On August 2, 2023, the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB” or “Board”) issued its anticipated ruling in Stericycle, Inc., reversing the Trump-era Boeing decision that famously implemented a three-category test for balancing whether workplace rules unlawfully interfered with employees’ rights to engage in “protected concerted activity” under Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA” or the “Act”).Continue Reading National Labor Relations Board Overrules Boeing With Strict Scrutiny of Handbook Rules
On August 29, 2022, the NLRB issued its decision in Tesla, Inc., overruling precedent that allowed employers to enforce facially-neutral dress codes to prohibit wearing non-conforming attire, including union insignia and union logos. Now, employers must allow employees to wear union attire absent a showing of “special circumstances.”
Continue Reading NLRB Mandates National Dress Code
It’s become increasingly common for businesses to subcontract workers to perform jobs at a location that is shared with the business or other neutral third parties. When picketing at common job sites shared by the employees of the contractor/employer and the neutral third party, the right of subcontracted employees to engage in collective action at a shared job site must be reconciled with the prohibition on secondary picketing against neutral third parties under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). In Service Employees International Union Local 87 v. NLRB (Service Employees International), the Ninth Circuit held that the Board erred in concluding that picketing constituted unlawful secondary picketing where the picketing activity at a shared job site clearly identified the primary employer as the target of the picketing and did not direct coercive activity against neutral third parties.
Continue Reading Ninth Circuit Construes Secondary Picketing in Context of Shared Job Site
The Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO Act) (H.R. 842) is a sweeping effort to amend longstanding labor laws to facilitate union and employee organizing efforts. The union-friendly legislation would make the most significant modifications to the National Labor Relations Act since the Taft-Hartley Act restricted union power in 1947. The proposed changes would give workers and unions more power in disputes at work, add monetary penalties for companies that retaliate against workers who organize and expand collective bargaining rights for many workers. The PRO Act would also weaken “right-to-work” laws in more than half of the states that give employees the right to choose not to join or pay dues to unions.
These efforts to tip the balance in favor of union organizing are not new. We have seen many of these proposed changes show up in past legislative efforts. Similar changes were part of the Employee Free Choice Act introduced before the election of, and supported by, President Obama. The PRO Act passed the Democratic controlled House last year but was never taken up by the then GOP majority Senate. This year the Democrats narrowly control the Senate, but not by enough votes to overcome a filibuster, which ordinarily means that the measure is likely dead again.
Below is a summary of a several provisions of the PRO Act:Continue Reading The PRO Act – A Wish List For Revival of Unions
- Media policies which prohibit employees from communicating with the media must be narrowly tailored to protect legitimate business interests such as protecting confidential information and controlling statements made on behalf of the employer; and
- Media policies that specifically exclude communications by employees that are not made on behalf of the employer and that
On March 16, 2020, the Board issued its decision in Baylor University Medical Center and Dora S. Camacho reversing the 2018 ALJ decision and holding that Confidentiality and No Participation in Third-Party Claim provisions in a voluntary severance agreement are lawful. The decision overrules Clark Distribution System, Shamrock Foods Co., and Metro Networks to the extent the holdings extend beyond their fact patterns involving employees who were unlawfully dismissed for exercising their rights under the National Labor Relations Act (Act).
Continue Reading Confidentiality and No-Participation Provisions in Voluntary Severance Agreements Lawful
Earlier this month the United States Supreme Court decided to hear three cases which will resolve the split between various Courts of Appeals (discussed in our prior post here) as to whether individual arbitration agreements barring class arbitration actions in employment-related matters are enforceable. While the Court held in 2011 that the Federal Arbitration Act would allow companies to avoid consumer class actions by insisting upon individual arbitrations in their contracts, AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion, workers have contended that employment contracts are different. They have successfully argued that the National Labor Relations Act prohibits class waivers since it would impinge upon worker’s rights to engage in “concerted activities”. The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals accepted such an argument in Epic Systems Corp. v. Lewis (discussed in our prior post here), and the Ninth Circuit accepted such an argument in Ernst and Young v. Morris. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the same argument in National Labor Relations Board v. Murphy Oil U.S.A.
Continue Reading Mandatory Employee Arbitration Split To Be Heard By Supreme Court
On September 2, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals issued its decision in Patterson v. Raymour’s Furniture Co., the most recent case in what has become an all-out war between employers and the NLRB over the use of class-waiver provisions in arbitration agreements. The decision, consistent with prior Second Circuit precedent enforcing such waivers,…
In an unpublished decision, which issued on May 3, 2016, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia made it clear that there was a “fundamental and long-running disagreement” between the Court and the Board as to the appropriate approach by which to determine whether an employer had violated Section 8(a)(5)…
On April 23, in Caterpillar Inc. v. NLRB, the Board found that the employer had violated Section 8(a)(1) and (5) of the Act by refusing a non-employee union representative access to the facility to conduct a health and safety inspection after a fatal accident. In access case situations, the Board has historically reviewed the…