May an employer prohibit its employees from using workplace email to solicit or otherwise communicate union-related information?
Author: Jessica Sussman
It depends. An employer should not institute a complete ban on nonbusiness use of work email as the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has held it restricts an employee's ability to communicate about unionization as well as their terms and conditions of employment. However, a ban may be allowed if the employer can demonstrate special circumstances" - the ban is necessary to maintain production or discipline.
Note that the NLRB has held that employees are expressly permitted to use work email for NLRA protected communications, i.e., unionization, strikes, terms and conditions of employment, during nonworking time.