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LEGAL & LEGISLATIVE UPDATE

Have you seen our January Legal update?

NLRB ENDS 2019 WITH A TRIO OF PRO-EMPLOYER DECISIONS

The National Labor Relations Board continues to trend pro-employer in a trio of rulings that reversed Obama-era decisions.

  1. NLRB ruling bans work email for union organizing

In the recent Caesar’s Entertainment decision, the NLRB held that employees have no legal right to use the company’s computer equipment for union and other organizing purposes. The NLRB specifically overruled the Obama-era decision in Purple Communications that held that if an employer provides an employee with access to its email system, it cannot prohibit the employee from using the email system for union and organizing purposes.

In light of this decision, employers who changed their computer policies because of the Purple Communications decision should immediately review those computer policies and once again prohibit employees from using the company’s computer systems for non-business purposes. Furthermore, employers should feel confident that they can enforce these policies without violating the National Labor Relations Act.

  1. NLRB allows policies barring workers from discussing active workplace investigations

In yet another break from precedent, the NLRB held recently that employers can have policies barring workers from discussing active workplace investigations.

In Apogee Retail, the NLRB said that employers don’t violate workers’ rights to act collectively by banning these conversations as long as the ban is limited to the period of active investigation. The Apogee Retail decision overturns the 2015 decision in Banner Health System.

  1. NLRB makes pro-employer changes to ambush rule

An NLRB change in December eased the standards of an Obama-era rule and significantly lengthens the time between an NLRB regional director’s order that there be an election and the actual election. In a news release, the NLRB said the modifications “create a fairer and more-efficient election process.”

Under the new rule, which takes effect April 16, the most significant change is a return to the NLRB’s practice of resolving questions of representation, unit scope and voter eligibility (including supervisory status) before an election is scheduled.

The now-rescinded 2014 quickie election rule reduced the period of time between petition and election, effectively allowing labor organizations to “ambush” employers with petitions.  That left employers scrambling to communicate with employees over a shorter time period. Union win rates increased after the quickie election rule went into effect. Once effective, the new rule will place most employers in a more advantageous position, allowing more time to consider the composition of the proposed bargaining unit and to fully litigate those issues prior to the election. It also allows employers to educate employees on the facts and risks surrounding union representation.

Please contact Mike Crocenzi at (717) 814-5417 or [email protected] or any member of the Legal & Legislative Committee with questions.