NLRB Final Rule Requires Employers to Post Notice of Employee Rights
On August 25, 2011, the National Labor Relations Board (the “NLRB”) issued a final rule requiring virtually all private-sector employers to post a notice of employee rights under the National Labor Relations Act (the “NLRA”). The NLRA guarantees the right of employees to organize and bargain collectively with their employers, and to engage in other protected concerted activity or to refrain from engaging in any of the above activity. The NLRB believes that many employees are unaware of their rights under the NLRA and that this notice requirement will increase knowledge of the statute among employees, better enable the exercise of rights under the statute, and promote compliance by employers and unions. The posting requirement is scheduled to go into effect on November 14, 2011.
Employers Required to Post Notice. Most private sector employers subject to the NLRA are required to post the notice because the NLRA applies to both union and non-union workplaces. Employers with annual gross revenues over $500,000 and employers with $50,000 or more in annual gross revenues from interstate sales or purchases of goods must post the notice. Employers required to post the notice includes labor unions but excludes agricultural, railroad, and airline employers and the U.S. Postal Service.
Form and Content of Notice. The notice must be at least 11 inches by 17 inches in size. The size requirement may be satisfied through the use of one poster or by binding together two smaller posters. The notice must state 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 refrain from any of these activities. It also provides information about contacting the NLRB and filing a charge of an unfair labor practice. The notice must be posted in English, but translated notices must also be posted if the employer’s workforce contains at least 20% of employees who are not proficient in English and speak another language.
Location of Notice. The notice must be posted and maintained in conspicuous places, including all places where notices to employees are customarily posted. In addition, employers must also post the notice on an internet or intranet site if personnel rules and policies are consistently posted there. Employers, however, will not be required to distribute the notice via email, voice mail, text messaging or related electronic communications even if they customarily communicate with their employees by those means.
Availability of Notice. The notice, including translated versions, will be available free of charge at NLRB regional offices on or before November 1, 2011 and will be available for download in black and white or color from the NLRB’s website (www.nlrb.gov). Employers may also purchase copies of the notice from commercial suppliers of workplace posters.
Consequences of Failing to Post Notice. Failure to post the notice will be treated as an unfair labor practice under the NLRA. If an employer fails to post the notice, the NLRB may extend the six-month statute of limitations for filing a charge involving other unfair labor practice allegations against the employer. If the employer knowingly and willfully fails to post the notice, the failure may be considered evidence of unlawful motive in an unfair labor practice case involving other alleged violations of the NLRA.
What Does it Mean for Employers? Many labor and employment attorneys believe this notice posting requirement is a harbinger of even more aggressive efforts by the NLRB to advance union interests, which may result in increased union activity. In an effort to prepare for this potential increased union activism, we recommend the following: (1) review and update your policy manuals regarding solicitation, use of technology, social media, and internal grievance procedures and (2) train your supervisors and managers to identify and properly address union activity in the workplace.
If you would like to further discuss how this regulation affects you or your/your client’s business, please contact one of the members of our Labor and Employment Practice Group:
Seth Briskin at (216) 831-0042, ext. 141 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org,
Lester Armstrong at (216) 831-0042, ext. 161 or by e-mail at email@example.com, or
Steve Dlott at (216) 831-0042, ext. 137 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.