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Showing 9 posts in Section 7.

EEOC Petitions the NLRB to Change Legal Test for Considering Whether Employee Racial Outbursts are Protected NLRA Activity

In response to an amicus brief submitted by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has agreed to review General Motors LLC, a case which reveals a tension between the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 regarding employee racial outbursts during union activity. The EEOC requested the NLRB to change its test for determining whether or not an employee outburst is protected by the NLRA when it includes racially-charged language. The NLRB's decision could provide employers with more flexibility in disciplining employees for racial misconduct during union activity. More ›

NLRB Provides Section 7 Guidance to Employers Regarding Drafting of Arbitration Agreements

There is an ongoing tension between the National Labor Relations Board (the "Board") and employers who seek to expand the use of an arbitration forum to resolve employment disputes. The U.S. Supreme Court has continued to endorse the idea that arbitration is both an important part of national labor policy and a reasonable alternative to litigation in court for employment-related disputes. As the Board issues new opinions and interprets guidance from the Supreme Court, employers are in a position to gain better insight and avoid problematic drafting mistakes in arbitration agreements. 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 ›

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 ›

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 ›

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 ›

Hold the Mayo: Jimmy John's Workers' Disparaging Statements Not Protected by the NLRA Says 8th Circuit

How far can employees go during a labor dispute to make their case to the public? For years the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has granted employees a surprising amount of leeway, so long as their statements were not made with malicious intent and pertained to an ongoing labor dispute. In other words, employees could go quite far. Fortunately for employers, the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals recently tamped down this enthusiasm and redirected the NLRB to long-standing Supreme Court precedent. More ›

Management Rights Clause Does Not Give Management Right to Skip Bargaining Over Non-Compete and Confidentiality Agreement D.C. Court of Appeals Says

In Minteq v. NLRA, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit held an employer committed an unfair labor practice under Section 8 (a)(5) by failing to notify and bargain with a union over its requirement that new employees sign a non-compete and confidentiality agreement as a condition of employment. More ›

Tilting The Battlefield: NLRB Makes it Easier for Unions to Challenge use of Permanent Replacements

The National Labor Relations Board ("Board") recently denied review of its ruling in American Baptist Homes. That ruling upended the decades-old bright line test that an "independent unlawful purpose" is established only when an employer’s hiring of permanent replacements is unrelated to, or extrinsic to, the strike.  Specifically, the Board ruled the General Counsel is not required to show an employer was motivated by an unlawful purpose extrinsic to the strike; he need only show the hiring of permanent replacements was "motivated by a purpose prohibited by the Act." What constitutes a "prohibited purpose" is open to interpretation, and American Baptist Homes strongly signals employers could be exposed to unfair labor practice charges if there is any allegation that the use of permanent replacements is motivated by an intent to interfere with the exercise of Section 7 rights. More ›

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