Employment: Another NLRA Notice to Post
If you thought the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) couldn't tell you what to do because you didn't have any union employees, you better think again. They can, and they have.
Almost all private sector employees have rights under the National Labor Relations Act. They have the right to organize, form, join or assist a union, to bargain collectively to improve wages and working conditions, to discuss terms and conditions of employment with fellow employees, to take action with those fellow employees to improve working conditions and to strike and picket. Workers can also choose to refrain from any of these activities. The NLRB, however, did not believe that most workers were aware of these rights.
So, employers will now be required to post a notice of these rights. The notice includes examples of unlawful employer conduct, called unfair labor practices. These include prohibiting employees from using non-work time to solicit for or distribute materials on behalf of a union in non work areas such as parking lots or break rooms; interrogation about union activities, discipline based on union activity or support; and threats to close a workplace over a decision to unionize.
Nearly all private-sector employers are subject to the NLRB rule requiring the posting of a notice, except agricultural, railroad and airline employers and the United States Postal Service. Very small employers who do less than $50,000 worth of business a year using goods or services in interstate commerce are also exempt.
The notice must be posted in a location where the employer typically posts other workplace notices. In addition, if an employer customarily posts notices of personnel rules or policies to employees on an internet or intranet site, the NLRB notice must be posted on that site. Finally, if at least 20% of employees are not fluent in English, the notice must be posed in another language.
The NLRB will provide the translation. The NLRB will treat failure to post the notice as an unfair labor practice. It acknowledges, however, that most employers who fail to post the notice are unaware of the rule and will comply when requested by an NLRB agent.
The notice, which is 11 by 17 inches, must be in place by November 14. You can download the notice from www.nlrb.gov/poster.
In late August, the Employee Workplace Freedom Act, which would repeal the NLRB notice posting rule, was introduced in the US House of Representatives. In addition, the National Federation of Independent Business has filed a suit to end the NLRB posting requirement. The suit argues that the NLRB lacks the authority to require the posters. We'll keep you advised of the status of these challenges. In the meantime, post the notice.
By Rebecca M. Fowler, firstname.lastname@example.org