Over the past few years, the National Labor Relations Board has expanded its sphere of influence into the non-unionized workplace. In the guise of preserving workers’ rights under Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act (which includes the broad right to engage in concerted activities for the purpose of collective bargaining or other mutual aid or protection), the NLRB has:
- Invalidated a policy prohibiting employees from making statements that “damage the Company, defame any individual or damage any person’s reputation,” because it could impede employees’ exercise of their Section 7 rights to protest working conditions (Costco, 358 NLRB No. 106);
- Found that a company’s blanket policy of requesting participants in an internal investigation to keep the investigation confidential improperly infringes on employees’ Section 7 rights (Banner Health, 358 NLRB No. 93);
- Weighed in on employers’ social media policies (NLRB reports); and
- Found a policy requiring employees to be courteous, polite, and friendly to customers to be overbroad and invalid (Karl Knauz Motors, 358 NLRB No. 164).