Posts tagged National Labor Relations Act.
Blogs
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In Starbucks v. McKinney, the Supreme Court of the United States clarified the standard for injunctive relief under Section 10(j) of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA or the “Act”). The 9-0 decision,  authored  by Justice Thomas, with Justice Jackson concurring in the judgment and dissenting in part, held that appropriate standard is the four-part test for preliminary injunctive relief articulated in Winter v Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc. 555 U.S. 7 (2008). That test requires the party seeking the injunction to show “[1] he is likely to succeed on the merits, [2] that he is likely to suffer irreparable harm in the absence of preliminary relief, [3] that the balance of equities tips in his favor, and [4] that an injunction is in the public interest.” Winter, 555 U. S., at 20, 22. This represents a significant change and one that is likely to make it more difficult for the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB or the “Board”) to obtain injunctive relief while an unfair labor practice claim is being litigated.

While four circuits – the Fourth, Seventh, Eighth, and Ninth – already followed the four-factor preliminary injunction test, five other circuits – the Second, Third, Fifth, Tenth and Eleventh, and the Sixth Circuit, where Starbucks v. McKinney originated – had applied a less demanding standard that only required the NLRB to demonstrate that the Board’s Regional Director had concluded that “there is reasonable cause to believe that unfair labor practices have occurred,” and whether injunctive relief is “just and proper.” This two-factor test versus the four-factor test was seen by many to be a lower barrier to injunctive relief.

Blogs
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On October 26, 2023, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB or “Board”) issued its Final Rule (the “Rule”) on Joint-Employer status under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). Slated to take effect on December 26, 2023, the Rule returns to and expands on the Obama era Browning-Ferris test, scrapping the NLRB’s 2020 Joint Employer test for the sole reason that the current Board disagrees with the 2020 test, and setting up a potential showdown with the Supreme Court over the “major questions” doctrine and the scope of the NLRB’s administrative authority.

The ...

Blogs
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It has been a decision-packed summer at the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB” or “Board”), and the last weeks of summer were especially active, with a number of significant decisions released at the end of August that could affect employers with non-unionized as well as unionized workforces. The following is a roundup of significant developments, in order of recency:

Board Membership Update: Member Wilcox Confirmed for a Second Term – One Vacancy Remains

On Wednesday, September 6, 2023, the Senate confirmed President Biden’s nomination of Gwynne Wilcox for a ...

Blogs
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On August 2, 2023, the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB” or “Board”) announced a long-anticipated Decision that will affect how employers craft, apply and enforce workplace policies in almost all workplaces, regardless of whether employees are represented by a union. As we anticipated several years ago, the current Board, with a majority of members nominated by President Biden, has now rejected the agency’s 2017 decision in The Boeing Company, in which it adopted a balancing test to evaluate facially neutral employer rules and handbook provisions by examining the nature and extent of their potential impact on employee rights under the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA” or the “Act”) against legitimate justification(s) for the policies.

The majority opinion in Stericycle Inc. substantively revives the NLRB’s stance on workplace rules as established in the 2004 Lutheran Heritage decision.Under this new framework, any employer’s rule, policy, or handbook provision that  has a “reasonable tendency to chill employees from exercising their Section 7 rights” may be deemed to constitute an unfair labor practice and to be unlawful in violation of the NLRA.

Blogs
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Management-side attorneys and the businesses that they represent will be pleased with the Supreme Court’s holding in Glacier Northwest, Inc. v. International Brotherhood of Teamsters.

The case concerned the issue of whether the National Labor Relations Act, 29 U.S.C. §§ 151–169 (“NLRA” or the “Act”), preempted a state tort claim seeking damages for harm suffered by their employer, caused by employees’ inaction in failing to deliver concrete that had already been loaded into the employer’s trucks or otherwise taking action to prevent the hardening concrete from damaging the trucks, thus intentionally destroying property owned by Glacier. Notably, the striking employees and their union knew that the trucks had been loaded when they began their strike. An eight-justice majority held that the union and its members were, on the facts of the case, not engaged in protected conduct as that term is defined under the NLRA. Justice Barrett delivered the opinion of the Court, in which the Chief Justice and Justices Sotomayor, Kagan and Kavanaugh joined. Justices Thomas, Gorsuch, and Alito concurred. As against this jurisprudentially diverse array, Justice Jackson was the only dissenter.

Blogs
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The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has found its first target under recent guidance issued in a memo from its General Counsel claiming that noncompete agreements may violate the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). According to Bloomberg Law, “[t]he NLRB’s first enforcement action against an employer’s noncompete agreement targeted a Michigan cannabis processor and ended with a recent private settlement resolving the alleged labor law violations.” (The enforcement action predates the guidance memo). Bloomberg obtained redacted documents from the case via a Freedom of Information Act request.

Blogs
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The National Labor Relations Board’s top lawyer, Jennifer Abruzzo, issued  a General Counsel memo today instructing the Labor Board’s Regional Directors of her position  that noncompete clauses for employees protected by the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) (i.e., nonmanagerial and nonsupervisory employees) in employment contracts and severance agreements violate federal labor law except in limited circumstances. The memo, while not law, outlines her legal theory which she will present to the National Labor Relations Board, which makes law primarily through adjudication of unfair labor practice cases.  The memo instructs the agency’s field offices of the position that the General Counsel is instructing them to take when investigating unfair labor practice charges claiming that such clauses interfere with employees’ rights under the NLRA.

Blogs
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On Thursday, April 20, 2023, the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB” or “Board”) released a decision in Noah’s Ark Processors, LLC d/b/a WR Reserve, 372 NLRB No. 80, in which it laid out sweeping remedies the Board will consider imposing in cases involving so-called “repeat offenders” of the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA” or the “Act”).

In Noah’s Ark, the Board affirmed findings made by an NLRB Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) that the employer bargained in bad faith with the union representing its employees, implemented its final offer without achieving overall impasse, engaged in regressive bargaining and other impermissible bargaining tactics, and threatened and interrogated employees because of their protected activity, all of which came on the heels of the employer defying a previous federal court injunction related to earlier bad faith bargaining and other unfair labor practice allegations. The Board not only upheld the make-whole remedies ordered by the ALJ, but also announced “the potential remedies the Board will consider in cases involving [employers] who have shown a proclivity to violate the Act or who have engaged in egregious or widespread misconduct.” In doing so, the Board ordered remedies beyond those imposed by the ALJ, noting that the Board “[has] broad discretion to exercise [its] remedial authority under Section 10(c) of the Act even when no party has taken issue with the judge’s recommended remedies or requested additional forms of relief.”

Blogs
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On February 21, 2023, the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB” or “Board”) continued its aggressive application of the National Labor Relations Act (“Act” or “NLRA”) to workplaces without union representation and lessened the value of severance agreements for all employers by finding it unlawful for an employer to merely proffer a severance agreement that includes broad non-disparagement and confidentiality provisions to an employee. In McLaren Macomb, the Board held that a severance agreement that contains a confidentiality clause and a non-disparagement clause was unlawful because, in the Board’s view, these provisions impermissibly infringe on employees’ rights under the Act. Specifically, the Board found that these two provisions limit employees’ ability to discuss their wages, hours, and working conditions (which could include disparaging remarks) with other employees, prevent employees from assisting other employees seeking assistance, and hinder employees themselves from seeking assistance from the NLRB, unions, and other outside organizations.

Blogs
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On December 16, 2022, the National Labor Relations Board (”Board”) issued its decision in Bexar County II, which restricts the right of property owners to deny off-duty contract workers access to the property for the purpose of engaging in activities protected under Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act (“Act”). In line with the current Board’s efforts to undo Trump-era decisions and reinterpret the Act to dramatically expand employees’ Section 7 rights and weaken property owners’ rights to control their property, the Board overturned its own precedent on contract workers’ off-duty access and reinstated its standard first established in the 2011 decision in New York New York Hotel & Casino . The Board’s decision in Bexar County II makes clear that it prioritizes contract workers’ access to a third-party’s property for Section 7 activities over the property owner’s own interests in their property. [1]

Blogs
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On December 13, 2022, the National Labor Relations Board (“Board” or “NLRB”) issued a decision that greatly broadens the remedies available for violations of the National Labor Relations Act (“Act”). Prior to this decision, the Board’s “make whole” remedies for more than 80 years have generally included only backpay, reasonable search-for-work expenses, and interim employment expenses.

Blogs
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In an Advice Memorandum dated April 20, 2022 and released on November 30, 2022, the Division of Advice within the National Labor Relations Board’s (“NLRB” or “Board”) Office of the General Counsel urged the Board to overturn existing Board law to significantly lower the standard for when an employer must furnish the union with its general financial information. This latest push to bolster unions during bargaining follows the NLRB’s General Counsel Jennifer Abruzzo’s (“GC”) issuance of Memorandum GC 21-04 regarding Mandatory Submissions to Advice on August 12, 2021, wherein she signaled her intent to change this standard.

Blogs
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On October 31, 2022, the General Counsel of the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB” or “Board”) released Memorandum GC 23-02 urging the Board to interpret existing Board law to adopt a new legal framework to find electronic monitoring and automated or algorithmic management practices illegal if such monitoring or management practices interfere with protected activities under Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act (“Act”).  The Board’s General Counsel stated in the Memorandum that “[c]lose, constant surveillance and management through electronic means threaten employees’ basic ability to exercise their rights,” and urged the Board to find that an employer violates the Act where the employer’s electronic monitoring and management practices, when viewed as a whole, would tend to “interfere with or prevent a reasonable employee from engaging in activity protected by the Act.”  Given that position, it appears that the General Counsel believes that nearly all electronic monitoring and automated or algorithmic management practices violate the Act.

Blogs
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On August 29, 2022, the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB” or the “Board”) issued a decision in Tesla, Inc. regarding dress code policies that further the Biden Board’s efforts to remake NLRB policy. This decision has big implications for employers that maintain appearance, dress code, and uniform policies. The Board’s decision now firmly establishes that any employer’s uniform or dress code policy is inherently unlawful if it can be read “in any way” to prohibit employees from wearing union insignia unless an employer can prove that its policy is justified by special circumstances. It is irrelevant whether the employer’s policy has ever been applied to prohibit union t-shirts or the employer actively permits union buttons or other insignia. Further, and critical to a broader understanding of the implications of this decision, it is also irrelevant whether the workplace is unionized or even being actively unionized.

Blogs
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On July 21, 2021, the U.S. Senate confirmed Jennifer Abruzzo to a four-year term as the General Counsel of the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB” or “Board”). Ms. Abruzzo’s confirmation was by a vote of 51-50, with Vice President Kamala Harris casting the tie-breaking vote. Ms. Abruzzo was sworn in the next day, by NLRB Chair Lauren McFerran. As the NLRB notes, this is “the first time in NLRB history women are serving as both Chairman and General Counsel” of the agency.

Ms. Abruzzo has spent much of her career at the NLRB. She previously served as the Board’s Deputy ...

Blogs
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On March 30, 2021, the Office of General Counsel of the National Labor Relation Board (“NLRB” or “Board”) released an Obama-era Advice Memorandum, originally prepared in 2016, opining that racially charged comments were protected concerted activity.  Just one day later, on March 31, 2021, Acting General Counsel Peter Sung Ohr affirmed in his latest Memorandum (“March 31st Memorandum”) his plan to pursue a broadening of employees’ protections under Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA” or “Act”) beyond concerted activities relating to ...

Blogs
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Confidential arbitration agreements between employers and their employees are commonplace.  Employers favor such agreements for many reasons, including preserving privacy and allowing legitimate claims to be either settled or litigated based on their merits, rather than the threat of public embarrassment or high defense costs.  Employees, too, may value the confidentiality afforded by arbitration.  In contrast to private and confidential arbitration proceedings, public testimony and publicly filed court pleadings, motions, and briefs may contain unflattering or ...

Blogs
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On Tuesday, the three-member, all Republican, National Labor Relations Board (the “Board”) issued a 3-0 decision in General Motors LLC and Charles Robinson, 369 NLRB No. 127 (July 21, 2020), reversing its longstanding standard for determining when employers violate the National Labor Relations Act (the “Act”) by disciplining employees who, while engaged in activity protected under Section 7 of the Act, use profanity-laced speech, as well as racial, ethnic or sexist slurs, or other abusive conduct toward or about management or other employees. Going forward, including ...

Blogs
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As private sector unionization rates have continued to fall over recent decades, organized labor has increasingly turned to the state and local politicians it supports for assistance in the form of state legislation and local ordinances imposing burdens on employers and aid to unions, while depriving employees of the process and balance intended by the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”).  These often come in the form of “Labor Peace” requirements which mandate employers enter into agreements with unions that do not represent their employees as a condition of doing ...

Blogs
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As discussed in previous blog posts and articles, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), in Boeing Co., overruled past precedent that had resulted in the invalidation of “commonsense [workplace] rules and requirements that most people would reasonably expect every employer to maintain.”  Boeing sought to return the analysis to a more balanced approach in which workplace rules would no longer be struck down simply because such rules could have been more narrowly tailored or just because a hypothetical employee theoretically might construe them to conflict with the ...

Blogs
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The rulemaking priorities of the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB” or “Board”) have been released, signaling what Board Chairman John F. Ring described as “the Board majority’s strong interest in continued rulemaking.” The announcement was contained in the Unified Agenda of Federal Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions, published by the Office of Management and Budget’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs.

Issues Identified by the Board for Further Rulemaking

The Board majority has identified the following as areas in which it intends to engage ...

Blogs
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The Division of Advice of the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB” or “Board”), in an Advice Memorandum, dated April 16, 2019 (“Advice Memo”),[1] has concluded that “drivers providing personal transportation services” using Uber Technologies Inc.’s “app-based ride-share platforms” were independent contractors and not employees, as the drivers had alleged in a series of unfair labor practice charges filed in 2014, 2015, and 2016. Based on the Division of Advice’s analysis of the relationship between Uber and the drivers, the General Counsel’s ...

Blogs
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My colleagues and I have posted on Epstein Becker & Green, P.C.’s  Hospitality Labor and Employment Law blog concerning the U.S. Department of Labor’s Proposed New Rule to Determine Joint Employer Status under the Fair Labor Standards Act.  In its proposed new rule, the DOL notes that the National Labor Relations Board is also engaged in rulemaking to set new standards for determining joint employer status under the National Labor Relations Act.  Our blog post discusses the similarities and differences between the two proposed rules.

Blogs
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Since 2015, employers have faced continued uncertainty regarding which standard the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB” or the “Board”) will apply when determining joint-employer status under the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”). Businesses utilizing contractors and staffing firms or operating in partnering arrangements, as well as those engaged in providing temporaries and other contingent workers, have faced a moving target before the Board when it comes to potential responsibility in union recognition, bargaining obligations, and unfair labor ...

Blogs
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Last week, the National Labor Relations Board (the “Board”) issued a decision that “begins the process of restoring” a decades-old definition of “concerted activity” under Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA” or the “Act”) – a definition that, in the Board’s view, had become muddled and unduly expanded as recent decisions “blurred the distinction between protected group action and unprotected individual action.”

In a 3-1 decision, with Member McFerran dissenting, the Board in Alstate Maintenance, LLC upheld an administrative ...

Blogs
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In a three to one decision issued on January 25, 2019, the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB” or the “Board”) in SuperShuttle DFW, Inc., 367 NLRB No.75 (2019), the Board announced it was rejecting the test adopted in 2014 in FedEx Home Delivery, 361 NLRB 610 (2014) for determining whether a worker was an employee or an independent contractor and returning to the test it used prior to the FedEx Home decision.

As the decision in SuperShuttle makes clear, the determination of whether a worker is an employee entitled to the protections of the National Labor Relations Act (the ...

Blogs
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The New York City Temporary Schedule Change Law (“Law”), which became effective on July 18, 2018, raises new issues that employers with union represented employees will need to address as their existing collective bargaining agreements (“CBA”) come up for renewal.

The Law allows most New York City employees up to two temporary schedule changes (or permission to take unpaid time off) per calendar year when such changes are needed due to a “personal event.” The Law also prohibits retaliation against workers who request temporary schedule changes. Additional detailed ...

Blogs
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On February 26, 2018, in a unanimous decision by Chairman Marvin Kaplan and Members Mark Pearce and Lauren McFerren, the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB” or the “Board”) reversed and vacated its December 2017 decision in Hy-Brand Industrial Contractors, Ltd. (“Hy-Brand”), which had overruled the joint-employer standard set forth in the 2015 Browning-Ferris Industries (“Browning-Ferris”) decision. The decision followed the release of a finding that a potential conflict-of-interest had tainted the Board’s 3-2 vote. What this means, at least for ...

Blogs
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As we have previously reported, Unions currently face a serious existential threat as the unionized workforce in America continuously declines and the looming threat of a National Right to Work law steadily grows.  Recognizing that when employees have a choice, they are losing the battle for the hearts and minds, Unions have not taken these deleterious developments lying down and have deployed numerous countermeasures designed to increase their dues paying membership, including unprecedented forays into previously untouched industries and membership pools.  These efforts ...

Blogs
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In NLRB v. Pier Sixty, LLC, the Second Circuit held that an employee’s expletive-laden Facebook post – which hurled vulgar attacks at his manager, his manager’s mother and his family – did not result in the employee losing the protection of the National Labor Relations Act (“Act”).  But even though the Second Circuit conferred protected status on this unquestionably obscene post, it did not create a protected right to level profane verbal assaults on management when discussing union business.  Such conduct has been, and will continue to be, unprotected in most ...

Blogs
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Featured on Employment Law This Week - Philip Miscimarra, Acting Chairman of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), has given a strong indication of the changes likely to come once President Trump fills vacant seats on the NLRB.

In a sharply worded dissent, Miscimarra doubled down on his disagreement with the NLRB’s controversial 2014 rule on union representation elections. Miscimarra argues that the rule’s heavy emphasis on election speed interferes with an employee’s right to make informed decisions on union representation and is inconsistent with the requirements ...

Blogs
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On February 16, 2017, tens of thousands of individuals across the country stayed home from work as part of the “Day Without Immigrants,” a social activism campaign organized in response to President Donald Trump’s recent executive orders concerning immigration and increased enforcement, deportation actions, and raids by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The “Day Without Immigrants” action was apparently not coordinated by any centralized organization, but was promoted on social media and by word-of-mouth just days before.

Now, the same groups that organized ...

Blogs
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NLRB Acting Chair Philip Miscimarra has given the clearest indication to date of what steps a new Republican majority is likely to take to reverse key elements of the Labor Board’s hallmark actions of the Obama administration once President Trump nominates candidates for the Board’s two open seats and the Senate confirms. In each of these cases, Miscimarra highlighted his earlier opposition to the majority’s changes in long standing precedents and practices.

The Acting Chair’s Position On the Board’s 2014 Amended Election Rules – The Emphasis On “Speed Above All ...

Blogs
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[caption id="attachment_1437" align="alignright" width="98"] Steven M. Swirsky[/caption]

In a further incursion into the area of the gig and new age economy, the Regional Director for the National Labor Relations Board’s Los Angeles office has issued an unfair labor practice complaint alleging that it is a violation of the National Labor Relations Act (the “Act”) for an employer to misclassify an employee as an independent contractor.

The Complaint, which is based on a charge filed by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, through its’ Justice For Port Truck ...

Blogs
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Last week we reported that the NLRB continues its assault on arbitration agreements in spite of judicial rejection of its holdings.  Days after our post, another federal judge disregarded the NLRB’s holdings and actually dismissed employees’ wage and hour claims because the employees failed to follow the court’s order compelling the employees to arbitration.

Specifically, on July 8, 2015, a federal judge dismissed (PDF) the original wage and hour collective action that ultimately led to the NLRB’s decision in Murphy Oil where it held that arbitration agreements ...

Blogs
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On March 18, 2015, NLRB General Counsel Richard F. Griffin, Jr. issued General Counsel Memorandum GC 15-04 containing extensive guidance as to the General Counsel’s views as to what types employer polices and rules, in handbooks and otherwise, will be considered by the NLRB investigators and regional offices to be lawful and which are likely to be found to unlawfully interfere with employees’ rights under the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA” or the Act”).

This GC Memo is highly relevant to all employers in all industries that are under the jurisdiction of the National ...

Blogs
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By Jill Barbarino

On October 28 a three-member majority of the National Labor Relations Board in Murphy Oil U.S.A., Inc.  revisited and reaffirmed its position that employers violate the National Labor Relations Act (the “Act”) by requiring employees covered by the Act (virtually all nonsupervisory and non-managerial employees of most private sector employees, whether unionized or not) to waive, as a condition of their employment, participation in class or collective actions.

As previously reported in an Act Now Advisory, in 2012 the NLRB held in D.R. Horton that the home ...

Blogs
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By Steven M. Swirsky and Adam C. Abrahms

The Regional Director for the NLRB’s Chicago Region has found that football players at Northwestern University who receive scholarships are “employees” for purposes of the National Labor Relations Act.  Some of the football players blindsided the University, NCAA and college athletics by filing a petition to be represented by the College Athlete Players Association (CAPA), a putative union funded and supported by the United Steelworkers union. As only "employees" are covered by the National Labor Relations Act, finding them to be ...

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