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Showing 86 posts in NLRB.

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 ›

A "Perfectly Clear" Successor Under the NLRB is Less Than Perfectly Clear

A recent decision by a three judge panel of the federal D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals highlights potential pitfalls for successor employers who want to establish new compensation terms. In First Student, Inc., the D.C. Circuit panel concluded the employer in that case was a "perfectly clear" successor under existing precedent of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) because it intended to offer employment to the all of the employees of the unionized predecessor who met minimum criteria. The concept of a perfectly clear successor first was raised by the United States Supreme Court in NLRB v. Burns International Security Services, Inc.. In that decision, the Supreme Court noted that in certain circumstances it is "perfectly clear that the new employer plans to retain all of the employees in the unit," and the employer then is obligated to bargain with the union before making unilateral changes to wages, benefits, and other mandatory terms or conditions of employment. More ›

NLRB Ruling: Simply Misclassifying Workers is Not an Unfair Labor Practice

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) continues to retreat from its previously expansive approach to what might be considered interference with Section 7 rights under the National Labor Relations Act (the "Act"). Followers of Hinshaw's blog submissions will recall the NLRB gave a very broad interpretation during the Obama era to the scope of Section 8(a)(1) of the Act. An August 29, 2019 ruling from the NLRB in Velox Express, Inc. vs. Jeannie Edge further highlights how this is certainly not true of the Trump-era Board. More ›

NLRB Announces Three Proposed Rules, ULPs May No Longer Block an Election

On August 12, 2019, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued three proposed amendments to the rules on union representation elections. These three amendments, outlined below, would change the "blocking charge" policy, the voluntary recognition bar, and the rule on contractual representation clauses in the construction industry. More ›

NLRB Serves Up Guidance for Restaurants on Mandatory Arbitration Agreements in Post-Epic Systems Era

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) recently provided guidance in Cordúa Restaurants, Inc., 368 NLRB No. 43, for employers seeking to require employees to sign class action and collective action waivers in arbitration agreements when facing litigation. By way of background, the U.S. Supreme Court previously held in Epic Systems Corp. v. Lewis, 138 S.Ct. 1612 (2018), that agreements containing class action and collective action waivers, and provisions stipulating that employment disputes be resolved by individualized arbitration, do not violate the National Labor Relations Act. As a result, the Court held that these agreements must be enforced as written to follow the Federal Arbitration Act (the "Act"). In Cordúa Restaurants, the NLRB was faced with two issues of first impression in the post-Epic Systems era: (1) whether the Act prohibits employers from circulating such agreements in response to employees opting in to a collective action; and (2) whether the Act prohibits employers from threatening to discharge an employee who refuses to sign a mandatory arbitration agreement. The NLRB held that both actions were consistent with Epic Systems and were not forbidden under the Act. The Cordúa Restaurants decision provides significant opportunity for employers to revise arbitration agreements to preclude participation in these multi-party litigations and require that employees sign these agreements. More ›

The Fight for $15 and the NLRB

In-N-Out Burger, Incorporated (In-N-Out) found itself on the wrong side of National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) unfair labor practice proceedings for prohibiting its employees from "wearing any type of pin or stickers" on their uniforms. The Fifth Circuit, in In-N-Out Burger, Incorporated v. National Labor Relations Board (No. 17-60241, decided July 6, 2018), upheld a NLRB finding that In-N-Out violated Section 8(a)1 of the National Labor Relations Act by prohibiting its employees from wearing a "Fight for $15" button and for maintaining an overly broad uniform policy. 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 ›

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