Thursday, June 26, 2014

Supreme Court Deals a Severe Blow to the NLRB

So, last night I was finishing up a post about how the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) was continuing its attack on employers’ ability to manage their workforce with a recent ruling that firing an employee who called his manager a "f***ing mother f***er" (among other choice names) was a violation of that employee’s Section 7 rights. Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act provides all employees — not just unionized employees– the right to:

"self-organization, to form, join, or assist labor organizations, to bargain collectively through representatives of their own choosing, and to engage in other concerted activities for the purpose of collective bargaining or other mutual aid or protection, and shall also have the right to refrain from any or all such activities …"

Any employer policy or practice that restricts such rights is vulnerable to a charge of unfair labor practice under NLRA Sec. 8.

Lovely. So now it’s acceptable to scream, yell, throw furniture around and call your manager obscene vulgar names. Exactly how that fits into concerted, protected activity, I really don’t know.

Then, this morning I see that the Supreme Court of the United States delivered a wonderfully satisfying smack to the head of the NLRB, by way of invalidating President Obama’s "recess" appointments to the Board in January of 2012. See article here.

According to the HR Policy Organization, there are more than 700 NLRB decisions that are now essentially invalid since they were made with the illegal appointments, which rendered the Board without a quorum and therefore unable to legally render any decision during that time period.

Many of these decisions were attacks on employers’ social media policies, confidentiality policies, employee handbooks and several other normal, common sense rules employers utilize to maintain an ordered and productive work environment.

That these overreaching and out and out bizarre rulings have essentially been declared null and void is of course, a wonderful ray of sunshine in an increasingly oppressive legal and regulatory atmosphere. Whether the NLRB will attempt a do-over on these rulings is anybody’s guess right now. Hmmm. Maybe the Board’s actions during that time could be considered an unfair labor practice? Turnabout is fair play, is it not?

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