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
Updated to reflect the final rule revising and clarifying the standard for joint employer status under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), effective April 27, 2020.
The final rule will provide businesses "clarity, stability and predictability" in determining whether they are joint employers of another business's employees under federal labor law, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) said.
Updated to include information on an NLRB decision and guidance relating to workplace rules.
Updated to reflect NLRB decisions on email.
CNN has agreed to pay $76 million in backpay to settle a long-standing case with the NLRB. The monetary settlement is the largest in the agency's history and will be distributed to more than 300 individuals.
The National Labor Relations Board released a long-awaited rule on union elections as well as issuing new rulings affecting dues checkoff requirements, use of employer email systems for organizing and work rules requiring confidentiality during workplace investigations.
The NLRB has published a Notice of Proposed Rule Making that would exempt undergraduate and graduate students working in connection with their studies from the NLRB's reach.
The NLRB Office of General Counsel has released an advice memo providing insight into the types of social media work rules that are unlawfully overbroad following its 2017 ruling in The Boeing Company.
Federal labor law does not prohibit employers from promulgating mandatory arbitration agreements in response to employees opting in to a collective action under wage and hour laws, the National Labor Relations Board ruled in Cordúa Restaurants.
HR guidance on the NLRB and enforcement against unfair labor practices.