Client Alert - September 2, 2011
By Marc Furman
On August 25, 2011, the National Labor Relations Board issued a press release announcing a new rule that requires private employers to post a notice of employee rights under the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”). By November 14, 2011, all employers covered by the Act must post a notice developed by the Board in each workplace. In addition, employers must post the notice electronically on any internet or intranet sites used to post other personnel rules or policies. This requirement applies to all private-sector employers, with the sole exception of agricultural employers and several other types of employers not subject to the NLRA.
Employers will be able to download the notice through the Board’s internet site (www.nlrb.gov), and obtain copies from the Board, by November 1, 2011. The Board has stated that its notice will be similar to the Department of Labor’s Notice of Employee Rights Under the National Labor Relations Act, which is mandatory for federal contractors. According to the Board, “the notice states that employees have the right to act together to improve wages and working conditions, to form, join and assist a union, to bargain collectively with their employer, and to refrain from any of these activities. It provides examples of unlawful employer and union conduct and instructs employees how to contact the NLRB with questions or complaints.” Failure to post the notice may be used as evidence of an employer’s unlawful motive in other Board proceedings, and will constitute a separate unfair labor practice. Also, failure to post the notice could have the effect of waiving the employer’s defense that an unfair labor practice brought more than 6 months after the event at issue was filed too late and should be dismissed.
This controversial new rule has garnered widespread media attention. We expect that employers will aggressively challenge this rule through the courts, and that the Supreme Court will ultimately decide the validity of this rule. Because the November 14, 2011 deadline is fast approaching, employers should be prepared to comply with the rule by that date. Cohen Seglias stands ready to assist employers with compliance issues, and to provide guidance to employers about appropriate and lawful responses to employee questions and other issues that may arise.
Please contact Marc Furman, Esquire, Chair of the Labor and Employment Group, at (215) 564-1700, or firstname.lastname@example.org.