On March 22, 2016, the NLRB’s Office of General Counsel issued NLRB General Counsel Memo 16-01. In its memo, the NLRB announced which cases and issues “are of particular interest and would benefit from centralized consideration.” Here are a few of the issues squarely on the NLBR’s radar:
- “Cases [involving] the application of Purple Communications … .” This case dealt with an employer who denied employees the right to use the employer’s email system during non-working time to communicate about union issues.
- “Cases involving the applicability of Weingarten principles [an employee’s right to representation in interviews or disciplinary meetings] in non-unionized settings as enunciated in IBM Corp. ”
- “Cases involving allegations that ‘English-only’ policies violate Section 8(a)(1)” (which grants employees the right to engage in protected concerted activity). The NLRB believes such policies may have the effect of prohibiting or restricting employees from communicating about terms and conditions of work.
- “Cases involving the question of whether the misclassification of employees as independent contractors violates Section 8(a)(1).” This is a hot-button issue right now for many state and federal agencies.
Unionized and non-unionized employers alike should review their policies to ensure they don’t create a “chilling” effect or discourage employees from exercising their guaranteed rights to protected concerted activity. If you have questions about these protected rights, call your MSEC representative.