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NLRB focuses on nonunionized workplaces

McAfee & Taft’s Michael Lauderdale discusses the National Labor Relations Board’s interest in social media, dress codes and anti-gossiping policies.
Oklahoman Modified: April 17, 2014 at 11:00 am •  Published: April 16, 2014

Q&A with Michael Lauderdale

NLRB seeks to expand authority

in nonunionized workplaces

Q: Is it true the National Labor Relations Board is attempting to increase its regulation of nonunionized workplaces?

A: Unfortunately, for private nonunionized employers, the answer is “yes.” President Obama finally has been able to appoint a full five-member board. The NLRB has made clear that it will seek to expand its influence and authority into the workplace

Q: Doesn’t the NLRB only get involved in the formation of unions?

A: In the past, the NLRB primarily focused on assisting employees in the formation of unionized workplaces. However, under the guise of its mission to monitor and protect any and all employee speech that addresses “workplace conditions,” the NLRB is attempting to force non-unionized workplaces to back off from policies and procedures that were previously normal course of business.

Q: What types of policies is the NLRB focusing on?

A: The NLRB’s primary focus is on curtailing employers’ social media policies that it believes prevent employees from banding together. Simply put, the NLRB’s position is that social media policies can’t be used to deter an employee’s right to workplace speech both in and outside the workplace. Other focus areas are workplace investigation policies, use of email for nonbusiness purposes, dress codes and anti-gossiping policies.

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by Paula Burkes
A 1981 journalism graduate of Oklahoma State University, Paula Burkes has more than 30 years experience writing and editing award-winning material for newspapers and healthcare, educational and telecommunications institutions in Tulsa, Oklahoma...
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