Monday, March 5, 2012

You May Need Bigger Bulletin Board--yep, here comes another legal posting!

Well, a federal district court upheld (3/2/12) a National Labor Relations Board's (NLRB) rule that requires employers to post notices informing workers of their right to join a union.  Several trade and business groups challenged the NLRB rule including The National Association of Manufacturers and the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation along with the National Federation of Independent Business.  

So, what is this poster?  It informs employees of their rights under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). It must be posted in a conspicuous places, informing them of their NLRA rights, together with Board contact information and information concerning basic enforcement procedures.    The notice state

"Under the NLRA), you have the right to: 

  • Organize a union to negotiate with your employer concerning your wages, hours, and other terms and conditions of employment. 
  • Form, join or assist a union 
  • Bargain collectively through representatives of employees’ own choosing for a contract with your employer setting your wages, benefits, hours, and other working conditions.
  • Discuss your terms and conditions of employment or union organizing with your co-workers or a union.
  • Take action with one or more co-workers to improve your working conditions by, among other means, raising work-related complaints directly with your employer or with a government agency, and seeking help from a union.
  • Strike and picket, depending on the purpose or means of the strike or the picketing.
  • Choose not to do any of these activities, including joining or remaining a member of a union"

The notice also lists several examples of unlawful behavior under the NLRA and instructs employees how to contact the NLRB with questions or complaints.

Employers are also required to post the notice in a foreign language, if 20 percent or more of the employees in the employer’s workforce speak a language other than English.   The NLRB is translating the poster into 26 other languages.  The rule additionally requires that employers who regularly communicate with employees via electronic means, such as a company intranet site, also post the notice electronically, or provide a link to the NLRB site. 

The notice must be posted by April 30, 2012 and it must be an 11/x 17 paper.  The court struck down much of the enforcement in the original rule but it is clear that employers who fail to post the notice could face an individualized determination that failure to post the notice was unlawful. 

Oh, you can get the copies of the poster for free from the NLRB or download it a at Get poster from NLRB

Now, you may wonder if you are an employer required to post this--the answer is probably yes if you are a private employer.  There are several public-sector employees and others who are excluded--including workers employed by a parent or spouse.  Details are at the bottom of the poster. Also, the Board did agree to exempt the US Postal Service for the time being due to the organization's unique rules under the Act. 

Here's a link to read some of the FAQs: NLRB FAQ on poster
Yes, there still could be appeals.... 

And for a little light reading--and for your reference--here is the rule: NLRB rule on poster.

I'll publish some info on protected concerted activity. It can be tricky.