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Showing 28 posts in NLRA.

The Suggestion Box: Useful Management Tool or Unlawful Solicitation of Grievances

T-Mobile USA, Inc. ("T-Mobile") in 2015 created T-Voice, a nationwide program through which customer service representatives could submit "pain points" regarding certain aspects of the job, including ideas to improve customer service. The majority of these pain points addressed customer service issues, such as billing, fraud procedures, access to computer programs, and at times, the type of music customers were subjected to while on hold. Some of the suggestions have led to action being taken by T-Mobile, like requests for device-charging stations, which resulted in T-Mobile installing three stations. More ›

NLRB Proposes Rule that Would Deny Undergraduate and Graduate Students the Right to Unionize

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has proposed a new rule which would exclude undergraduate and graduate students from coverage under Section 2(3) of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). Specifically, students who perform study-related services in return for financial compensation at private colleges and universities would not be able to collectively organize as employees. The proposed rule is subject to a sixty-day comment period. More ›

NLRB to Revisit Issue of When Employees Lose NLRA Section 7 Protection When Using Threatening and Demeaning Language

While discussing work assignments with his supervisor, an employee uses abusive and profane language. In another incident, the employee disrupts a workplace meeting by playing loud music with racial and political overtones. These and other behaviors led to discipline which was in turn challenged by the employee as an unfair labor practice. In General Motors LLC and Charles Robinson (14-CA-197985; 14-CA-208242), the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) requested public comment on when insubordinate, threatening or intimidating behavior should not constitute protected activity under Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). It is not uncommon for the NLRB to request public comment in situations where there may be a policy shift.

The facts of General Motors LLC and Charles Robinson are relatively straightforward. Charles Robinson is a Union Committee representative, and he could be characterized as a zealous supporter of worker rights in a unionized environment. From a management perspective, he could just as easily be deemed a disruptive, uncooperative, intimidating, and threatening employee. Robinson was disciplined by the employer for essentially three reasons: More ›

NLRB Reverses Itself and Broadens Employer Property Rights in Restricting Access to Non-Employee Union Agents

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has revisited the issue of when an employer may restrict access to its private property by non-employee union agents. In Kroger Limited Partnership, a union business agent was denied access to the food store's parking lot to solicit Kroger's customers to boycott the store. When the union agent refused to leave, the supermarket called police to force the union agent to leave the premises. The NLRB was subsequently was called upon to assess whether Kroger's actions were unlawful and discriminatory under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). More ›

In a Win for Labor Unions, Illinois Governor Pritzker Signs Bill Prohibiting Municipalities from Establishing Right-to-Work Zones

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker recently signed into law the Collective Bargaining Freedom Act, formally ending an initiative of former Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner. Effective as of April 12, 2019, the new law limits the ability of municipalities, counties, villages, and taxing districts to enact "right-to-work zones" which prevent employers and unions who work within the zones from executing, implementing, and enforcing union security provisions. More ›

Unpacking the Supreme Court's Janus Decision

The United States Supreme Court issued its long-anticipated decision in Janus v. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employee Council 31 on June 27, 2018.  The five to four majority held that requiring public-sector employees who are not union members to pay union agency fees violates the First Amendment.  In the final paragraphs of the majority opinion, the Court made it clear that in the context of a public sector employer-union relationship, non-member employees in the bargaining unit must provide express consent before union dues can be deducted from their paychecks.  Janus' implications for public employers are wide-ranging. However, the immediate question that unionized public-sector employers must address is how to administer existing agency fee provisions in collective bargaining agreements and distinguish between union members and non-members, whose express consent is now required before union dues can be deducted from their paychecks.  It is important to note that this decision is grounded in constitutional principles and only applies to public sector unionized employees. More ›

Lawful, Unlawful, or It Depends? NLRB Issues New Guidance on Employer Policies Affecting Section 7 Rights

Earlier this month, the National Labor Relations Board's (NLRB) General Counsel issued Memorandum GC-18-04 providing guidance on handbook rules in light of the Board’s Boeing Company decision. In Boeing, the Board reevaluated when a seemingly neutral work rule, handbook rule, or employment policy violates the rights of workers granted by Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). In doing so, it adopted a new test balancing the negative impact a given rule may have on an employee’s ability to exercise his or her Section 7 rights versus the employer’s right to maintain a disciplined and productive workplace. It also laid out three categories of rules: those that are always lawful, those that are usually always unlawful, and those it depends-type rules falling into the middle category. The GC’s guidance sorts common workplace policies into these three buckets. More ›

NLRB Agenda Includes Setting a Regulatory Joint Employer Standard

We have written previously regarding the saga of the National Labor Relations Board and joint employer status here, here, and here. In short, the question of when a business is responsible for another business’s employees has been in flux for a few years, affecting franchisee/franchisor relationships, businesses that utilize temporary employees, parent and subsidiary companies, and similar arrangements. More ›

Lessons for Employers in the Case of a Former Google Software Engineer Fired for Violating Company Anti-Discrimination Policies

Earlier this week, an NLRB attorney issued an advice memo concluding that software giant Google did not violate Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act ("NLRA"), when the company terminated software engineer James Damore, who penned a controversial memo criticizing Google’s diversity initiatives. The memo, and Google's swift reaction, were widely covered in the press and speculation followed questioning whether Google's response was appropriate or whether it would face a challenge.   More ›

In Victory for Employers, NLRB Overrules Browning-Ferris Joint Employment Test

On December 14, 2017, the National Labor Relations Board (Board) overruled the standard for joint employment set forth in Browning-Ferris and returned to longstanding, prior principles governing the determination of joint-employer status. With a new majority, the Board held “joint-employer status shall once again require proof that putative joint employer entities have exercised joint control over essential employment terms (rather than merely having “reserved” the right to exercise control); the control must be “direct and immediate” (rather than indirect), and joint-employer status will not result from control that is “limited and routine.”  The Board made clear it intended to align the determination of joint-employer status with the holdings of numerous federal and state courts. Although finding Browning-Ferris well-intentioned, the Board identified five fundamental flaws that warranted reversal. The Board’s decision is being widely viewed as a victory for employers as it removes ambiguities related to control and clarifies the standard for determining joint employment. More ›

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