In August 2011, the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) announced a controversial new rule requiring most private employers to post conspicuous notifications of employee rights under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). The poster states that employees are entitled to engage in collective bargaining, join and assist a union, and otherwise act together to improve wages and working conditions. It also gives examples of unlawful employer conduct and instructs employees how to make complaints with the NLRB. The posting requirement will apply to most private-sector employers, including non-union workplaces, and must also be reiterated in the employer’s handbook or personnel policies. Failure to comply with the posting requirements may be considered an unfair labor practice under the NLRA.
The rule was originally scheduled to take effect on November 14, 2011. In early October, however, the NLRB extended the deadline to January 31, 2012. While this may be in part to allow businesses sufficient time to comply with the rule, there have also been numerous attempts to block implementation of the rule altogether by private employers and employer-friendly organizations. In particular, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce (the “Chamber”) brought suit against the NLRB to prevent the rule from going into effect, alleging that the rule violates federal labor laws as well as the First Amendment. The Chamber argues that the rule is excessively pro-union and imposes unfair costs on employers.
It is unclear whether the NLRB will continue to postpone implementation of the rule in light of the Chamber’s lawsuit and the significant backlash from employers. At this time, employers should continue to plan to comply with posting requirements by January 31, 2012. Given the heavy-weight organizations that have come out against the rule, however, it is very possible that the rule may be eventually modified or repealed.
Please note that the information contained in this newsletter is not intended to provide specific legal advice. You should consult with an attorney and not rely on any information contained herein regarding your specific situation.