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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

New and Updated

  • Labor Rights and Enforcement: Federal

    Type:
    Employment Law Manual

    Updated to include information on an NLRB decision relating to concerted activity.

  • NLRB Returns to Common Law Standard for Classifying Independent Contractors

    Date:
    January 28, 2019
    Type:
    News

    A new NLRB decision has overturned an Obama-era labor board ruling and restored the standard for determining independent contractor status to one based on the traditional common-law test.

  • NLRB Strategic Plan Aims to Shorten Time for Resolving Cases

    Date:
    January 7, 2019
    Type:
    News

    The NLRB will be looking to improve its efficiency in handling cases over the next four years, according to its Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years 2019 to 2022.

  • Joint Employment Test Heads Back to NLRB After DC Circuit's Mixed Ruling

    Date:
    January 4, 2019
    Type:
    News

    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.

  • NLRB Proposes Revised Joint Employment Rule

    Date:
    September 13, 2018
    Type:
    News

    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.

  • NLRB Rule Review and Revised Policy May Stifle Unions' Organizing Activity

    Date:
    August 7, 2018
    Type:
    News

    The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) signaled possible actions last week that may make it more difficult for unions to organize and communicate with workers and to fight decertification efforts.

  • NLRB Will Propose Joint Employment Rule Soon

    Date:
    June 7, 2018
    Type:
    News

    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.

  • Burger Joint Becomes First Unionized Fast-Food Restaurant

    Date:
    May 7, 2018
    Type:
    News

    For the first time in the US, a fast-food restaurant - Burgerville in Portland, Oregon - has been unionized through a National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) supervised election.

  • Republican Majority Restored as Ring Confirmed to NLRB

    Date:
    April 12, 2018
    Type:
    News

    The Senate has confirmed John Ring, a management-side employment attorney, to a five-year term on the National Labor Relations Board restoring a 3-2 Republican majority to the Board and paving the way to reverse Obama-era rulings.

  • NLRB Asks Appellate Court to Reconsider Joint Employer Case

    Date:
    March 6, 2018
    Type:
    News

    The United States Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit could either uphold the National Labor Relations Board's Browning-Ferris ruling or overturn it, thereby opening the door for the court or the NLRB to issue a new joint employment standard.