On May 1st the NLRB issued, through its Office of Public Affairs, notice that it was inviting briefs on employees use of electronic communication systems, i.e., e-mail, in light of the recent decision by the Administrative Law Judge in Purple Communications, Inc. in which the ALJ dismissed allegations that the employer violated the NLRA by prohibiting use of its electronic equipment and e-mail systems for activity unrelated to the employer’s business purposes.  As noted in the invitation for briefs, the General Counsel, as well as the Communication Workers of America, are asking the Board to overrule Register Guard and adopt a new rule that employees who are permitted to use their employer’s e-mail for work purposes also have the right to use it for Section 7 activity, subject only to the need to maintain production and discipline.

This is hardly an unforeseen event and one that everyone in the labor community has been waiting to erupt.  There is little doubt that the Board will over-rule Register Guard, at least in part, and provide employees additional access to such communication processes.