Archives: Labor Relations

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Federal Employment Agencies Grind to a Halt During Government Shutdown

The lights are still on but the overwhelming majority of desks are empty at the national and regional offices of the Department of Labor (DOL) and its subagencies, as well as the National Labor Relations Board, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. These offices will continue to receive and docket filings to preserve statutory deadlines but otherwise will … Continue Reading

The Times They Are A-Changin’ For Labor Union Organizing

Labor unions seeking to stem steady losses within their ranks are getting creative. The AFL-CIO recently passed a resolution permitting anyone in the country to join its organization, regardless of union affiliation. Pushing for passage of this resolution, AFL-CIO head Richard Trumka proclaimed that “[T]he success of our movement…is measured by the progress of working people – … Continue Reading

NLRB General Counsel Keeps Unfriending Employer Social Media Policies

In a just-released Advice Memorandum found here, the NLRB General Counsel’s office (“GC”) publicized its position that employers must bargain with their unions before implementing new social media policies. The Memo “casually” notes that work rules, such as social media guidelines, provide an independent basis for discipline and are mandatory subjects of bargaining.  According to the … Continue Reading

Fourth Circuit Joins D.C. Circuit in Ripping Up NLRB Poster Rule

Alexandria E. Cuff contributed to the content of this post. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit joined the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in striking down a National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) rule requiring employers to post a notice telling employees about their National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”) rights, … Continue Reading

NLRB Recess Appointments Ruled Unconstitutional: Hundreds of Decisions Affected and Board Unable to Act

In a decision handed down today, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled that President Obama lacked the authority to install three recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board early last year. In its opinion for Noel Canning vs. NLRB, attached here, the Court concluded that the President ignored the Senate’s “advise … Continue Reading

Non-Disclosure and Non-Disparagement Provisions in Employment Agreements Not Off-Limits Under the NLRA

In a recent case involving Quicken Loans, Inc., Case No. 28-CA-75857, JD(NY)-03-13 (January 8, 2013), an NLRB Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) found that employers’ commonly adopted practice of including non-disclosure and non-disparagement provisions in employment agreements violated the NLRA. The ALJ concluded that these contract provisions created a chilling effect on the employees’ right to discuss … Continue Reading

NLRB Overturns 36-Year-Old Precedent Protecting Confidential Witness Statements From Disclosure to Union

On the heels of its December 12 decision overturning 50-year-old Board precedent in WKYC-TV, the NLRB reversed a 36-year-old Board ruling which protected confidential witness statements during workplace investigations from disclosure to the labor organization representing the employee or employees involved in the investigation. Prior to the Board’s December 14 decision in Am. Baptist Homes of … Continue Reading

NLRB Overturns 50 Year Old Case to Require Employers to Continue Union Dues “Check-off” Payments Despite Expiration of Underlying Labor Agreement

The National Labor Relations Board issued a ruling to preserve the flow of union dues income to unions during protracted labor negotiations. The ruling is that an employer must continue to deduct union dues from employee paychecks despite the expiration of a collective bargaining agreement that required the payments. … Continue Reading

NLRB Requires Employers to Respond to Irrelevant Information Requests from Unions

The NLRB added to its step-by-step expansion of union rights at the expense of employers, this time by requiring employers to “promptly respond” to even irrelevant information requests from unions. This “irrelevant” ruling is an extension of well-established NLRB case law that an employer’s duty to bargain in good faith includes the obligation to provide requested … Continue Reading

Watch for Unions At Your Doorstep!

Employers must remain watchful for increased union organizing at their workplaces. Those that dismiss the possibility that their employees would consider unionizing are often left disappointed and unionized when last minute anti-union campaigns in response to “surprise” representation petitions are “too little, too late.” Recent actions by the National Labor Relations Board—examples are below– highlight the need … Continue Reading

NLRB General Counsel Backs Off Prohibiting All Employment-At-Will Disclaimers

In an apparent victory for employers, the NLRB’s General Counsel (“GC”) issued a pair of Advice Memoranda upholding handbook employment-at-will disclaimers comparable to provisions found unlawful several months ago by the same GC. In the Memos, found here and here, the GC concludes that the following disclaimers did not explicitly restrict employees’ protected activities and were not … Continue Reading

H-2B Visas May Be a Heavy Burden for Employer’s Wallets

On Monday, August 20, a federal judge in Philadelphia upheld the Department of Labor ("DOL") rule setting minimum wage requirements for foreign workers holding H-2B visas. The proposed rule has drawn much attention, and criticism, because it potentially will cost $874,000,000 or more per year in increased labor costs for employers with H-2B visa holders. … Continue Reading

Employer’s E-Mail System May Become Tool for Union Organizing

The National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) is expected to issue a ruling shortly on whether employers can lawfully prohibit their employees and unions from using employer-owned e-mail and intranet systems to distribute union campaign materials. An NLRB decision favoring employee and union use of these internal communication avenues for union organizing and other NLRA-protected activities would … Continue Reading

NLRB Forbids “Do Not Discuss” Warnings to Employees During Confidential Investigations

  NLRB holds that employer’s practice of requesting employees to keep internal investigations confidential violates the NLRA.   The National Labor Relations Board ("NLRB" or "Board") is at it again, this time finding that an employer’s policy prohibiting employees from discussing ongoing investigations of employee misconduct infringes upon employees’ Section 7 rights in violation of … Continue Reading

Alaska First State to Recognize Union-Employee Privilege in Communications

In a decision that may extend to other state and federal courts, the National Labor Relations Board, and to labor arbitrations, Alaska’s Supreme Court became the first state or federal court to recognize an implied statutory privilege for union-employee communications during a disciplinary or grievance proceeding to block questioning about them. Comparable to confidential attorney-client communications, … Continue Reading

Legality of “At Will” Language in Employee Handbooks Left Unresolved

Inserting itself once again in the relationship between employers and their non-union employees, the National Labor Relations Board ("NLRB") recently settled a case in which the General Counsel alleged that certain common "at-will" disclaimers in employee handbooks and manuals violated the National Labor Relations Act ("NLRA"). Raised but unresolved is the impact of this settlement … Continue Reading

NLRB General Counsel Issues Third Report on Social Media Cases

The National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB’s) Acting General Counsel Lafe Solomon issued his third report on social media cases handled by the NLRB. Copies of all three memos are available here, here and here, in the order issued. Our previous blog post discussing the second memo can be found here. The most recent, third report reviews … Continue Reading

NLRB’S “Quickie Election” Rules Invalidated

The United States District Court for the District of Columbia voided the NLRB’s so-called “quickie election” rules because the NLRB lacked the quorum necessary when it adopted its Amended Election Rules to expedite the current union election process. See Chamber of Commerce, et al v. NLRB. Our more in-depth analysis of those amended rules is in our … Continue Reading

NLRB Continues To Oppose Arbitration Policies That “Chill” Employee Class Actions

The General Counsel for the National Labor Relations Board ("Board") issued a complaint yesterday alleging that 24 Hour Fitness USA, Inc., violated the National Labor Relations Act ("NLRA") by insisting that all employment-related disputes be resolved through individual arbitration. The employer, which operates fitness centers nationwide, requires its non-union workforce, as a precondition of hire, … Continue Reading

UPDATE to D.C. Circuit Litigation Over NLRB Posting Rule: D.C. Circuit Halts Implementation Pending Appeal

The District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals granted a motion for an injunction pending appeal filed by national trade associations challenging the NLRB Posting Rule that requires all employers covered by the National Labor Relations Act to post a notice informing employees of their rights under the Act.  In granting the motion to enjoin the implementation of the … Continue Reading

NLRB Posting Requirement Upheld, But Enforcement Limited

As we have discussed in earlier posts found here and here, several national trade associations challenged the NLRB’s Rule that requires all employers covered by the National Labor Relations Act to post a notice notifying employees of their rights under the Act. In response to those filings, a federal district court upheld the posting requirement, but struck … Continue Reading

NLRB General Counsel Issues Second Report on Social Media Cases

This post was also written by Samantha M. Clancy. The National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB’s) Acting General Counsel Lafe Solomon recently issued a report on social media cases handled by the NLRB. This second report—he issued his first in August 2011— provides guidance to employers in developing and enforcing social media policies to comply with the National … Continue Reading
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