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NLRB Provides Much-Needed Reality Check, Lowers Barrier To Employers’ Ability To Discipline And Discharge Employees Who Engage In Arguably Protected, But Plainly Disruptive, Workplace Conduct (US)

An employee confronts you – a small business owner – and calls you a “f***ng mother f***cker,” a “f***ing crook,” an “a**hole,” and “stupid,” tells you that none of your employees like you and everyone talks about you behind your back, and warns you that you’ll regret firing him, if you do. Or you’re a … Continue Reading

NLRB Issues Key Changes Regarding Arbitration Agreements, Confidentiality Provisions, and Employee Discipline (US)

The National Labor Relations Board continues to clarify and update employers’ obligations in key areas. As discussed below, one recent decision clarifies when employers may enter into arbitration agreements that require employees to keep the proceedings confidential. Another recent decision rescinded a rule issued by the Obama-era NLRB and clarified, for employers who are negotiating … Continue Reading

Federal Judge Says NLRB’s Revised Election Rule Was Improperly Implemented (US)

UPDATE: June 1, 2020: The NLRB announced via a press release and General Counsel memorandum that notwithstanding the judge’s order remanding the rule to the NLRB for reconsideration, “it will implement in full all of the rule changes unaffected by the recent U.S. District Court order.”  Accordingly, the following provisons in the rule are in … Continue Reading

NLRB Adopts A Bright-Line Rule Voiding Union Election Ballots With Stray Marks (US)

With almost all of the current news being focused on coronavirus-related topics, it’s easy to forget that courts and agencies continue to do their jobs, issuing decisions and opinions. On occasion, one of those decisions is significant enough to warrant a distraction from all things COVID-19. A recent National Labor Relations Board (NLRB or Board) … Continue Reading

Employer’s Guide to Return-to-Work Issues: COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (US)

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) public health emergency has changed life as we know it, including by severely disrupting business on a nationwide scale.  In some cases, employers have been forced to temporarily close their doors and cease operations, while others have had to make radical changes to the workplace in order to maintain operations. … Continue Reading

Update on Federal Agency Activity – EEOC, NLRB, OSHA, and DOL – Amidst the COVID-19 Crisis (US)

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a major impact on all aspects of life for all Americans and we are all still adjusting to this new “normal,” which is anything but normal.  Federal administrative agencies and their employees of course have not been immune to the effects of the current crisis and they, like private sector … Continue Reading

NLRB Holds Provisions in Voluntary Severance Agreement Are Not Unlawful “Work Rules” (US)

In non-coronavirus related developments, on March 16, 2020, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB or Board) issued a decision in Baylor University Medical Center, reversing an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) decision that found certain severance agreement provisions to be unlawful under Section 8(a)(1) of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).  Section 8(a)(1) prohibits employers from … Continue Reading

NLRB General Counsel Issues Memorandum Summarizing Bargaining Obligations During Emergency Situations (US)

For those employers whose employees are represented by labor unions, the extraordinary circumstances brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic have presented unique complications not shared by their employer counterparts whose operations are union-free.  Under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), an employer is obligated to bargain with its employees’ exclusive bargaining representatives concerning mandatory subjects … Continue Reading

National Labor Relations Board Suspends All Union Representation Elections (US)

In yet another sign of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, on March 19, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB or Board) announced that all representation elections – secret ballot elections held to determine whether employees wish to be represented by a labor union – are  suspended, including mail ballot elections, until April 3, 2020.  … Continue Reading

NLRB Issues Final Joint Employer Rule (US)

Return to Prior “Substantial Direct and Immediate Control” Test Goes Into Effect April 2020 Back in September 2018, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB or Board) published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that would define, by administrative rule, the standard for determining when two unrelated employers are deemed “joint employers” of a group of employees … Continue Reading

More Handbook Guidance: NLRB Shows When It Will Uphold Policies Regarding Confidentiality, Cell Phones, and Email Usage

Since the National Labor Relations Board issued the precedent-changing Boeing Company decision in late 2017, the Board has continuously illustrated when employment policies will survive scrutiny under the National Labor Relations Act.  Recently, in Argos USA LLC, the Board clarified its position about three common types of employment agreements or policies, i.e., those concerning confidentiality, … Continue Reading

NLRB Releases Multiple Advice Memoranda Covering a Range of Hot Button Topics (US)

Memos provide guidance on a variety of topics, including employer confidentiality policies and arbitration agreements As you may recall from our previous blog posts, National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB” or “Board”) advice memoranda are issued by the agency’s Division of Advice, which is part of the NLRB’s Office of the General Counsel (the “General Counsel”).  … Continue Reading

NLRB Must Consider An Employer’s Obligation To Maintain A Harassment-Free Workplace When Evaluating An Employee’s Allegedly Protected Conduct (US)

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit recently refused to enforce a decision by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) that involved a conflict between an employer’s obligation to maintain a harassment-free workplace under federal and state equal employment opportunity laws (such as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which, … Continue Reading

NLRB Issues New Rules and Several Key Precedent-Changing Decisions (US)

The National Labor Relations Board issued a slew of precedent-changing decisions this month, as well as significant changes to its rules and regulations. These new rules and decisions will change labor law in several key ways for both union and non-union employers, including during union elections, during internal investigations, when employees seek to use work … Continue Reading

NLRB’s LA Specialty Produce Decision Provides More Clarity on Employee Handbook Rule Standards (US)

On October 10, 2019, the National Labor Relations Board’s (“NLRB” or “Board”) decision in LA Specialty Produce Company provided some employer-friendly clarification of its standard for assessing the lawfulness of employee handbook provisions under the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”), and in doing so, categorized two specific types of policies as generally lawful.  In this … Continue Reading

Employers Can Expect a Trio of Joint Employer Rules in December 2019 (US)

In recent years, there has been increasing attention to the standard applied by regulators when determining when two unrelated business entities share sufficient control over a group of employees such that they may be considered “joint employers.” On November 20, 2019, the federal government released its Unified Agenda of Federal Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions – … Continue Reading

US District Courts Start Applying Kisor v. Wilkie; Is Auer Deference Now a “Paper Tiger”?

Our colleague Brent Owen at the FrESH Law Blog (which covers perspectives on Environmental, Safety, and Health law) recently provided an update to his prior post addressing the US Supreme Court’s then-pending decision in Kisor v. Wilkie.  In that case, decided in late June 2019, the Court addressed the Auer standard of deference that is applied by courts to administrative agencies’ interpretations … Continue Reading

Summer Vacation Is Definitely Over At The NLRB (US)

Between August 29 and September 10, the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB” or “Board”) issued four decisions that resolve important issues that have been the subject of long-running disputes.  It also issued an invitation to submit briefs in a case that provides an opportunity for the current Board majority members to revise the standard for … Continue Reading

NLRB Issues First Decision Addressing Mandatory Arbitration Agreements Since Epic Systems (US)

If you’ve been following our blog, you already know that the topic of employer-mandated arbitration agreements has been a hot issue in recent years for government agencies and in the state and federal courts.  Most notably, in May of last year, the United States Supreme Court issued its highly-anticipated decision in Epic Systems v. Lewis, … Continue Reading

National Labor Relations Board Limits Another Union Tactic (US)

On June 14, 2019, the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) issued another favorable decision for employers who might find themselves facing union organizing activities or other types of union solicitation.  This latest decision will make it significantly more difficult for unions to solicit employees, strategize with supporters, or engage in similar activities on an employer’s … Continue Reading

NLRB Announces New Rulemaking Priorities (US)

As a part of the Unified Agenda of Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions (“Unified Agenda”) issued Wednesday, May 22, 2019, the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) announced its regulatory road map, indicating three areas of the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”) under which the agency intends to develop new or modified rules: access to an employer’s … Continue Reading

NLRB Signals It May Claw Back Scabby The Rat (US)

One of labor unions’ key tactics relies prominently on balloon animals. Since the late 1980s, unions have used large inflatable animals – such as the infamous Scabby the Rat – to pressure employers and advertise labor disputes without running afoul of certain legal obligations. As we recently discussed on this blog, however, one recent court … Continue Reading
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