Rules and Regulations and Laws OH MY!!
The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has released a new report on employee handbooks. You’re going to want to take a closer look at your handbooks and you should do it soon.
It includes examples of recent NLRB decisions and outlines what content is legal and what violates the National Labor Relations Act. Also, it applies to all employers, regardless of whether you employ union employees or not.
The basic gist of the report focuses on content that is overly broad or vague.
Here are some specifics about the new rules.
1. Confidentiality rules.
The feds make it very clear that employees have a right to discuss “wages, hours and other terms and conditions of employment.” But the feds said it’s OK to have “broad prohibitions on disclosing ‘confidential’ information” to protect “the privacy of certain business information” if certain conditions are met.
Not Legal: Do not discuss “customer or employee information” outside of work, including “phone numbers and addresses.”
Legal: No unauthorized disclosure of “business ‘secret’ or other confidential information.”
2. Workers’ conduct toward management.
The Memorandum reminds companies that workers have the right to criticize or protest their employer’s labor policies or treatment of employees. And it highlighted a number of cases where firms’ handbook language clearly prevented workers from exercising those rights.
Not Legal: Be respectful to the company, other employees, customers, partners and competitors.
Legal: Each employee is expected to work in a cooperative manner with management/supervision, coworkers, customers and vendors.
3. Employees’ conduct toward co-workers.
In addition to the employee/manager relationship, the NLRB pointed out what type of language should dictate workers’ interactions with one another.
Not Legal: Do not make insulting, embarrassing, hurtful or abusive comments about other company employees online, and avoid the use of offensive, derogatory or prejudicial comments.
Legal: Threatening, intimidating, coercing or otherwise interfering with the job performance of fellow employees or visitors is not allowed.