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
Minnesota employers seeking to inform employees about their rights related to wage disclosure, as well as the limitations on such disclosures, should consider including this model policy statement in their handbook.
If an employer believes a union may be attempting to organize its employees, the employer may want to determine which group of employees is appropriate for a particular union for a number of reasons. Employers should follow the steps outlined in this How To to determine what group of employees is appropriate for a particular union.
An employer may use this Solicitation and Distribution Policy to manage the solicitation and distribution of information among employees and outsiders, usually in a non-union environment, and to establish guidelines for compliance with the National Labor Relations Act in a completely non-discriminatory manner.
This briefing for supervisors examines the law and best practices for handling a union organizing campaign in the workplace.
The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) protects the rights of employees to engage in "concerted activity for mutual aid or protection" to improve their wages, benefits and working conditions. Protected concerted activity includes, even in the absence of a union, activity by employees on behalf of co-workers or interacting with others to achieve a common goal.
The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) protects the rights of an employee to organize and form a union in order to address issues regarding wages, hours and working conditions. An employee, even in the absence of a union, also has the right to engage in protected concerted activity- acting on behalf of co-workers or interacting with others for the legitimate furtherance of their common interests.
The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has adopted a final rule that amends its union representation election procedures by shortening the timeframe in which an election is held. The rule will go into effect on April 14, 2015.
The National Labor Relations Board has adopted sweeping changes to the union representation election process, as well as guidance on whether employees may use their work email system for union organization and other communications protected under the National Labor Relations Act.
HR guidance on complying with the NLRA.