As most employers are now aware, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB, or the “Board”) in recent years has adopted more restrictive, non-employer-friendly approaches to what it will permit in workplace policies. These rules have been applied to union employers and just as vigorously to unorganized employers. Management labor lawyers have been placing their clients on guard to prevent them from running afoul of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). Now that a new administration is in charge, employers are left wondering (and hoping) whether there will be a shift in this trend.
The answer would appear to be YES.
Cellco Partnership d/b/s Verizon Wireless Inc., is a recent example of the NLRB’s heavy-handed approach in reviewing employers’ policies in employee handbooks. The Board’s current standard deems a handbook provision unlawful if employees “would reasonably construe” the policies as prohibiting concerted activity protected under Section 7 of the NLRA, and the Board uses no common sense in applying this standard. Consistent with this approach, the NLRB ruled, over a well-reasoned dissent, in Verizon Wireless Inc. that the employer-maintained handbook rules at issue unduly restricted employee communications and behavior and hence were unlawful. Continue Reading