Is Your Employee Handbook Compliant With the Recent NLRB General Counsel Memorandum?

On March 18, 2015, the General Counsel of the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) issued Memorandum GC 15-04, offering guidance for drafting employee handbook rules so they won’t be deemed unlawful by the NLRB.

This Memorandum is relevant to nearly all private employers – especially to unrepresented (non-union) employees who comprise a large majority of the nation’s workforce – because the NLRB is aggressively policing employee handbooks and other employer policies which it believes has a “chilling effect” on employee rights under the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”). In fact, the mere maintenance of a work rule – even in the absence of enforcement – may violate the NLRA.

 

The Memorandum is divided into two parts. The first section compares policies found to be unlawful with policies found to be lawful and attempts to explain the reasoning. This analysis includes confidentiality rules; professionalism rules; anti-harassment rules; rules regarding the use of company logos, trademarks or copyrights; and media contact rules.

The second part discusses a recent settlement with Wendy’s International LLC regarding its employee handbook policies, setting forth rules initially found to be unlawful along with Wendy’s modified rules determined to be lawful by the NLRB.

What this means to employers is that many seemingly harmless, reasonable employee handbook policies and provisions may be unlawful because they could be interpreted to have a “chilling effect” on employees’ rights – including non-union employees – to engage in protected concerted activity under the NLRA.

If you have not had your employee handbook reviewed recently – or revised to comply with Memorandum GC 15-04 – please call CBS and allow us to review your employee handbook policies and procedures to ensure compliance with the NLRA as well as all applicable federal and state laws.

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City of Topeka Water Treatment

Sylvia Davis
WPC General Manager
City of Topeka
 

“HR Partners has provided invaluable training, mentoring and coaching for my staff and coworkers that is in concert with our own Human Resources Department and internal policies, procedures and development plans.  It has proven to be a successful partnership for us that provides an extra set of resources in our staffing and organizing efforts, succession planning, and individual employee growth and development endeavors.  The staff at HR Partners are professional, courteous, and make working on challenging issues not only effective, but fun!”