As 2019 came to a close, the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) released decisions that reverse Obama era decisions and re-establish employer property rights and the ability of employers to control their workplaces.
Here’s a brief description of these late 2019 decisions:
Caesars – All Employers may restrict employees’ email use to business purposes
NLRB reversed a 2014 ruling that stated workplace rules prohibiting employee use of employer email systems for organizing or collective bargaining purposes were invalid. In the Caesars Entertainment d/b/a Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino, 368 NLRB No. 143 issued in late 2019, the NLRB stated that employees do not have such a right for NLRA Section 7 purposes.
This latest decision establishes that because a corporate email system is an employer’s property, employers may prohibit non-business communications. There is a caveat. Employers may prohibit such communications except when that email system is “the only reasonable means for employees to communicate with one another.”
Employer policies that restrict Section 7 activities but do not restrict other personal use of employer email systems are still expected to draw negative attention from the NLRB.
Apogee – Employers can prohibit employees from discussing pending investigations
In Apogee Retail LLC d/b/a Unique Thrift Store, 368 NLRB No. 144 – another decision issued in late December, the NLRB determined that employers do not violate Section 7 provisions when they block employees from discussing ongoing workplace investigations.
The Apogee decision makes clear that rules requiring workplace confidentiality during an open investigation are permissible. In an Obama era decision (Banner Estrella), the NLRB placed the burden on employers to justify any confidentiality rules in such cases.
Valley Hospital – Employers need not collect union dues after CBA expires
In this late December decision (Valley Hospital Medical Center, Inc. d/b/a Valley Hospital Medical Center and Local Joint Executive Board of Las Vegas, 368 NLRB No. 139), NLRB ruled that employers have no requirement to deduct union dues from employees’ paychecks after a collective bargaining agreement expires.
If you’re an employer and have questions about labor and employment law, including matters discussed above, consider calling on the attorneys at Kainen, Escalera & McHale in Connecticut. We do one thing and one thing only – we are an employer defense law firm – in fact, we are one of the largest employer defense law firms in the region. What’s more, each of our attorneys has over 25 years of experience in employment and labor law matters and can provide your business with comprehensive legal counsel ranging from assistance with necessary preventive measures to trial advocacy. Please call us if we can help you.
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