NLRB issues report of concerns over employer policies even for non-unionized workplaces

On March 18, 2015, the General Counsel for the National Labor Relations Board released a report of his concerns regarding various employer policies the NLRB considers unlawful under the National Labor Relations Act. These concerns are applicable to even non-unionized workplaces as the NLRA prohibits employer activity that violates all employee rights to concerted activity under Section 7 of the Act. Section 7 guarantees all employees “the right to self-organization, to form, join, or assist labor organizations, to bargain collectively through representatives of their own choosing, and to engage in other concerted activities for the purpose of collective bargaining or other mutual aid or protection,” as well as the right “to refrain from any or all such activities.” Therefore, it is unlawful for any employer to interfere with, restrain or coerce employees in the exercise of these rights. This NLRB report identifies certain employer policies that may be construed to interfere with those rights of employees under Section 7. Those policies include prohibitions or restrictions on social media usage, requirements of confidentiality on company information and the use of company logos, trademarks and copyrights, among others. Every employer should be aware of this report which offers practical suggestions – keeping in mind the source – and periodically review its employee handbook for these often hidden dangers. Many of these policies, such as social media, continue to evolve and receive scrutiny and guidance from such agencies such as the NLRB. If you would like assistance in reviewing your handbook, please call one of our labor and employment attorneys. Click here to view the General Counsel’s report.