The NLRB recently confirmed that it will embark on an education campaign directed at nonunion employees. In particular, the NLRB plans to roll out a new Web site aimed at educating nonunion employees about their rights under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). The NLRB also plans to print and distribute brochures aimed at nonunion employees.
The educational campaign will reportedly focus on informing employees about their right to protected concerted activity under the NLRA. That is, the NLRB has found that “protected concerted activity” may include instances when two or more employees address their employer about pay or when employees discuss work-related issues, such as safety concerns, with each other. Because the NLRA prohibits employers from disciplining or punishing employees for engaging in protected concerted activity, even if those employees are not represented by a union, employers may be at a greater risk for complaints if they violate the rights of employees.
The NLRB’s announcement appears to be in line with its larger educational campaign, which includes a rule that would require most private sector employers to post a notice that informs employees about their rights under the NLRA. (We previously published an update concerning the NLRB’s Notice-Posting Rule in the January 9, 2012 issue of Foley’s Legal News: Employment Law Update.
The NLRB’s recent announcement is a reminder to all employers that they should review their policies and current practices so that they do not become the subject of an unfair labor practice charge. For example, an employer’s policies should specify the avenue and mechanism for employees to raise concerns or complaints about the workplace. Finally, employers also should make certain that supervisors and managers are aware of the company’s policy when it comes to handling employee complaints, including any anti-retaliation provisions in the company’s policy.