National Labor Relations Board

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]

Continue Reading NLRB Opens the Door for Contract Workers to Engage in Off-Duty Section 7 Activities Wherever They Work

On December 14, 2022, the National Labor Relations Board (“Board”) issued a decision in American Steel Construction, Inc., reinstating its “overwhelming community of interest” Specialty Healthcare [1] test that gave rise to micro-bargaining units, which are smaller bargaining units that scored unions numerous victories during the Obama administration.  In so doing, the Board overruled PCC Structurals [2] and The Boeing Co., [3] both of which restored and refined the traditional “community of interest” standard used to evaluate challenges to a petitioned-for bargaining unit on the basis it excluded necessary employees. 

Continue Reading The “Community of Interest” Saga Continues – the Return of Micro-Bargaining Units

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.

Continue Reading NLRB Dramatically Increases Liability for Unfair Labor Practices with Far-Reaching “Consequential Damages”

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.

Continue Reading NLRB General Counsel Proposes Lower Standard for Requiring Employers to Provide Financial Information

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.

Continue Reading Following the Recent Regulatory Trends, NLRB General Counsel Seeks to Limit Employers’ Use of Artificial Intelligence in the Workplace

The National Labor Relations Board (“Board”) isn’t giving up on pandemic related mail ballots in representation elections any time soon. On September 29, 2022, in a decision concerning an election at a Seattle area Starbucks, the Board passed on an opportunity to cast aside its COVID-Era six-factor test articulated in Aspirus Keweenaw, 370 NLRB No. 45 (2020), which has been used for the past two years to determine if a Board-conducted representation election should be conducted by mail or in person (called a “manual” election in Board parlance). Instead of jettisoning the Aspirus test entirely, the Board replaced just one of the tests factors, now relying on the CDC Community Level Tracker rather than test positivity trends or rates in this analysis.

Continue Reading NLRB Offers New Guidance on When It Will Hold an In-Person Election – Replaces Positivity Metric with CDC Tracker

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.

Continue Reading Tesla Gets a Dressing Down by the NLRB

Employees’ free choice and their right to a secret-ballot election on union membership are potentially at risk, given the latest development from the Office of the General Counsel of the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB” or “Board”). On April 11, 2022, the NLRB’s General Counsel filed a brief urging a change in long-standing precedent, demanding that the Board force employers to recognize unions as the representative of their employees without first allowing employees the opportunity to cast their votes on union membership in a secret-ballot election held by the Board. The only real requirement for this dramatic result is that the union present signed authorization cards from a majority of the employees that ostensibly confirm the employees’ desire to be represented by the union and that the employer decline recognition of the union without a good faith doubt as to the union’s majority. This brief is General Counsel Jennifer Abruzzo’s first major move to follow through on her previously stated goal of restoring this standard—known as the Joy Silk doctrine—which was abandoned more than 50 years ago.

Continue Reading NLRB General Counsel Pushes to Skip Union Elections by Reinstating Joy Silk Doctrine

On April 7, 2022, Jennifer Abruzzo, General Counsel of the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB” or “Board”), issued Memorandum GC 22-04, titled “The Right to Refrain from Captive Audience and other Mandatory Meetings” (“GC Memo”). It is no secret that the General Counsel has been an advocate for policies and practices that would increase union representation and make it easier for unions to gain recognition and win votes on representation. This includes restricting steps employers can take to share their views with employees. Such a step that the GC Memo calls for is a series of restrictions on what have been called “captive audience speeches,” that is, meetings on company time where employers present their views.

Continue Reading NLRB General Counsel Urges Labor Board to Expand Prohibition on “Captive Audience” Meetings and Employers’ Right to Present Their Views on Unionization

The National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) recently sought public comments on the continued use of videoconference technology to conduct hearings. The co-chairs of Epstein Becker Green’s Labor Management Relations Practice submitted the attached comment arguing against continuing remote hearings because they are less efficient, credible, austere and probative and deprive all parties of due process.