As the 2020 general election approaches with many employees working remotely and participating on social media platforms, employers can anticipate that employees will engage in political speech and activity in the workplace. Political speech includes a wide spectrum of activities beyond communicating by written or spoken words on a political topic. Other forms of expression that constitute political speech include wearing clothing or other accoutrements endorsing or opposing a person, party or issue; engaging in symbolic speech such as participating in demonstrations; contributing to campaigns; handing out campaign literature; and at least one court has held that “liking” a post on Facebook is political speech. This election year, acrimonious partisan politics, a global pandemic, and economic and social issues that have impacted nearly every worker have generated strong opinions about candidates and issues. Opinions expressed in this highly politicized atmosphere though, can undermine worker productivity or even result in claims of harassment, discrimination, retaliation or a hostile work environment.

As a result, employers face the complicated legal and practical issue of lawfully regulating speech in the workplace to ensure that the workforce remains productive and respectful of the rights and differences of co-workers. Maintaining a productive and harmonious workforce requires that employers understand the limits on their right to regulate or impose rules that limit political speech and expression in the workplace and enforce the rules in a lawful manner. The nature of the lawful restrictions that an employer can impose depends on the designation of the employer as either a public-sector or private-sector employer. While this post will discuss restrictions on both types of employers, the main focus is on the right of private-sector employers to limit political activity in the workplace.
Continue Reading Understanding Employers’ Right to Impose Limits on Political Activities in the Workplace

Imagine: in a region where hiring and retaining competent employees is becoming increasingly difficult, a multi-national company announces it will build a plant and employ more than 10,000 workers over the next few years. The pressure to get and keep your best employee has just increased, and the ripple effect touches every aspect of this competitive employment situation. Seeking to maintain your competitive position at a time when employees are being wooed to leave, you may want to explore using noncompetition and nonsolicitation agreements, but are they enforceable? What happens when a well-qualified employee applies for an open position, but informs you that she signed a noncompetition, nondisclosure agreement with her current employer? How will that impact your hiring decision?

Continue Reading Is Your Workforce Secure?

In a prior post, we discussed the Department of Labor’s issuance of a new final rule that expanded disclosure requirements for companies that hire union avoidance consultants.  The Department’s new “persuader” rule required employers to report the hiring of such consultants whenever these third parties engaged in indirect persuader activities (e.g., planning employee meetings,

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Fall Labor and Employment Seminar

Seminar
10.15.14  Sheraton Westport Chalet
St. Louis, MO

Please join us for our annual labor and employment law update. This comprehensive half-day seminar will focus on current issues in labor and employment law.
Topics

  • What’s New in Employment Legislation and Case Law
  • FMLA/ADA Advice You Will Use: An

On January 25, 2013, the D.C. Circuit Court invalidated President Obama’s three appointments to the National Labor Relations Board.   The decision in Canning v. NLRB not only calls into question the “recess appointment” power of the President, but could paralyze the NLRB by putting hundreds of decisions in jeopardy.

Presidents have made so-called recess appointments

Recently, the NLRB has issued a number of decisions addressing social media in the workplace as it pertains to employers.  Last month, however, an NLRB judge rendered a decision addressing a Union’s potential liability and responsibilities for social media activities on its own Facebook page.  Interestingly, the judge addressed the posts and comments of the

On September 28, 2012, the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) issued its decision in Karl Knauz Motors, Inc., 358 NLRB No. 164 (2012).  The NLRB affirmed an Administrative Law Judge’s findings that a car dealership did not violate the National Labor Relations Act (“Act”) after it terminated a salesperson for his posts on Facebook.   

In a 2-1 decision in Sodexo America LLC, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) held recently that the University of Southern California hospital violated Section 8(a)(1) of the National Labor Relations Act by maintaining and enforcing a rule that limited off-duty employee access to the workplace, except for specific purposes.

The policy at issue