, which resulted in… Continue Reading

NLRB Divides Sharply on Employee Concerted Activity for “Mutual Aid or Protection”

Posted in NLRA, Protected activity, Section 7, Uncategorized, Workplace Investigations

In a complex, twenty-eight page opinion, a sharply divided NLRB has ruled that when an individual employee seeks assistance from fellow employees with respect to a violation under Title VII (or other workplace laws), the action is not only concerted but also presumptively for the purpose of mutual aid or protection, and thereby also covered… Continue Reading

Old Fashioned Protected Concerted Activity Stirred Up With A Twist

Posted in Leaving work without permission, NLRA, NLRB, Non-Union employers, Protected activity, Section 7, Section 8(a)(1), Strikes, Unfair Labor Practices

A recent NLRB ALJ decision illustrates the old and the new under the National Labor Relations Act (“Act”).  The case is Gates & Sons Barbeque of Missouri, Inc. and Workers’ Organizing Committee, Kansas City, No. 14-CA-110229 (June 17, 2014). In this case, the employer operated a successful chain of barbeque restaurants.  One of the benefits… Continue Reading

NLRB Gets #SocialMedia: Board and ALJ Rulings Recap

Posted in General Counsel, NLRA, NLRB, Objectionable Conduct, Protected activity, Social Media, Social Media Policies, Unfair Labor Practices

‘April rulings bring May muddling’ might be a better way to tweet recent social media decisions at the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) given the Board’s ruling in Durham School Services (April 25, 2014) and an Administrative Law Judge’s (ALJ) opinion in Kroger Co. of Michigan (April 21, 2014).  Together, these two decisions show that the… Continue Reading

Employer Email Policies on Chopping Block as General Counsel Seeks to Overrule Register Guard and Board Calls for Amicus Briefs

Posted in Email, Employer policies, NLRA, NLRB, Protected activity, Solicitation

In a development of importance to both union and non-union employers, the NLRB General Counsel has asked the NLRB to overrule its 2007 decision in Register Guard, 351 NLRB 1110 (2007).  In Register Guard, the Board had held that employers could bar employee use of the employer’s email for non-business purposes, including union or other… Continue Reading

NLRB ALJ Says That Under D.R. Horton, Actions Speak As Loudly as Words

Posted in Arbitration, NLRA, NLRB, Protected activity, Unfair Labor Practices

A few weeks ago, we posted about the Fifth Circuit’s decision in the D.R. Horton case and the NLRB’s doctrine of non-acquiescence.   As you will recall, in D.R. Horton, the NLRB held that an employer violates the right of employees to engage in concerted activity by maintaining an arbitration program which prohibits employees from pursuing… Continue Reading

NLRB Advice Memo Pulls Together Principles Applied in Evaluating Employer Work Rules and Social Media Policies

Posted in Employer policies, Protected activity, Social Media, Social Media Policies

A 2012 Advice Memo from the National Labor Relations Board’s (“NLRB”) General Counsel was recently publicly released in response to a Freedom of Information Act request. While the Advice Memo applies the long-standing framework used by the NLRB to evaluate the lawfulness of workplace rules more generally, it is noteworthy because it addresses a number of hot… Continue Reading

NLRB: Employee’s Outburst In Calling Manager “Trouble” Not So Egregious As To Render Conduct Unprotected

Posted in Due Process, Healthcare Employers, NLRA, NLRB, Non-Union employers, Protected activity, Section 7, Section 8(a)(1), Uncategorized, Workplace Investigations

A theme we have followed here with interest is protected concerted activity, and what kinds of conduct might render otherwise protected activity “unprotected.”  We noted, for instance, that the Board recently held that an employee’s use of derogatory gender-based comments  may not not render a protected outburst “unprotected,” even if the EEOC and the myriad State… Continue Reading

Employer Merely Granted Employee’s Wish To Be Terminated, NLRB Div. Of Advice Rules

Posted in Advice, Facebook, General Counsel, Handbook, NLRA, NLRB, Non-Union employers, Protected activity, Section 7, Section 8(a)(1), Social Media, Social Media Policies

Social media permeates society.  It was inevitable that the increased use of smart phones and various communications platforms such as Facebook and Twitter would clash with the workplace.  We have noted several instances where the NLRB has alleged that employer action in response to social media posts is unlawful, as well as its seemingly endless review… Continue Reading

Holiday Season Extravaganza: NLRB Issues Flurry Of Law Changing Decisions

Posted in Arbitration, Collective Bargaining, Duty to furnish information, Duty to provide information, Facebook, General Counsel, NLRA, NLRB, Pre-arbitration Discovery, Protected activity, Section 7, Section 8(a)(1), Section 8(a)(5), Uncategorized

Last week the NLRB issued several significant decisions.   In the press release announcing the decisions, the agency noted that most were actually issued “the week of December 10, but were issued this week following editing and formatting which is typical for the final decisions in a Member’s term.”  This is a reference to Member Hayes’… Continue Reading

Court of Appeals Rules Employee Efforts To Take Over Editorial Control At Newspaper Unprotected By NLRA

Posted in General Counsel, NLRA, NLRB, Protected activity, Section 7, Section 8(a)(1), Unfair Labor Practices

An issue we have discussed previously is whether all employee action that is “concerted” is also protected by the NLRA.  We have seen that maliciously false statements made to third parties are unprotected.  But what about when employees disagree with managerial control of the operations?  How far can they press their claims?  When it comes to… Continue Reading

NLRB Division, Some “At-Will” Clauses Ok

Posted in Advice, At-Will, Employer policies, General Counsel, Handbook, NLRA, NLRB, Non-Union employers, Protected activity, Section 7, Section 8(a)(1), Uncategorized, Unfair Labor Practices

The Board’s excruciatingly close scrutiny of employer policies continues as the agency looks for opportunities to expand its juridiction by rooting out all evil lurking in handbooks and other written employment policies.  The NLRB has taken the position that certain “at-will” language in handbooks, language that in various forms exists in virtually every private employer’s handbook in… Continue Reading

Update: NLRB Upholds Termination For Facebook Posting, But Nails Employer For Unrelated Handbook Policy

Posted in Employer policies, Facebook, General Counsel, Handbook, NLRA, NLRB, Protected activity, Section 7, Section 8(a)(1), Social Media, Unfair Labor Practices

The NLRB has received a lot of attention for its actions the last couple years.  One of the storms was caused by the agency’s attention to employer actions based on employee Facebook postings.  More to the point, employers were not too thrilled with some things being posted by employees on the internet for the multitudes to see,… Continue Reading

NLRB: Employer’s Harassment Investigation Lawful, But Not Resulting Discipline

Posted in Decertification elections, Handbook, Leaving work without permission, NLRA, NLRB, Protected activity, Section 7, Section 8(a)(1), Unfair Labor Practices

As the end of its fiscal year approaches (September 30), the NLRB pushes more decisions out than it has in the last several weeks.  Not a whole lot are of note, honestly.  There seems to be an uptick of default judgments being issued,-findings of violations of the NLRA without a formal hearing,–but it is difficult… Continue Reading

Independence Day Incrementalism: NLRB (Again) Expands On Precedent By Ruling Employer Off-Duty Access Rule Unlawful

Posted in General Counsel, Handbook, NLRA, NLRB, Off-duty Access, Protected activity, Section 7, Section 8(a)(1), Unfair Labor Practices

Last year the NLRB’s order of the day was sweeping change.  That brought us the employee rights poster, the ambush election rules, and micro unions.  The Board today is not acting in such a bold manner, and instead is seeking gradual change through a policy of incrementalism.  We saw recently how the current Board expanded… Continue Reading

NLRB: Maliciously False Statements By Employee To Third Party Not Protected

Posted in NLRA, NLRB, Protected activity, Section 7, Section 8(a)(1), Unfair Labor Practices

A problem that has vexed employers since the inception of the NLRA is the exact contours of employee free speech under the Act.  We know that employees are given a great deal of latitude to express discontent, even to the point where they can wear t-shirts identifying themselves as prisoners to customer homes.  This issue generally has… Continue Reading

Court Strikes Down Portions Of NLRB Notice Posting Rules

Posted in Employer policies, NLRA, NLRB, Protected activity, Representation Elections, Rights Poster, Rulemaking, Section 7, Section 8(a)(1), Unfair Labor Practices

A federal judge in the District of Columbia handed employers a significant partial victory in the ongoing skirmish over the NLRB’s attempts to require all employers under its jurisdiction to post a notice of employee rights.  As we have noted previously, the NLRB postponed the original November 14, 2011 compliance date, only to postpone it… Continue Reading

Finding Certain Facebook Activity To Be Unprotected, NLRB DismissesTwo Charges

Posted in Advice, Employer policies, Facebook, Handbook, LinkedIn, NLRA, NLRB, Protected activity, Section 7, Section 8(a)(1), Social Media, Social Media Policies

The interesection of social media and employee rights under the National Labor Relations Act has received a great deal of attention in recent months, including recently on this blog.  Social media sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn have made it very easy for people to stay connected.  With a simple push of the button, everyone in… Continue Reading

Rhyme or Reason? Trying to Make Sense of the NLRB’s Social Media Cases

Posted in Employer policies, General Counsel, NLRA, NLRB, Non-Union employers, Protected activity, Section 7, Social Media, Unfair Labor Practices

Since the NLRB’s Office of the General Counsel (“OGC”) issued the first “Facebook” complaint in American Medical Response of Connecticut, Inc. in October, 2010, dozens of unfair labor practice charges involving social media have been filed, the Acting General Counsel has identified social media cases as a priority, and gallons of electronic ink have been… Continue Reading

The Lull Before The Storm: Blizzard Of NLRB Activity Coming

Posted in Bargaining units, Duty to furnish information, Healthcare Employers, NLRA, NLRB, Protected activity, Rulemaking, Section 7, Section 8(a)(1), Section 9(b), Witness statements

The mid-point of Summer has passed.  Although the NLRB has not issued a major decision in several weeks, the agency has not been slacking off this Summer.  In a typical year, August and September are the busiest months for the NLRB, because the federal government’s fiscal year ends September 30.  During the final weeks of the… Continue Reading

NLRB to Healthcare Employers Facing a Strike: You Can Ask, But Employees Don’t Have to Tell

Posted in Employer policies, Healthcare Employers, Protected activity, Section 8(g), Strikes

In a 2-1 decision issued on June 30, 2011, the NLRB clarified the interplay of the statutory notice requirements of NLRA Section 8(g) with a health care employer’s right to poll individual employees’ intention to report to work during a strike and the employer’s right to enforce neutral work rules requiring patient care employees to… Continue Reading