NLRB Issues Several Rulings Favorable to Employers

NLRB Issues Several Rulings Favorable to Employers

The National Labor Relations Board is a federal agency that protects the rights of private sector employees to join together, with or without a union, to improve their wages, hours and working conditions. In December 2019, the Board issued several decisions, and announced a rule change, all of which curtail or overturn actions taken by the Obama-controlled Board that favored unions and/or employees.

On December 12, in McDonald’s USA LLC, the Board held that a franchisee may settle claims that it engaged in unfair labor practices without admitting liability or joint-employer status, and it instructed an administrative law judge to approve settlements resolving complaints against the parent corporations and 29 franchisees.

On December 13, the Board announced a series of modifications to its representation case procedures that will change the “quickie election rules” that had resulted in union representation elections being held in shorter periods of time and often without the employer having an opportunity to run a counter-campaign against the union that was organizing its employees.

On December 16, in Valley Hospital Medical Center, Inc., the Board restored the rule that had been in place from 1962 until changed in 2015, and held that a dues checkoff provision in a collective bargaining agreement ends when the agreement is terminated and expires by its terms.

On December 17, in Apogee Retail LLC, the Board held that an employer’s rule requiring confidentiality during the course of workplace investigations are presumptively lawful, but when a confidentiality rule is not limited to the duration of the investigation, a case-by-case balancing of employer and employee interests must then be undertaken.

On December 17, in Caesars Entertainment, the Board held that employees do not have a statutory right to use their employers’ email and other IT resources to engage in non-work-related communications, reestablishing an employer’s right to restrict employees’ use of its email system if it does so on a nondiscriminatory basis. Employees may have a right to use their employer’s email when it is “the only reasonable means for employees to communicate with one another.”