Category Archives: Labor Relations

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Profanity or Protected Speech?

Imagine this, an employee writes profanity (“whore board”) on a company bulletin board, the employer terminates the employee for the profanity, and the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) holds that the employee’s profanity is speech protected by the National Labor Relations Act (“Act”). That is exactly what happened to an aluminum products maker a few … Continue Reading

ALERT! Your COVID-19 Policies and Procedures Need a BOOSTER!

Employers who are conducting automatic COVID-19 testing of employees or gathering test results of employees’ families should beware: the Equal Employ­ment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) has issued new guidance limiting the former and has penalized a healthcare practice recently for doing the latter.… Continue Reading

The NLRB is Actively Using the Strongest Weapon in its Arsenal – Quick Injunctions

Last year we warned that the NLRB pendulum was swinging pro-union, but even we could not have predicted just how swiftly the pendulum swing would happen. In the past year alone, General Counsel Jennifer Abruzzo of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has continued to forcibly push the pro-union agenda by revealing the NLRB’s intent … Continue Reading

Unsuccessful Union Election? Employers Might Still Be Ordered to Engage in Collective Bargaining

Employers with a workforce seeking to unionize may soon be ordered to bargain even without a union election (or potentially, even if the employer won the election)—if the NLRB’s General Counsel succeeds in resurrecting a 50-year-old legal framework called the Joy Silk Mills doctrine.… Continue Reading

The Biden Administration Takes Aim at Increasing Worker Empowerment

When President Biden took office in 2021, he vowed to be the “most pro-union president” this country has ever seen. Although President Biden was unable to deliver some key worker legislation during his first year in office, President Biden is upping the ante to fulfill his promise of a pro-union presidency. President Biden’s newly created … Continue Reading

Prepare Now for Anticipated Labor Law Changes in 2022

General Counsel Jennifer Abruzzo of the National Labor Relations Board continues to make waves as she shares with employers, unions, and workers alike, her views on hot button issues at the NLRB.  During Abruzzo’s remarks at the American Bar Association Section of Labor and Employment Law Conference last month, Abruzzo went beyond the guidance provided … Continue Reading

New NLRB GC Memo Reveals Agency Strategy

All unionized and nonunionized private sector employers should prepare now for the anticipated legal changes contemplated in the National Labor Relations Board’s latest general counsel memorandum, GC 21-04. The Memorandum, released August 12, 2021, provides a detailed roadmap of the legal precedents and case-handling processes that new NLRB General Counsel Jennifer Abruzzo will advocate changing … Continue Reading

Be Careful About Restricting Employee Communications with Media

Employers that bar staff from communicating with the media should take another look at those prohibitions, following a recent federal appellate decision finding such a policy unlawful under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). An employee’s critical letter to the editor might be embarrassing, but taking action against the author for writing it may be … Continue Reading

Union Organizing Trends: Use of Technology and Social Issues

Union organizers are effectively using technology and capitalizing on prominent social issues to dramatically increase union organizing in the technology industry and elsewhere. No longer do union organizers have to meet employees face-to-face in their homes, their employer’s parking lot, or in a public gathering location such as in a restaurant or bar. The widespread … Continue Reading

Non-Union Employers Beware: The NLRB Pendulum is Pushed Pro-Union

Employers that want to maintain non-union status must be aware of the significant and rapid shift of the NLRB toward pro-union positions. Everyone expected the NLRB pendulum to swing pro-union, but few observers expected the pendulum to be immediately and forcibly pushed as it has been. First was the prompt and unprecedented ousting of the … Continue Reading

Labor Department Issues New Rule for Independent Contractor Status

With no clear guidance and different factors being given different weight by different courts, employers have struggled for years with whether workers can be properly classified as independent contractors, rather than employees, under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act. Now, the Department of Labor has issued a new rule  making clear what factors should be … Continue Reading

What Employers Can Expect From a Biden Presidency: Part III, the Winds of Change are Upon Us

With the certification of the Electoral College votes complete, Joe Biden will become President on January 20 and no doubt usher in sweeping changes. If you want to know what to expect, join us for a webinar on Tuesday, January 19 at noon Eastern. In the meantime, here’s a sneak preview:… Continue Reading

Back to Pro-Labor: What Employers Can Expect From a Biden Presidency: Part II, Labor Relations Edition

While the final results are not yet certified, it appears that we have a new president. Employers across the country, both union and non-union, are wondering what they can expect from a Joe Biden presidency when it comes to organized labor. The Biden campaign was not shy about its strong support for labor unions, and … Continue Reading

Longer Than Expected Layoffs May Trigger Notice Requirements

Back in the spring, when COVID-19 first forced the shutdown of many businesses, did your company temporarily furlough or lay off workers? If so, pay attention to that calendar, as six months may be rapidly approaching. As we noted in our prior blog, certain layoffs and reductions in hours that last longer than six months … Continue Reading

Common Sense Finally Prevails: Employers No Longer have to Tolerate Abusive and Offensive Conduct in the Workplace  

Your employee has just cursed at you, calling you every racist and/or sexist name in the book. Naturally, that employee must go! Just as you are ready to sign off on the termination, a thought occurs to you: “Uh-oh. He was standing on a picket line when he called me those names. Am I still … Continue Reading

The NLRB’s Division of Advice Has Spoken on COVID-19 in the Workplace, Providing Flexibility to Employers During the Pandemic

As employers continue to navigate these chaotic times, on July 15, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), through its Division of Advice (Advice), issued its first guidance regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and the workplace. In the form of five letters from Advice relating to the pandemic, the previously silent NLRB brought some beneficial clarity to … Continue Reading

Navigating the NLRA in the Pandemic and Post-Pandemic Workplace: What Both Union and Nonunion Employers Need to Know

As shelter in place restrictions ease and U.S. workplaces begin to reopen, both union and nonunion employers may find themselves facing a host of new challenges. Employers may wonder what they should be doing to keep their employees safe at work. They may wonder what kinds of medical tests they can perform on employees before … Continue Reading

DOL Issues Regulations on Emergency Paid Sick Leave and Expanded FMLA Leave

Demonstrating that guidance on the newly mandated Emergency Paid Sick Leave and Expanded Family and Medical Leave is fluid, on April 6, 2020, the United States Department of Labor (DOL) published new regulations as a “temporary rule” expanding on and tinkering with its prior guidance under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). The new … Continue Reading

Department of Labor Issues FFCRA Guidance, Poster

A flurry of publications from the United States Department of Labor (DOL) provide employers with additional details regarding the recently-passed Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). Q&A guidance issued March 24 establishes an April 1, 2020 effective date and explains how to calculate the 500-employee threshold and hours used to determine employees’ leave entitlement. A … Continue Reading

Notice Requirements When Furloughing Or Laying Off Workers in the Pandemic

Employers contemplating layoffs or furloughs of employees as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak need to be careful. Even if they are not subject to the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN Act), they may be obligated to provide various notices under state “mini-WARN” acts or other state laws. Below is a quick … Continue Reading

Three More Employer Holiday Wishes Granted By National Labor Relations Board

The holiday cheer keeps coming from the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) with the release of three new decisions favoring employers: (1) workplace policies covering confidentiality during workplace investigations are lawful; (2) employers can restrict employees’ use of emails for nonbusiness purposes; and (3) employers can stop deducting and remitting union dues after the expiration … Continue Reading

The Holidays Arrive Early for Employers: The National Labor Relations Board Issues New Union Election Rules

Employers can finally breathe a sigh of relief. Late last week, the National Labor Relations Board (Board) announced finalized union election rules, which will ease some of the quickie election procedures implemented by the Board in 2014. Perhaps most significantly, the new rule extends the time to the pre-election hearing from 8 calendar days to … Continue Reading
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