NLRB Announces Proposed Rule Requiring Posting of Notice on Employee Rights

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On December 21, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) did something it rarely does: it indicated its intent to change labor law requirements through the regulatory process, rather than its normal process of case-by-case adjudication.

See full text of NLRB’s proposed rule on employee rights notice posting, including introductory commentary. NOTE: This is just a proposed rule at this time, with a sixty-day comment period now open.

NLRB Press Release Summary of Proposed Notice-Posting Rule

The NLRB press release states:

The rule would require employers to notify employees of their rights under the National Labor Relations Act.

[T]he Board “believes that many employees protected by the NLRA are unaware of their rights under the statute. The intended effects of this action are to increase knowledge of the NLRA among employees, to better enable the exercise of rights under the statute, and to promote statutory compliance by employers and unions.”

Private-sector employers (including labor organizations) whose workplaces fall under the NLRA would be required to post the employee rights notice where other workplace notices are typically posted. If an employer communicates with employees primarily by email or other electronic means, the notice would be posted electronically as well. The notice would be available from the agency’s regional offices and could also be downloaded from the NLRB website.

The proposed notice is similar to one recently finalized by the U.S. Department of Labor for federal contractors. It states that employees have the right to act together to improve wages and working conditions, to form, join and assist a union, to bargain collectively with their employer, and to choose not to do any of these activities. It provides examples of unlawful employer and union conduct and instructs employees how to contact the NLRB with questions or complaints.

Key Elements of NLRB’s Proposed Employee Rights Notice-Posting Rule

  • All employers subject to National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) must post notice.
  • Employers must post the required notice of employee rights conspicuously, including all places where notices to employees are customarily posted.
  • Electronic posting by email or on internet or intranet is also required if employer customarily communicates with employee by such means.
  • Translated version may be required if significant portion of workforce is not proficient in English.
  • The NLRB will enforce the new rule by processing alleged failure to post the employee rights notice as an unfair labor practice charge.
  • In addition to remedy of order requiring posting along with a remedial notice, NLRB may enforce rule by tolling statute of limitations for filing an unfair labor practice charge and treating willful failure to post as evidence of unlawful motive in case in which motive is at issue.

Full Text of Proposed Notice

The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) guarantees the right of employees to organize and bargain collectively with their employers, and to engage in other protected concerted activity. Employees covered by the NLRA are protected from certain types of employer and union misconduct. This Notice gives you general information about your rights, and about the obligations of employers and unions under the NLRA. Contact the
National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), the Federal agency that investigates and resolves complaints under the NLRA, using the contact information supplied below, if you have any questions about specific rights that may apply in your particular workplace.

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.

Under the NLRA, it is illegal for your employer to:

  • Prohibit you from soliciting for a union during non-work time, such as before or after work or during break times; or from distributing union literature during non-work time, in non-work areas, such as parking
    lots or break rooms.
  • Question you about your union support or activities in a manner that discourages you from engaging in that activity.
  • Fire, demote, or transfer you, or reduce your hours or change your shift, or otherwise take adverse action against you, or threaten to take any of these actions, because you join or support a union, or because you engage in concerted activity for mutual aid and protection, or because you choose not to engage in any such activity.
  • Threaten to close your workplace if workers choose a union to represent them.
  • Promise or grant promotions, pay raises, or other benefits to discourage or encourage union support.
  • Prohibit you from wearing union hats, buttons, t-shirts, and pins in the workplace except under special circumstances.
  • Spy on or videotape peaceful union activities and gatherings or pretend to do so.

Under the NLRA, it is illegal for a union or for the union that represents you in bargaining with your employer to:

  • Threaten you that you will lose your job unless you support the union.
  • Refuse to process a grievance because you have criticized union officials or because you are not a member of the union.
  • Use or maintain discriminatory standards or procedures in making job referrals from a hiring hall.
  • Cause or attempt to cause an employer to discriminate against you because of your union-related activity.
  • Take other adverse action against you based on whether you have joined or support the union.

If you and your co-workers select a union to act as your collective bargaining representative, your employer and the union are required to bargain in good faith in a genuine effort to reach a written, binding agreement setting your terms and conditions of employment. The union is required to fairly represent you in bargaining and enforcing the agreement.

Illegal conduct will not be permitted. If you believe your rights or the rights of others have been violated, you should contact the NLRB promptly to protect your rights, generally within six months of the unlawful activity. You may inquire about possible violations without your employer or anyone else being informed of the inquiry. Charges may be filed by any person and need not be filed by the employee directly affected by the
violation. The NLRB may order an employer to rehire a worker fired in violation of the law and to pay lost wages and benefits, and may order an employer or union to cease violating the law. Employees should seek assistance from the nearest regional NLRB office, which can be found on the Agency’s website: www.nlrb.gov. You can also contact the NLRB by calling toll-free:1-866-667-NLRB (6572) or (TTY) 1-866-315-NLRB (1-866-315-6572) for hearing impaired.

The National Labor Relations Act covers most private-sector employers.Excluded from coverage under the NLRA are public-sector employees, agricultural and domestic workers, independent contractors, workers employed by a parent or spouse, employees of air and rail carriers covered by the Railway Labor Act, and supervisors (although supervisors that have been discriminated against for refusing to violate the
NLRA may be covered).

This is an official Government Notice and must not be defaced by anyone.

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