HR Support on National Labor Relations Board

Editor's Note: NLRB - friend or foe?

Melissa BoyceOverview: The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB or the Board) was created to enforce the provisions of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), which prohibits employers from engaging in certain conduct that interferes, restrains, or coerces employees in the exercise of their rights. The NLRB essentially acts as a panel of judges to hear and prevent unfair labor practices. It has numerous powers including the power to issue subpoenas requiring the attendance and testimony of witnesses and the production of documents, as well as ordering any person to "cease and desist" from an unfair labor practice and to provide remedies. The NLRB has further power to petition any US court of appeals to enforce any order of the board, subject to the full contempt powers of the US courts for noncompliance.

Although many private non-union employers have not had much experience with the NLRB, they should be aware, however, that there are very few exceptions as to what is defined as an employer and employee under the NLRA. Therefore, private non-union employers should acquaint themselves with the NLRA and the NLRB process because they are not immune from being subject to an unfair labor practice charge.

Trends: Recent NLRB decisions have caused a stir among employers - both union and non-union. The NLRB has been on a crusade targeting employer policies that it considers a violation of an employee's right to engage in a protected concerted activity under the NLRA. Social media policies, confidentiality provisions, at-will clauses, and arbitration agreements have all been under recent scrutiny. According to the NLRB, even a policy requiring employees to be courteous may be unlawful!

Author: Melissa Boyce, JD, Legal Editor

Latest items in National Labor Relations Board (NLRB)

  • NLRB Adopts New Union Election Rules

    Date:
    18 December 2014
    Type:
    News

    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.

  • Date:
    17 December 2014
    Type:
    Legal Timetable

  • NLRB Issues New Union Election Rules and Guidance on Employee Email Use: Employment Law Manual and Legal Timetable Updated

    Date:
    17 December 2014
    Type:
    Editor's Choice

    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.

  • Social Media Handbook Statement (Coming Soon)

    Type:
    Employee Handbooks

  • NLRB General Counsel Pursues Complaint Against McDonald's as 'Joint Employer'

    Date:
    01 August 2014
    Type:
    News

    In a startling move, the National Labor Board Office of the General Counsel (OGC) has announced that it authorized complaints on 43 unfair labor practice (ULP) charges against McDonald's franchisees and determined that McDonald's, USA, LLC, the franchisor, will be named as a "joint employer." The OGC's intention to proceed with ULP charges against a parent franchisor to hold it responsible for the employment practices of its franchisees conflicts with a decades-old legal standard and may have far-reaching implications for the current franchise model.

  • NLRB, OSHA Enter into Whistleblower Complaint Referral Program

    Date:
    29 May 2014
    Type:
    News

    The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) entered into a referral program in which OSHA agreed to refer time-barred whistleblower complaints regarding workplace safety to the NLRB for further investigation. The NLRB is likely to see a surge of safety-related ULPs as a result of this alliance with OSHA.

  • NLRB Invites Briefs on Whether Employers May Prohibit Employee Use of Work Email for NLRA-Protected Activity

    Date:
    02 May 2014
    Type:
    News

    The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) announced yesterday that it is inviting briefs on whether it should adopt a rule providing that "employees who are permitted to use their employer's email for work purposes have the right to use it for Section 7 activity, subject only to the need to maintain production and discipline."

  • 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.

  • NLRB Revives Efforts to Speed Up Union Election Process

    Date:
    06 February 2014
    Type:
    News

    The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has reissued proposed amendments to rules and regulations that would streamline and shorten the time for representation case procedures governing the union election process. The amendments are identical to those first proposed by the NLRB in 2011, which were later struck down by a district court judge because the NLRB lacked a quorum when the amendments were adopted.

  • New Podcast: NLRB's Uphill Supreme Court Fight Plus Other Key Labor Law Issues

    Date:
    31 January 2014
    Type:
    Editor's Choice

    This podcast takes you inside the Supreme Court for coverage of the closely watched NLRB v. Noel Canning case. The stakes are high for employers because the case could place hundreds of NLRB rulings in doubt. Also featured is a conversation with XpertHR Legal Editor Melissa Boyce about other notable labor law issues to watch for in 2014.