National Labor Relations Board Launches Website To Educate Nonunion Employees

Author:Ms Alison Morris
Profession:Duane Morris LLP

On June 18, 2012, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) launched its website designed to educate nonunion employees of their rights under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). Protected Concerted Activity describes the rights of employees to act together for their mutual aid and protection, details how employees may access the NLRB's processes to have alleged employer violations redressed and specifically notes that these rights apply to employees "even if they are not in a union." The website was intended to be a companion piece to the Employee Rights poster that the NLRB, by rule, directed employers to hang in their workplaces. Although initially set to go in effect April 30, 2012, implementation of the Employee Rights poster rule has been delayed pending litigation over the Board's authority to promulgate the rule.

Visitors to the website are given 11 examples of the types of conduct the NLRB has deemed unlawful under the NLRA and descriptions of the relief granted. All of the examples involve employee discharges or discipline and the success of the Board in obtaining reinstatement to employment with full back pay or substantial payments (in one case, $900,000) in return for the employee's waiver of the right to return to work. The examples include:

A case arising from an employee's termination for posting criticisms of her supervisor on Facebook. After a work-related incident, an employee criticized her supervisor in a post on Facebook, which prompted other employees to reply to the posting. The employee was suspended the next day and later fired. The NLRB issued a complaint alleging the employee was unlawfully fired for engaging in protected concerted activity when she posted on Facebook. Prior to a hearing, the case settled. A case arising from the termination of five construction employees who posted a YouTube video about their hazardous working conditions. After the group of employees learned they were building concrete foundations at a former Superfund site, they expressed concerns about handling contaminated soil by posting a video on YouTube. The employer terminated each of the employees shortly after the video was posted. Following an investigation, the NLRB regional office issued a complaint. The case settled shortly thereafter, with the workers receiving full backpay and declining reinstatement. A case arising from the termination of an employee for discussing dissatisfaction with wages in violation of company policy...

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