What You Need to Know About NLRB Actions in 2012 on Common Employee Handbook Policies

POLICY MANUALEven though the NLRB is currently under fire and courts are striking down its rulings made after the recess appointments, it may still be useful to consider the rulings related to employment policies.  The NLRB was very active last year reviewing policies from employee handbooks.  Many of these policies had been utilized without question by employers for years.   The basis for the scrutiny has been that some of these policies interfere with rights to protected concerted activity under Section 7 of the NLRA.  These considerations are important because Section 7 does not apply merely to union workplaces.

Section 7 of the NLRA, in effect since 1935, offers employees the right to engage in protected concerted activity for their mutual aid or protection concerning the terms and conditions of their employment.  An employee may prove a violation by establishing:

  1. Employees would reasonably construe the language to prohibit protected activity;
  2. The rule was created in response to union activity; or
  3. The rule has been applied to restrict the exercise of protected rights.

In 2012, the NLRB called these types of policies into question:

  1. Confidentiality Policy;
  2. At-Will Policy;
  3. Policy impacting use of Social Media
  4. Policy restricting Negative or Adverse Comments.

My next post will discuss the issues raised about these four categories of policies.

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About Andrew (Andy) Wampler

For over a decade, I have provided legal services to businesses and individuals in Northeast Tennessee. I spend time litigating breaches of contract, medical malpractice, and commercial disputes and have worked on a number of transactions. I also advise businesses, working much of my time on healthcare and employment matters.

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