Labor Relations Update
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Mark Theodore

Partner

Mark Theodore is a partner in the Labor & Employment Law Department. He has devoted his practice almost exclusively to representing management in all aspects of traditional labor law matters throughout the U.S.

Mark has extensive experience representing employers in all matters before the NLRB, including representation petitions, jurisdictional disputes and the handling of unfair labor practice charges from the date they are filed through trial and appeal. Mark has acted as lead negotiator for dozens of major companies in nearly all industries, including multi-unit, multi-location, multi-employer and multi-union bargaining.

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After Unprecedented Firings of General Counsel and Deputy General Counsel, President Biden Names Peter Sung Ohr Acting General Counsel of the NLRB

President Biden named Peter Sung Ohr as Acting General Counsel of the National Labor Relations Board today. Ohr is a career employee of the NLRB, having served as a Field Attorney, Deputy Assistant General Counsel in the NLRB’s Division of Operations-Management, and as Regional Director of the Board’s Chicago Regional Office. Biden’s action comes after … Continue Reading

BREAKING: President Biden Continues NLRB Shake-Up By Firing Acting NLRB GC

One day after a standoff between President Biden and NLRB General Counsel Peter Robb resulted in his unprecedented termination, President Biden fired the NLRB’s second-ranked attorney, NLRB Deputy General Counsel Alice Stock, according to a Bloomberg report.  Stock would have served as Acting NLRB General Counsel after Robb’s termination on January 20th.  As of this … Continue Reading

Breaking: On First Day in Office, President Biden Shakes Up NLRB By Firing GC and Appointing New Chair

*** UPDATE:  On his first day in office, President Biden fired NLRB General Counsel Peter Robb, according to a report by Bloomberg News. This marks the first time in the history of the NLRB that a President has terminated the agency’s General Counsel before the expiration of their term. As we reported earlier below, President … Continue Reading

NLRB Finds Employer Acted Lawfully by Paying Statutory Minimum Christmas Bonus, Rejecting Unilateral Change and CBA Modification Claims

On January 14, 2021, the NLRB issued a decision in Asociacion de Empleados del Estado Libre Asociado de Puerto Rico, 370 NLRB No. 71. The decision involved the issue of whether a term of employment contained in a collective bargaining agreement continues after the expiration of the contract. This issue has been vexing for employers … Continue Reading

NLRB Finds Social Media Policies Lawful, Sheds Light on Impact of Boeing

As we have discussed before, several years ago, the Board instituted a significant paradigm shift in analyzing the lawfulness of employers’ handbook policies in relation to employees’ Section 7 rights, when it issued its decision in The Boeing Company, 365 NLRB No. 154 (2017).  Boeing established a balancing test that takes into account the employer’s … Continue Reading

Employer Leaves Lasting Impression…of Unlawful Surveillance

The NLRB rang in the New Year by examining what constitutes an impression of unlawful surveillance. In Dignity Health d/b/a Mercy Gilbert Medical Center, 370 NLRB No. 67 (January 6, 2021), the Board reaffirmed helpful guidance for employers regarding the dos and don’ts in the context of union organizing campaigns. Specifically, the Board held that … Continue Reading

NLRB Holds that Leaflet Outlining Consequences for Threatening Workers Is Not Unlawful

In adopting the ALJ’s Recommended Order in S&S Enterprises, LLC d/b/a Appalachian Heating, Case No. 09-CA-235304, the NLRB found that a leaflet distributed by the employer during union organizing efforts, which stated that it is against federal law for a labor union to threaten employees, did not violate the NLRA because it did not constitute … Continue Reading

NLRB: An Inference of Union Animus Must Be Grounded in Sufficient Supporting Evidence under Wright Line

When an employee is disciplined and then claims the employer acted on account of union animus in violation of Section 8(a)(3) of the Act, evidence to support such a claim either can be proffered through direct evidence, such as “smoking gun”-type statements made by a supervisor or top-management that the discipline was implemented due to … Continue Reading

NLRB: Employer’s Good-Faith Belief in Employee’s Misconduct Insufficient to Justify Terminating Employee Engaged in Protected Activity

As we have often discussed, there is a fine line between protected and unprotected activity.  Profane outbursts, deliberate misconduct, or highly-disruptive strikes may fall outside the protection of the NLRA, subjecting employees to lawful disciplinary action by their employers. On December 7, 2020, the Board reaffirmed its prior decisions holding that an employer’s discharge of … Continue Reading

D.C. Circuit Remands Hotel Certification Decision and Reminds Board to Explain Its Reasoning

On October 23, 2020, the D.C. Circuit granted Davidson Hotel Company’s petition for review of unfair labor practices resulting from its refusal to bargain with two newly-certified bargaining units, and denied the NLRB’s cross-petition for enforcement of an order to engage in collective bargaining with those units. The Circuit also remanded the underlying unit certification … Continue Reading

Handbook Civility Rules Aimed at Preventing Toxic Work Environments Found Lawful by NLRB’s Division of Advice

The NLRB’s Division of Advice recently released a long-awaited Advice Memorandum (originally issued in February 2019, Chipotle Mexican Grill, Case 28-CA-229134 (Feb. 22, 2019)) concerning the validity of two workplace rules under the Boeing standard: (1) a rule encouraging employees to “[b]e…objective” in their communications; and (2) a rule requiring employees to notify the employer … Continue Reading

NLRB: Employer Tweet Unlawfully Restrained Protected Activity

On November 24, 2020, the Board held that a high-level executive’s tweet violated Section 8(a)(1) of the NLRA by interfering with or restraining employees’ protected, concerted activity. In FDRLST Media, LLC, 370 NLRB No. 49 (2020), the Board reaffirmed its longstanding principle that a violation of Section 8(a)(1) does not depend on the employer’s motive … Continue Reading

NLRB Establishes Pathway to Holding More In-Person Manual-Ballot Elections during the COVID-19 Pandemic

As employers faced with a representation petition filed during the COVID-19 pandemic can attest, Regional Directors of the National Labor Relations Board have been incredibly reticent to hold in-person elections.  Indeed, since April 1st, when the Board resumed processing representation petitions, approximately ninety percent (90%) of elections have been held by mail rather than in-person.  … Continue Reading

NLRB Seeks Comment: Rats, Banners and Neutrals, Oh My!

An age old question under the National Labor Relations Act is what constitutes “picketing”?  By the Supreme Court’s definition, picketing is inherently coercive and may not be directed against a neutral employer.  An issue that has vexed employers for the last several years has been the use of stationary protests, such as inflatable rats and … Continue Reading

NLRB Advice Memorandum: Firing Employees Because of Discussions Related to Tip-Pooling Violates Section 8(a)(1)

In an Advice Memorandum released Thursday, the NLRB’s Division of Advice concluded that employees who discussed an employer’s tip-pooling practices engaged in protected concerted activity, such that discharging the employees for this activity violated Section 8(a)(1) of the NLRA. Employees working at a steakhouse in New York City often complained about the restaurant’s tip-pooling system. … Continue Reading

NLRB: Members Of Trade Group Are Not “Employees” Covered By The NLRA

On September 11, 2020, a three-member National Labor Relations Board panel unanimously ruled that a trade group representing sign language interpreters did not violate Section 8(a)(1) of the Act by removing its members’ posts on its closed Facebook page.  The posts, made by individual members of the trade group, discussed the interpreters’ work conditions and … Continue Reading

No Reasonable Expectation of Recall? No Election: Board Cancels Union Election at Casino Closed During COVID-19

The National Labor Relations Board recently cancelled a union election at a Las Vegas casino that suspended its operations and laid off employees amid the COVID-19 pandemic. In NP Texas LLC d/b/a Texas Station Gambling Hall and Hotel and Local Joint Executive Board of Las Vegas, 370 NLRB No. 11 (2020), the Board found that … Continue Reading

NLRB Division of Advice Dishes Some Guidance With Respect to COVID-Related ULP Charges

The pandemic has thrown a number of obstacles at employers and employees as everyone attempts to navigate a novel situation.  On August 13, 2020, the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) Division of Advice (“Advice”), the agency’s internal think-tank, published five Advice Memoranda dismissing unfair labor practice charges against employers in connection with issues concerning the … Continue Reading

NLRB Upends Context-Specific Tests for Profane Conduct, Folding Such Discipline Into Traditional Motivation Tests For Evaluating Lawfulness

In another long-anticipated decision, on July 21, 2020, in General Motors LLC, 369 NLRB No. 127 (2020), the Board replaced three context-specific rules for determining whether certain abusive conduct committed by employees is protected under Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act (the “Act”) with the Wright Line standard that is traditionally used to … Continue Reading

NLRB Division of Advice Releases Deluge of Advice Memoranda Discussing COVID-Related ULP Charges, Confidentiality Rules, Information Requests, and Other Topics

On July 15, 2020, the National Labor Relations Board’s (“NLRB”) Division of Advice published 16 Advice Memoranda addressing myriad questions posed by various Regional Offices. While a majority of the Memoranda were drafted within the past month, a few were originally issued months or years ago. Advice is the agency’s internal think tank and the … Continue Reading

NLRB General Counsel Announces “Suggested” Protocols for Conducting Manual, In-Person Elections Amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic

After a brief delay where the NLRB suspended all representation elections from March 19 through April 6, 2020 (see here and here), NLRB Regional Directors have since largely required elections to be held via mail ballot to curb the spread of COVID-19. Earlier this week, the Office of the General Counsel of the NLRB published … Continue Reading

Update: Federal Judge Amends Prior Order Concerning 2019 Election Rules, Affording Deference to the NLRB, but Appeal to D.C. Circuit Remains

In late May, on the eve of the effective date of the NLRB’s sweeping changes to the election process, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia held that certain of the new rules were substantive—not procedural—in nature, and were improperly implemented without affording the public an opportunity to … Continue Reading

NLRB Gives Green Light to Confidentiality Provisions in Individual Arbitration Agreements

In many private arbitration agreements entered into in the non-union context, employers and employees agree that the proceedings shall remain confidential. On June 19, 2020, the Board addressed whether a confidentiality provision that arguably restricted an employee participating in the arbitration process from disclosing terms and conditions of employment violates the NLRA. The Board held, … Continue Reading

NLRB Establishes Bright-Line Test Denying Jurisdiction over Religious Educational Institutions

We have seen this movie before.  NLRB precedent established by the Board under the prior Administration conflicted sharply with decisions by the D.C. Circuit reviewing the Board.  Then the current iteration of the Board reverses its own precedent and sides with the D.C. Circuit.  This situation occurred recently with regard to whether the “clear and … Continue Reading
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