HR Minute

Showing 6 posts in National Labor Relations Board.

If Being "Proactive" is a Management Objective, This is a Good Year

At the beginning of the calendar year, many in-house counsel and human resources professionals embark on taking steps to meet their annual management objectives. If history is any guide, many human resources professionals and in-house counsel have as one of their objectives taking “proactive” steps to minimize risk to their organizations. For those who have such objectives, the changes in the legal landscape provide fertile opportunities under (1) wage and hour laws; (2) background screening; and (3) policies and procedures, including related to equal employment laws.

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NLRB Strikes Whole Foods Market's Policies Prohibiting Employees' Workplace Audio/Video Recordings

Posted In National Labor Relations Board

In late 2014, I wrote about “holiday gifts” the National Labor Relations Board delivered to labor unions. The first was the “ambush” election rules that reduced the time between petition and election by about half. The second was the Board’s decision giving employees access to Company e-mail systems for union organizing purposes.

In late 2015, the Board did it again. On Christmas Eve, the Board held that Whole Foods Market’s employee handbook policies prohibiting employees’ audio and video recordings in the workplace (including during company meetings) violated the National Labor Relations Act. Even though the stated purpose of the rules was to encourage free expression during employee meetings, the Board found that employees would reasonably construe the policies as restraints on their rights under the Act. There is little doubt that unions will rely on this decision to pressure employers and help win elections, but it is important to note that this decision affects virtually all workplaces–not only those with unions.

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NLRB: It’s Okay to Fire Union Employees for Stealing (Sometimes)

Posted In National Labor Relations Board

The National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) Division of Advice determined recently that a wholesale beverage distributor had the right to fire a Teamsters-represented truck driver for falsifying time records or “stealing time.” The employee was fired because he reported that he was working when, in fact, he had gone home. 

Firing employees for falsifying time records isn’t usually a problem. But here, the company proved the wrongdoing by having a private investigator follow the employee, and the investigator’s efforts were aided by a GPS device the company installed on the employee’s truck. That was the problem. The Teamsters claimed the company acted unlawfully because it did not bargain with the Union before installing and using the GPS. 

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NLRB’s New Joint Employer Test Rewrites the Rules for Many Workplaces

Posted In National Labor Relations Board

The National Labor Relations Board’s (the “Board”) recent decision involving Browning-Ferris Industries of California (“BFI”), changed the standard under which the Board will find that two or more entities are joint employers of a single workforce. 

The Board’s decision claims it is merely returning the joint employment analysis to the traditional common law test for joint employment – but in order to achieve that “return,” the Board had to overrule about 35 years of its own precedent and to fundamentally alter the common sense understanding of what it means to have the “right to control” workers.

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Your Employee Handbook and the National Labor Relations Board

Posted In National Labor Relations Board

Your Employee Handbook and the National Labor Relations BoardMany HR Professionals don’t worry about the NLRB. And why should they? Their employees don’t have a union, no union has ever tried to organize their workforce, and unions haven’t been active in their region or business sector. Actually, those managers probably don’t need to worry too much­­--until they do.

All it takes is one disgruntled employee stumbling upon the NLRB’s web site to get the ball rolling. Say an employee is fired for insubordination. Then, somehow, the former employee finds his or her way to the NLRB. He or she files an unfair labor practice charge claiming he or she was unlawfully discharged for engaging in protected concerted activity.

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Happy Holidays from The National Labor Relations Board

Posted In National Labor Relations Board

giftThe National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) recently delivered two huge gifts to labor unions. First, in a case involving a sign-language interpretation company, the Board held that employers that allow employee access to e-mail systems for work-related purposes, generally must also allow access during non-working time for union organizing purposes. Second, the Board issued its long-expected final regulation implementing its “ambush” election rules designed to speed up the union election process and, as a consequence, restrict employers’ ability to communicate with employees about union representation.

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