By: Mike DeCamps
As has been widely reported, The National Labor Relations
Board (NLRB) issued a final rule on August 25, 2011 requiring all employers
subject to the NLRB jurisdictional standards to post an 11 x 17 notice form
describing employee rights under the National Labor Relations Act. The new poster became
available on October 1, 2011.
The NLRB's rule was initially scheduled to take effect on
November 14, 2011 but has now been postponed to January 31, 2012. The NLRB's
decision to postpone the rule cites uncertainty about which businesses are
subject to the rule. However the rule also remains subject to court challenges
and possible Congressional action to overturn it. While the future
implementation of the rule remains in some doubt, employers would be wise to
understand and address the requirements of the rule and plan for it to take
The posting requirement applies to all private sector
employers (including labor unions) subject to the National Labor Relations Act.
It includes employers regardless of the number of employees, but excludes
agriculture, railroad and airline employers. In addition to the physical
posting, the final rule requires every covered employer to post the notice on
an Internet or Intranet site if personnel rules and policies are customarily
The NLRB has posted frequently asked questions (FAQs) about
While some HR consultants see the new posting rule as a
tempest in a teapot, others share concerns that the posters will prompt
questions and unwanted discussions by employees and could lead to further
repercussions. Failure to post the notices as required can be considered an
unfair labor practice in itself and anyone, including employees and possibly
union organizers, can file charges with the NLRB against employers within six
(6) months of alleged violations of the notice requirement. Whether or not the
poster is successful in bringing the union conversation into the workplace,
many commentators see a need for management to strategically consider how
management should talk with employees about union issues.
The rollout of the new NLRB rule should not be used as an
opportunity to attack an employee's decision to consider a union or even to
bash unions or criticize the wisdom of the poster. It is, however, an
opportunity for management to enlighten employees on management's position
regarding unions. Clearly, if you are not familiar with your employees' rights
under the National Labor Relations Act in the non-union, or union, workplace,
now is the time to think about those issues before the January 31 deadline
requires posting. This is a potential mine field for all employers.
If you need assistance with these issues, Sands
Anderson's Virginia employment attorneys are available to
help you work through your strategies.
Read more labor and employment law articles
at Virginia Workplace Law
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