Overview: 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
National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) General Counsel Richard F. Griffin, Jr., has issued a report concerning recent employer work rule cases. The report discusses and synthesizes a number of recent challenges to employee handbooks and policies that were presented in cases reviewed, challenged or resolved by the Office of the General Counsel.
The NLRB has issued a decision addressing the propriety of strict confidentiality provisions in performance improvement plan forms.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
HR guidance on the NLRB and enforcement against unfair labor practices.