New NLRB Leader Identifies Possible Changes

Employers who have watched the National Labor Relations Board — the nation’s primary enforcer of labor law — over the years anticipate that it will reshuffle its priorities soon after the White House changes parties. The agency swore in Jennifer Abruzzo as its new general counsel on July 22, 2021; and three weeks later, Abruzzo released an internal memorandum that is a blueprint for changes to the law she would like to see the agency implement.

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NLRB General Counsel Rescinds Trump-era Memos, Signaling Shift Toward New Policy Objectives

Signaling the beginning of what likely will be a major policy shift, Peter Ohr, acting General Counsel of the National Labor Relations Board, revoked 12 administrative guidance memoranda issued by his predecessor, Peter Robb. Both union and nonunion employers should keep a close eye on further action by Ohr.

For the full alert, visit the Faegre Drinker website.

NLRB Expands Employer Options for Social Media and Non-Disparagement Rules

With the COVID-19 emergency impacting employers’ operations and the way employees work, more and more employees may start taking to social media to vent their opinions about work and current events (sometimes intertwining the two). Employee social media expression can damage an organization’s brand and violate its social media and non-disparagement rules. Discipline for social media expression can run afoul of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), which provides certain protections for employee speech, including social media speech, so that employees often believe that anything goes in this forum. Fortunately for employers, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) recently clarified the types of employee social media activity employers may regulate, giving employers more latitude to discipline employees for social media conduct that violates employer rules and threatens the employer’s reputation.

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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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Political Strike Guidance for Employers: Preparing for ‘Strike for Black Lives’

On July 20, labor organizations across the country are planning a “Strike for Black Lives,” a national walkout in support of “dismantling racism and white supremacy to bring about fundamental changes in our society, economy and workplaces.” When preparing for this and any political strike, employers should develop a response strategy — grounded in NLRB interpretations of employees’ rights to conduct political demonstrations — to limit liability and keep their businesses running.

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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.

For the full alert, visit the Faegre Drinker website.