NLRB Rules That Employees Have Presumptive Right to Use Company Email for Union Organizing

Eric Paltell
Eric Paltell
12/12/2014
In a much anticipated decision that came as no surprise, on December 11, 2014, the NLRB ruled that employers generally must allow employees to  use the company's email system to organize a union, solicit complaints,  criticize managers, and otherwise discuss terms and conditions of employment.  Purple Communications, Inc.  361 NLRB No. 126 (2014).  Although the ruling has been expected for some time, many employers will need to review and likely...
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NLRB Defers Ruling on Legality of Employer Email Policies

Eric Paltell
Eric Paltell
09/30/2014
For the past six months, legal prognosticators (myself included) have told readers that when the NLRB issues a ruling in the Purple Communications case, we'd have a new standard for what restrictions, if any, employers may place on employee use of company email systems.  On September 24, 2014, the Board issued its ruling.  And the answer is ..... "check back with us later (probably after the November election)." Purple Communications provides sign...
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The Facebook Frenzy Continues... "Liking" A Post Is Now Protected Activity Thanks To The NLRB

Randi Klein Hyatt
Randi Klein Hyatt
09/04/2014
Once again, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is taking a stance against employers who use social media activity as a basis for employment decisions.  While the list of NLRB cases and General Counsel Memorandum on the subject of social media and protected concerted activity continues to grow, the latest decision really goes to an extreme.  In Triple Play Sports Bar & Grille, 361 NLRB No. 31 (2014), the NLRB ruled that an employee's...
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Informal Rule Prohibiting Discipline Discussions Held To Be Unfair Labor Practice

Randi Klein Hyatt
Randi Klein Hyatt
08/20/2014
On August 14th, the National Labor Relations Board reversed an Administrative Law Judge’s decision dismissing an unfair labor practice against Philips Electronics. The NLRB’s three member panel ruled that Philips’ unwritten rule prohibiting employees from discussing discipline was an impermissible restraint on employee speech. Philips Electronics North America Corporation and Lee Craft, Case 26-CA-085613 (August 14, 2014). The Philips matter...
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Wisconsin Supreme Court Upholds Law Limiting Public Sector Bargaining

Garrett Wozniak
Garrett Wozniak
08/07/2014
The Wisconsin Supreme Court has upheld, in its entirety, the 2011 Wisconsin statute that curtailed collective bargaining rights for public sector employees. Madison Teachers, Inc. v. Walker, No. 2012AP2067 (July 31, 2014). In 2011, in a move that attracted significant fanfare and the chagrin of union advocates, the Wisconsin legislature passed Act 10, which prohibited public sector employees from collectively bargaining on issues other than wages,...
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Mercedes Denied the Luxury of Overly Broad No Solicitation Rule

Eric Paltell
Eric Paltell
07/28/2014
On July 24, 2014, a National Labor Relations Board ("NLRB")  Administrative Law Judge  ruled that Mercedes-Benz violated the National Labor Relations Act ("NLRA") by prohibiting distribution of literature in "team centers" inside its Vance, Alabama plant.  Mercedes-Benz U.S. Int'l, Inc., No. 10-CA-112406.  The ALJ held that because the "team centers" were used for both work purposes and as employee break and meal rooms, the car maker could not...
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Supreme Court Limits Scope of Compulsory Membership Dues for Government Unions

Frank Kollman
Frank Kollman
07/01/2014
The Supreme Court has ruled that a mother receiving state financial assistance to care for her disabled child does not have to pay union dues. Can you believe that there were four justices who disagreed with that ruling, and the Secretary of Labor has already criticized the decision? Certainly there has to be more to the story. The issue the Court was asked to decide was the result of increased union power over governmental officials it helps to...
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Supreme Court Issues Unanimous Decision, "Canning" Obama's Recess NLRB Appointments

Randi Klein Hyatt
Randi Klein Hyatt
06/27/2014
As part of its end of term productivity, on Thursday, June 26, 2014, the Supreme Court issued its much anticipated decision in NLRB v. Noel Canning,  regarding President Obama’s authority to grant recess appointments to fill vacant Board positions and avoid the Senate confirmation process of those Board members. The Noel Canning decision specifically involved President Obama’s recess appointments of Sharon Block, Terence Flynn, and Richard...
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Here's Your [Expletive] Latte!

Randi Klein Hyatt
Randi Klein Hyatt
06/18/2014
One would think that cursing in front of customers would be sufficient grounds for termination - even at a progressive enterprise like Starbucks. However, if those outbursts come from a union supporter while performing union activity, you should think again. The National Labor Relations Board recently issued its decision in Starbucks Corporation d/b/a Starbucks Coffee Company and Local 660, Industrial Workers of the World, case number 02-CA-037548....
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NLRB Orders Car Dealer to Reinstate Foul-Mouthed Salesman

Eric Paltell
Eric Paltell
05/30/2014
On May 28, 2014, the National Labor Relations Board  ("NLRB") ruled that an Arizona car dealership violated the National Labor Relations Act  ("NLRA")  by firing a salesman who complained about the dealership's compensation plan.  Plaza Auto Ctr. Inc.., 360 NLRB No. 117 (2014).  The dealership argued that the salesman lost the protection of the law when he launched into a profanity-laced tirade against the owner. In this case, salesman Nick...
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