NLRB Decision Gives Employers More Freedom to Address Offensive and Abusive Conduct

On July 21, 2020, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB or the Board) issued a long-awaited decision giving employers more freedom to discipline employees who engage in abusive, obscene or profane conduct in connection with their work. In General Motors, LLC, 369 NLRB No. 127 (2020), the NLRB rejected three context-specific rules formerly used to assess whether an employee’s inappropriate conduct is protected by Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA or the Act). Instead, the NLRB will now assess that conduct under the Wright Line standard, which is used to evaluate all other claims of discriminatory conduct under the Act.

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D.C. Court Slows the NLRB’s Departure from “Quickie Election” Rules; NLRB Implements New Rules Unaffected by Order

On May 30, 2020, a U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. issued an eleventh-hour decision preventing the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) from implementing several substantive portions of the NLRB’s new union election rules. Promulgated via rulemaking in December 2019, the NLRB planned to implement the new rules on May 31, 2020 after postponing the original enactment by over a month. Nevertheless, the NLRB has announced that it will implement the portions of new rules deemed procedural by the Court.

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COVID-19 Issues for Unionized Employers

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused unprecedented disruption for U.S. businesses of every size and in every industry. As state and local governments have ordered companies to cease nonessential operations and directed consumers to quarantine, isolate or otherwise “shelter in place,” the very survival of many of today’s businesses depends on their abilities to develop new operational and business strategies for addressing changing consumer needs, altered distribution channels and a depressed economic market.

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