HR Support on National Labor Relations Act

Editor's Note: Don't be the next victim: be aware of employee rights under the NLRA!

Melissa BoyceOverview: 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

Latest items in National Labor Relations Act (NLRA)

  • National Labor Relations Board

    Date:
    17 April 2014
    Type:
    Editor's Choice

    Revitalized and poised with a full Senate-confirmed quorum for the first time in a decade, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is making headlines for its aggressive and often controversial steps to remind union and non-union employers that the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) protects the rights of individuals to do much more than unionize.

  • Protected Activity Under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA): New How To Added

    Date:
    15 April 2014
    Type:
    Editor's Choice

    New guidance is available to help an employer determine whether activity engaged in by a union or non-union employee is protected under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).

  • How to Determine Whether an Employee's Activity Is Protected Under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA)

    Type:
    How To

    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.

  • 5th Circuit Affirms NLRB Determination Striking Down Confidentiality Policy

    Date:
    11 April 2014
    Type:
    News

    The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed the National Labor Relations Board's (NLRB) determination that an employer's confidentiality policy prohibiting employees from disclosing all company financial and personnel information was overly broad and in violation of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).

  • How to Prepare for Union Representation Elections

    Type:
    How To

    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.

  • Union Representation Elections: New How To Added

    Date:
    10 April 2014
    Type:
    Editor's Choice

    New guidance is available to help an employer understand what it may and may not do or say during the union campaign.

  • NLRB Finds Northwestern Football Players 'Employees,' Permitted to Unionize

    Date:
    28 March 2014
    Type:
    News

    In a decision that may have widespread implications for college sports, a Regional Director for the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has determined that Northwestern University football players receiving scholarships are "employees" under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). As a result, the Regional Director directed an election to be conducted so that "all football players who receive football grant-in-aid scholarship and not having exhausted their playing eligibility" at Northwestern can vote whether they want to be represented by a union.

  • "Right to Work" Union Issues for Multistate Organizations: New How To Added

    Date:
    26 March 2014
    Type:
    Editor's Choice

    New guidance is available to help a multistate employer understand its responsibilities and obligations when managing union-related issues in "Right to Work" and "Non-Right to Work" states.

  • How to Manage Unions When Operating in Both "Right to Work" and "Non-Right to Work" States

    Type:
    How To

    Employers may assume that all issues relating to union organization and collective bargaining will be governed by the federal National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). However, the fact is that the NLRA has left certain union-related matters up to the states.

  • Employers May Not Condition Collective Bargaining on Outcome of Noel Canning

    Date:
    12 November 2013
    Type:
    News

    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.