NLRB In Non-Union Workplace

Dustin Paschal with Simon Paschal, PLLC for our video tip of the week. It’s been a couple of weeks but I’ve been a little busy around here so we’ll start it back up. Today we’re going to talk about the NLRB, the National Labor Relations Board. Generally when I say that anyone that does not work in a union environment shuts down, stops listening, but actually the NLRB does apply to nonunion environments. You know to private companies that don’t have unions. Specifically. Back in the spring of 2015 the NLRB came out with a guidance memo and we’ll post that on our blog online, but a guidance memo specifically related to handbooks and I think we’ve talked about that some in the context of handbooks, but I wanted to touch on it here just briefly. But within that memo there’s some prohibitions that the NLRB put in place related to the employer employee relationship that I think surprises employers.

Specifically a lot of employers might have policies that are kind of anti-gossip policies in the workplace. Those are now under scrutiny by the NLRB and you have to be more careful with the way those are worded. You can’t just have a general, don’t talk bad about your coworkers policy. That’s going to be a in violation of the NLRB rules. There’s also a lot of stuff about social media in there and a lot of companies think they can prohibit their employees from talking bad about the company or denigrating the company in some way on social media. That’s also not true that NLRB guidance says that employees have that right. The whole thing is done under the auspices of concerted protected activity and so the NLRB says those employees have that right to air their grievances, whether that be online or in the workplace or what have you.

So you need to look at the memo or talk to your legal counsel for social media guidance as well. There’s also stuff in there about when employees can leave the workplace and when they can’t and you can control that, but you have to be careful with the way you word it such that it does not sound like you are prohibiting some sort of strike. It even goes so far as to talk about how you can and cannot prohibit your employees from speaking to the media. So it’s very important. There’s a lot of things that traditionally in Texas and traditionally in the private employer setting, employers have had the right to prohibit or control and with this NLRB guidance they cannot. So your best bet is to, like I said, either go read that memo. There’s even a full on a sample social media policy that you can use and kind of adjust a little bit to your settings. But go read that memo and we’ll make it easy to find by putting it on our blog. But if you have further questions, contact your legal counsel and go over it, it’s very important stuff. Thanks!


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