Category Archives: Labor Relations

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NLRB Clarifies Standard for Reviewing Workplace Policies, Finds Confidentiality and Media Contact Policies Lawful

Applying its new standard for determining whether employer policies violate the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), a divided National Labor Relations Board (Board) upheld policies prohibiting employee disclosure of client and vendor information and contact with the media. The Board’s decision provides additional guidance about their new, employer-friendly standard of review.

Section 7 of the NLRA guarantees employees the right … Continue Reading

Minimizing Risks of BYOD Use For Work

Employees seem permanently attached to their smart phones today, but allowing employees to use their personal devices to make work calls, and send and receive work emails can carry substantial risks. Before allowing employees to use their personal cell phones or other devices for work purposes, make sure you have strong electronic communications and Bring Your Own Device policies in … Continue Reading

NLRB Proposes Employer Friendly Changes to Union Election Rules

Employers may find it easier to remain union-free based on new rules proposed last week by the National Labor Relations Board for bringing unions into and out of the work place. Citing the National Labor Relations Act’s (Act) purpose of safeguarding the freedom of employees to choose to unionize or to remain union-free, the NLRB proposed to change its rules … Continue Reading

NLRB Weighs in on Confidentiality, Personal Use of Company Email, and Other Workplace Policies

Employers should be careful about designating Employee Handbooks confidential as, according to the National Labor Relations Board’s advice division, that would be unlawful.  That advice was contained in one of five memoranda issued by the advice division last month. While not binding on the Board and not official Board precedent, advice memoranda provide guidance to the Board’s Regional Offices on … Continue Reading

National Labor Relations Board Continues Trend of Employer-Friendly Actions

The National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) recent decision significantly revising the independent contractor standard will allow more workers to be so classified and therefore unable to unionize. This decision continues the Board’s growing trend towards employer-friendly positions and scaling back Obama-era developments. In other action this winter, the Board has proposed rulemaking modifying the joint employer test and limited its … Continue Reading

State of the “Unions”: 2018-2019

If there were a State of the “Unions” report, it would no doubt highlight unusual protests, increased organizing and widespread strikes in 2018, along with a forecast for a labor board likely to give more latitude to employers in 2019.

Groups of employees protesting against the actions of their employers are not unusual. However, two protests by groups of Washington, … Continue Reading

The NLRB Rolls Back the Definition of “Protected, Concerted Activity”

Workers who complain in a group setting will no longer be presumed to be engaged in “protected concerted activity” under the National Labor Relations Act based on a new decision issued last month. The decision means that fewer employees in the workplace – whether unionized or not – will be covered by the protections of the NLRA.… Continue Reading

Supreme Court Slams Public Sector Union Rights

The Supreme Court has declared that mandatory union dues for public employees are unlawful, overturning 40 years of precedent. In Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, the Court ruled that requiring public sector employees who are not union members to pay “fair share” or “agency fees” to unions that represent them in collective bargaining violates the … Continue Reading

Joint Employer Standard: Whiplash!

In a surprising move, the National Labor Relations Board has overturned its recent decision that had overruled an expansive joint employer standard set forth by the previous Obama-era Board.  So, at least for the time being, where an entity has reserved the right to control employees with another entity – even if that control was never exercised –  the Board … Continue Reading

New NLRB Decisions Favor Employers

With the change to a Republican President and the appointment of new NLRB members, the expectation that more pro-employer decisions will be issued has begun. Several NLRB decisions have re-established prior labor law precedents that were overturned by the Obama era NLRB.  A prime example of this is the recent decision involving Raytheon Network Centric Systems that restored the 50-year-old … Continue Reading

Joint Employer Standard Relaxed – For Now

Business owners, franchisors, contractors, and staffing agencies can breathe a little easier – for the moment – following the National Labor Relations Board’s reversal last month of a controversial Obama-era standard that broadly defined “joint employer.”

In the 2015 Browning v. Ferris decision, the NLRB overturned decades of precedent and created an expansive definition of joint employer. Joint employers included … Continue Reading

Workplace Civility Legal Again

Rules mandating workplace civility and protection of confidential business information — recently the target of the National Labor Relations Board — are lawful again. Non-union employers take note: no longer will the Board automatically find an unfair labor practice for policy, work rule and handbook provisions that employees would construe as prohibiting protected concerted activity. Based on The Boeing Company … Continue Reading

NLRB Gift: Staying Non-Union May Be A Little Easier

The NLRB offered a holiday gift to employers this year, overturning an Obama-era decision that allowed unions to organize “micro-units” of employees, by restoring a more employer-friendly standard to determine an “appropriate bargaining unit.” In PCC Structurals, Inc., the NLRB overturned the 2011 decision in Specialty Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center of Mobile which had allowed the unionization of “micro-units.” … Continue Reading

DOJ About-Face: Supporting Class Action Waivers, Parting Ways with the NLRB

The Department of Justice (DOJ) has just switched sides in a trio of high profile arbitration cases now pending before the Supreme Court, joining with the employers to argue that the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB’s) ban on the use of class action waivers in arbitration agreements oversteps its authority and is misguided.… Continue Reading

New, Even Broader, Joint Employer Test Adopted

Employers may think the concept of joint employer being pushed by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is overly broad, but a recent decision by a federal appellate court in Richmond, Virginia adopts the most expansive definition yet. Last month the federal appellate court pronounced that two entities or individuals should be considered a joint employer of the same worker … Continue Reading

Will The NLRB’s Protection of Unacceptable Conduct Last?

It’s ironic, isn’t it? While the EEOC could find an employer liable for tolerating racist or sexist remarks by employees, the NLRB has repeatedly found employers liable for failing to do so under the guise of protecting “concerted activity” by employees. Will the agency’s rulings against employers be supported by the courts? And will the pattern of protecting such employee … Continue Reading

Seventh Circuit Holds That Collective and Class Action Waivers in Arbitration Agreements are Unenforceable

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals held that collective and class action waivers contained in arbitration agreements with employees are unenforceable and violate the National Labor Relations Act. Reaching the opposite conclusion as the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals and siding with the NLRB, the Seventh Circuit also held that the Federal Arbitration Act does not alter this outcome. The … Continue Reading

Department of Labor: Joint Employment Is Increasingly Common

On January 20, 2016, the Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor issued guidance on joint employment under the Fair Labor Standards Act and Migrant Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act. The DOL’s guidance comes on the heels of a landmark decision of the NLRB, which, as discussed in greater detail here, broadened the definition of “joint … Continue Reading

NLRB Finds No Joint Employment Relationship In First Decision Applying Browning-Ferris

In its first application of the landmark Browning-Ferris decision, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has determined that ACECO, a contractor, was not a joint employer with Green Jobworks, its staffing agency. In Browning-Ferris, the NLRB held that two or more entities would be considered joint employers if each one possessed sufficient control over employees’ essential terms and conditions … Continue Reading

NLRB Changes Standard for Determining Joint Employer Status

The NLRB has issued a landmark decision changing its current standard for assessing “joint employer” status in both unionized and non-union workplaces. This is significant, because, even if the company is not the actual employer of workers, the company may be required to bargain with a Union and held liable for unfair labor practice charges if found to be a … Continue Reading

D.C. Circuit Reinstates Home Health Care Regulations

Earlier this year, we brought news that the DOL had revised its regulations applicable to home health care workers. Those regulations, which related to domestic workers who provide “companionship services,” narrowed significantly the classes of workers who were exempt from the minimum wage and overtime protections of the FLSA by removing the ability of home health care agencies to claim … Continue Reading

The NLRB Expands Its Reach in the Non-Union Workplace

The National Labor Relations Board continues to infiltrate the workplace even where there are no unions. Standard workplace policies — including those relating to employee conduct, protecting intellectual property, use of personal electronics, and conflicts of interest — are unlawful, according to a recent memorandum issued by the NLRB General Counsel. Basic contract and policy provisions requiring employees to maintain … Continue Reading

Employment Law Trends for 2015

Few can quibble with the fact that 2015 has been a busy year for employment law. From historic pronouncements of the Supreme Court concerning fundamental and civil rights, to the Department of Labor’s release of guidance to curb misclassification and proposed new regulations to update the Fair Labor Standards Act’s “white collar” exemptions, to the General Counsel of the National … Continue Reading

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