Employees Granted Email Access for Union Organizing

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The National Labor Relations Board continues to make sweeping changes to the electronic workplace in the name of protecting concerted activities, specifically, union organizing. The NLRB’s impact on social media policies will be one of the issues we are examining in the Top 10 Employment Issues for 2014 (look for the Top 10 in January).

In its December 11 decision, Register Guard, the NLRB decided that a general workplace prohibition against using email for non job related purposes unfairly prevented employees from using email to organize. Basically, if a company allows employees access to email for business purposes (a workplace given anymore) the employees have a presumptive right to use the email for communicating/organizing during non-working time.

Commentators and analysts immediately jumped on the unworkeable nature of this pronouncement, and many see it heading for appeal, perhaps even as high as the US Supreme Court. In the meantime, we will continue to watch NLRB decisions for their impact on the non union workplace.

About the Authors

Karen Kalzer

Ms. Kalzer practices employment and education law with an emphasis on defending complex litigation for communities of faith, non-profits, schools and private employers.

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