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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

NLRB General Counsel Advice Memorandum Is “Uber” Favorable For Gig Economy Companies Utilizing Independent Contractors (US)

In a recently-released Advice Memorandum dated April 16, 2019, the National Labor Relations Board’s (“NLRB”) Office of the General Counsel (“GC”) determined that drivers utilizing Uber Technologies’ smartphone application-based rideshare platform are independent contractors, not employees, under the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”).  In arriving at this conclusion, the GC utilized the independent contractor test … Continue Reading

M&A News: Recent Case Provides Important Lessons For Buyers Acquiring Unionized Businesses (US)

When organizations are seeking to expand their operations, they often will find interesting targets who have union-represented employees. A union’s presence will create additional compliance obligations but contrary to common misconceptions, union-related obligations are not necessarily unmanageable.… Continue Reading

New Handbook Guidance Shows How the NLRB Views Common Employment Policies for Union and Non-Union Employers (US)

The National Labor Relations Board has once again clarified whether certain types of employee handbook policies will violate federal labor law. Employers should take note of these two new guidance memoranda, as they can help employers maximize the protection they afford to their confidential information, brands, equipment, and other important matters.… Continue Reading

“Scabby the Rat” Deflated When The Seventh Circuit Moves His Cheese (US)

Most business owners would shudder at the thought of rats being on their premises, but one rat is particularly unwelcome to employers – “Scabby the Rat.”  This red-eyed, rather vicious looking rat-shaped balloon (sometimes as tall as 25 feet) has become a symbol used by labor unions across the country to publicize that they have … Continue Reading

Former NLRB Chairman Pearce Withdraws From Consideration for Open Board Seat (US)

Former National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB” or “Board”) two-term Chairman and Member Mark Gaston Pearce announced on February 6, 2019 that he would not seek renomination to the Board.  Mr. Pearce – a former union-side lawyer who was appointed by President Obama – served until the end of his second term on August 27, 2018.  … Continue Reading

NLRB Reinstates Prior Test Determining Whether Workers Are Independent Contractors (US)

On January 25, 2019, the National Labor Relations Board returned in yet another area to a standard that existed before the “Obama Board.” In SuperShuttle DFW, Inc., the Board vacated the test it had adopted five years ago to determine whether a worker is an independent contractor or an employee for the purposes of the … Continue Reading

NLRB Issues Important Decision Narrowing What Constitutes “Protected Concerted Activity” (US)

Majority Rules That Skycap’s Complaint About Bad Tipping Was Not Protected Concerted Activity The National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB” or “Board”) kicked off 2019 with an important decision that significantly narrowed the standard for when an individual employee’s conduct will be found to be “protected concerted activity” under the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA” or … Continue Reading
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