Overview: Just because an employer has a non-unionized workforce does not mean that the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) does not apply. In fact, the NLRA offers protections to most employees, except agricultural laborers, domestic workers, family members, independent contractors and managers/supervisors. Similarly, the NLRA defines employer broadly and applies to all employers except for government organizations and railroads or airlines covered by the Railway Labor Act.
Therefore, it is important for employers to understand that, even absent a union, employees are guaranteed the right to engage in concerted activity to improve their wages, benefits and working conditions and an employer may not terminate them for this activity. In the wake of Facebook and forms of social media communication among employees, this has suddenly become a more prevalent protection for both union and non-union employees.
Trends: Recently the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has heard several cases - cases which did not involve a unionized workforce - and ultimately found that employers' social media policies, at-will disclaimers, and confidentiality of investigation policies violated the NLRA because they infringed upon an employee's right to engage in a protected concerted activity. Essentially, the NLRB is scrutinizing the language of employer policies that may hinder an employee's speech. Almost daily, the NLRB continues to actively pursue these claims against employers - union and non-union alike.
Author: Melissa Boyce, JD, Legal Editor
An administrative law judge (ALJ) for the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has found that an employer violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) by refusing to bargain with a union unless the union agreed that any collective bargaining agreement (CBA) reached would be void if the US Supreme Court upholds the controversial Noel Canning decision.
XpertHR's innovative Liveflo Tool now includes a workflow to assist an employer with determining whether a non-union employee's activity is protected under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).
The Supreme Court has agreed to review a 7th Circuit Court of Appeals decision that held that requiring Illinois non-union home health care workers to pay a "fair share" of union dues based on a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) does not compel their speech and association with the union in violation of the First Amendment.
The Labor Relations content has been expanded to include new resources that help employers manage unions in the workplace and understand employees' rights under the National Labor Relations Act.
HR guidance on complying with the NLRA.