The majority of non-unionized businesses tend to ignore the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). Doing so, however, could cause problems in your organization. Below is a list of things even non-union employers need to know about the NLRA.
1. NLRA protects activities of employees who have joined together to achieve common goals. It may include individual action taken on behalf of the group. For example, it can include complaints by an individual employee to management at a group informational meeting.
2. Complaints or protests to management regarding wages, hours, or other terms and conditions can be protected. This means that certain confidentiality policies are prohibited. Employees cannot be precluded from discussing wages, hours, terms and conditions of employment.
3. Non-fraternization policies are generally prohibited. Employers may still preclude romantic relationships, but should ensure that policies prohibit such relationships are tailored very narrowly.
4. Broad prohibitions against abusive or threatening language may be unlawful. It has been determined that language that may be considered threatening or abusive may be used when an employee is exercising their rights under the NLRA. Policies reference abusive and threatening language should be reviewed.
5. Unrepresented employees have the right to have a co-worker present at a meeting if the employee has a reasonable belief that he or she will be subject to discipline.
What’s the takeaway? Review your policies and make sure you aren’t unlawfully prohibiting certain behaviors. Employees cannot be disciplined or terminated for engaging in protected activities. If you have any questions about whether something constitutes protected activity or whether your policies are tailored narrowly enough contact your attorney.