Not yet a Member?
HR Magazine is highlighting the next generation of HR leaders.
Is your employee handbook ready for the New Year? With SHRM’s Employee Handbook Builder get peace of mind that your handbook is up-to-date.
30+ HR education programs, including 4 NEW programs on hot topics, are available for registration.
Join us in Chicago for the latest trends and technology in talent management, and what to expect in the future.
The scope of the National Labor Relations Act’s (NLRA’s) protection is wider than some employers realize.
They wonder why the National Labor Relations Board “keeps messing with nonunion workforces,” said Board Member Philip Miscimarra at the Society for Human Resource Management’s Employment Law & Legislative Conference March 24, 2015, in Washington, D.C.
There are three main areas where the board has applied the law to nonunionized employers, he said:
Some rules that relate to courtesy or safety could be construed to impinge on concerted, protected activity, he noted, and the board has struggled with such cases.
Protests and walkouts may appear to be disrespectful, but so too is other protected activity, such as strikes, especially “if on the worst day of the year with no notice,” Miscimarra said.
“This is a challenging area now,” he remarked, saying he hoped the board will “find a better way to be more helpful.” He opposed the board’s holding on work e-mail and class-action waivers and has opposed many of the rulings on employee handbooks.
Lauren McFerran, the newest board member, recommended that employers familiarize themselves with the general counsel’s (GC’s) recent
report on employee handbooks, saying that she is “sympathetic to the need for clear rules.”
But Miscimarra observed that there is a “wall of separation between the board members and GC that is airtight,” including about the report. Miscimarra can shoot the breeze with the general counsel, he explained, but not talk shop with him.
Of course, the new
election rule applies to nonunionized workforces, but, by definition, those workforces are the targets of unionization.
The election rule’s requirement that employers provide employees’ personal e-mails and cellphone numbers to unions has proved controversial, but employers don’t have to provide either if they don’t have them, Miscimarra noted in response to a conference attendee’s question.
He said that all the board members were in favor of union elections being resolved in no more than 60 days, and he believed they could be completed in 30 to 35 days.
“A unanimous rule would have generated more support,” he observed. The rule that takes effect April 14 does not actually specify how long or short the election period is to be, Miscimarra pointed out, though some estimate it could be as short as
Allen Smith, J.D., is the manager of workplace law content for SHRM. Follow him
You have successfully saved this page as a bookmark.
Please confirm that you want to proceed with deleting bookmark.
You have successfully removed bookmark.
Please log in as a SHRM member before saving bookmarks.
Your session has expired. Please log in again before saving bookmarks.
Please purchase a SHRM membership before saving bookmarks.
An error has occurred
Recommended for you
Become a SHRM Member
SHRM’s HR Vendor Directory contains over 3,200 companies