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National Labor Relations Board
July 31, 2014
Cases 31-CA-077074 and 31-CA-080734
[*72] DECISION AND ORDER
The issue presented here is whether the Respondent violated Section 8(a)(1) of the Act by maintaining a confidentiality rule prohibiting the disclosure of employee information. The judge concluded that there was no violation and dismissed the complaint. The General Counsel excepts and contends that the rule is unlawful because employees would reasonably construe it to prohibit Section 7 activity. For the reasons set forth below, we agree with the General Counsel and reverse the judge's [**2] finding.
On March 22, 2013, Administrative Law Judge Gerald A. Wacknov issued the attached decision. The General Counsel filed exceptions and a supporting brief, the Respondent filed an answering brief, and the General Counsel filed a reply brief. The Charging Party Union filed cross-exceptions.
The National Labor Relations Board has delegated its authority in this proceeding to a three-member panel.
The Board has considered the decision and the record in light of the exceptions and briefs and has decided to affirm the judge's rulings, findings, and conclusions only to the extent consistent with this Decision and Order.
I. STIPULATED FACTS
The Respondent operates a chain of grocery stores in California. It maintains a 20-page "Code of Business Conduct" that is available to employees on its website. Employees are required to follow the policies described in the Code, as "[b]reaches of the Code, Fresh & Easy policy or the law may result in disciplinary action." The Code discusses a range of topics, including: restrictions on certain types of business dealings; ethical considerations; protection of company and customer resources; equal employment opportunity; and abusive and otherwise [**3] unacceptable employee behavior. Its discussion of the need to protect company resources includes several subsections, entitled "Intellectual Property," "Responsible Use of Company IT," "Confidentiality and Data Protection," and "Accurate Accounting and Money Laundering." The entire "Confidentiality and Data Protection" section states:
CONFIDENTIALITY AND DATA PROTECTION
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361 N.L.R.B. 72 *; 2014 NLRB LEXIS 597 **; 200 L.R.R.M. 1309; 2014-15 NLRB Dec. (CCH) P15,842; 361 NLRB No. 8
Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market and United Food and Commercial Workers International Union.
Subsequent History: [**1]
Reconsideration denied by Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Mkt., 2014 NLRB LEXIS 772 (N.L.R.B., Oct. 15, 2014)
Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market, 2013 NLRB LEXIS 197 (N.L.R.B., Mar. 22, 2013)
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