In NAM v. NLRB, No. 12-5068 (D.C Cir. May 17, 2013), the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals struck against the NRLB notice rule.
The background is as follows. On August 30, 2011, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) published a final rule regarding notice posting. 76 Fed. Reg. 54,006. That final rule provides:
All employees subject to the NLRA must post notices to employees, in conspicuous places, informing them of their NLRA rights, together with Board contact information and information concerning basic enforcement procedures…”
39 C.F.R. 104.202(a). The final rule also declares that failure to post this notice is an unfair labor practice (ULP). In other words, if an employer fails to put up a NLRB notice, the employer violates the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). This is essentially the focus for the Court of Appeals.
The court explained that under Section 8(e), the Board cannot find non-coercive employer speech to be an ULP or evidence of an ULP. The Court of Appeals found that the NLRB’s final rule did both. The court states,
Under the rule an employer’s failure to post the required notice constitutes an unfair labor practice. See 29 C.F.R. 104.210, 104.201. And the Board may consider an employer’s ‘knowing and willful’ noncompliance to be ‘evidence of antiunion animus in cases in which unlawful motive [i]s an element of an unfair labor practice.’ 76 Fed. Reg. at 54,035-36; see also 29 C.F.R. 104.214(b).
(as in original).
The National Labor Relations Board today made public a webpage that describes the rights of employees to act together for their mutual aid and protection, even if they are not in a union.
The page, at http://www.nlrb.gov/concerted-activity, tells the stories of more than a dozen recent cases involving protected concerted activity, which can be viewed by clicking points on a map. Among the cases: A construction crew fired after refusing to work in the rain near exposed electrical wires; a customer service representative who lost her job after discussing her wages with a coworker; an engineer at a vegetable packing plant fired after reporting safety concerns affecting other employees; a paramedic fired after posting work-related grievances on Facebook; and poultry workers fired after discussing their grievances with a newspaper reporter.
Some cases were quickly settled after charges were filed, while others progressed to a Board decision or to federal appellate courts. They were selected to show a variety of situations, but they have in common a finding at some point in the NLRB process that the activity that the employees undertook was protected under federal labor law.
The right to engage in certain types of concerted activity was written into the original 1935 National Labor Relations Act’s Section 7, which states that: “Employees shall have the right to self-organization, to form, join, or assist labor organizations, to bargain collectively through representatives of their own choosing, and to engage in other concerted activities for the purpose of collective bargaining or other mutual aid or protection, and shall also have the right to refrain from any or all such activities.”
That right has been upheld in numerous decisions by appellate courts and by the U.S. Supreme Court over the years. Non-union concerted activity accounts for more than 5% of the agency’s recent caseload.
via NLRB launches webpage describing Protected Concerted Activity | NLRB.
The NLRB has issued a statement postponing the employee rights posting. The press release states:
In light of conflicting decisions at the district court level, the DC Circuit Court of Appeals has temporarily enjoined the NLRB’s rule requiring the posting of employee rights, which had been scheduled to take effect on April 30, 2012.
In view of the DC Circuits order, and in light of the strong interest in the uniform implementation and administration of agency rules, regional offices will not implement the rule pending the resolution of the issues before the court.
In March, the D.C. District Court found that the agency had the authority to issue the rule. The NLRB supports that decision, but plans to appeal a separate part that raised questions about enforcement mechanisms. The agency disagrees with and will appeal last week’s decision by the South Carolina District Court, which found the NLRB lacked authority to promulgate the rule.
Chairman Mark Gaston Pearce said of the recent decisions, “We continue to believe that requiring employers to post this notice is well within the Board’s authority, and that it provides a genuine service to employees who may not otherwise know their rights under our law.”
via NLRB Chairman Mark Gaston Pearce on recent decisions regarding employee rights posting | NLRB.