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
Updated to include information on an NLRB decision relating to concerted activity.
In a mixed opinion, a federal appellate court has given new life to the Obama-era joint employment standard but also sent the case back to the NLRB which may give the labor board an opportunity to further chip away at the test.
A Silicon Valley software startup has agreed to pay $775,000 to settle an unfair labor practice claim filed by the NLRB on behalf of 15 former software engineers who had sought to organize.
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that an Illinois village lacked authority under the NLRA to pass a right-to-work law. The decision creates a split with the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals and sets up a possible Supreme Court challenge.
The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has announced it is issuing a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to redefine the standards for determining whether two or more employers are joint employers under federal labor law and thereby jointly liable for any labor law violations.
Updated to reflect change in Missouri's right to work status.
Updated to reflect development relating to Missouri's right to work status.
The Supreme Court decides a few cases each year that will help shape employment law across the nation. XpertHR Legal Editor David Weisenfeld and Proskauer Rose employment attorney Anthony Oncidi, examine the rulings that truly mattered for employers.
This podcast features the Supreme Court's ruling that companies may force their employees to arbitrate their workplace disputes individually rather than as part of a class action, with insights from Seyfarth Shaw employment attorney Gerald Maatman.
The current uncertainty over the standard to be applied in determining joint-employer status under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) "undermines employers' willingness to create jobs and expand business opportunities," according to National Labor Relations Board Chairman John F. Ring.
HR guidance on complying with the NLRA.