While the NLRB Posting Rule, which is scheduled to become effective April 30, 2012, has rightly received much attention from concerned employers and employer advocacy groups, it isn’t the only thing non-union businesses should be concerned about in the coming weeks.
Last Friday, March 23, 2012, an NLRB spokesperson confirmed that the NLRB intends to also launch a website in April that will provide information to non-union workers about their rights under the National Labor Relations Act that includes information far beyond their rights with respect to forming a union. According to the spokesperson, the website will focus on educating workers about their rights to engage in protected concerted activity and will include specific examples based on real life cases. We would expect these examples to include that the NLRA gives employees the right to discuss their wage rates with one another, and that they have the right to express their views about employer policies and practices even in terms that the employer may consider to be disloyal or insubordinate.
This is an area of the law that has received relatively little national attention for decades. We suspect that many employers make disciplinary and termination decisions without properly assessing whether the employee’s rule violation might actually be deemed by the NLRB to be protected concerted activity. Employers would be well-advised to educate themselves in this area before the NLRB educates their workforces.