July 23, 2019

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NLRB General Counsel Offers Guidance on Employer Policies and Rules

On March 19, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) made public new guidance governing a number of keys areas that have been challenging employers for the last few years. These clarifications could affect employers’ policies in the areas of confidentiality, professionalism, social media use, anti-harassment, use of cameras and camera phones, trademark and copyright protection, and media contacts.

All private-sector employers should review their handbooks and policies to ensure compliance with this latest guidance. The NLRB consistently finds rules unlawful when they are deemed overbroad or if they can “reasonably be construed by employees as restricting Section 7 activity.”

The guidance provides the following examples of unlawful rules:

Confidentiality:

  • You must not disclose proprietary or confidential information about the employer of other associates (if the proprietary or confidential information relating to the employer’s associates was obtained in violation of law or lawful company policy).

  • Never publish or disclose the employer’s or another’s confidential or other proprietary information. Never publish or report conversations that are meant to be private or internal to the employer.

Professionalism/Anti-harassment:

  • Be respectful to the company, other employees, customers, partners and competitors.

  • Be respectful of others and the company.

  • No defamatory, libelous, slanderous or discriminatory comments about the company, its customers and/or competitors, its employees or management.

  • No disrespectful conduct or insubordination, including but not limited to refusing to follow orders from a supervisor or a designated representative.

  • Do not make insulting, embarrassing, hurtful or abusive comments about other company employees online, and avoid the use of offensive, derogatory or prejudicial comments.

  • Do not send unwanted, offensive or inappropriate emails.

Media Contacts:

  • Employees are not authorized to speak to any representatives of the print and/or electronic media about company matters unless designated by human resources to do so and must refer all media inquiries to the company media hotline.

  • All inquiries from the media must be referred to the director of operations in the corporate office, no exceptions.

Use of Company Logos, Copyright, and Trademarks:

  • Do not use any company logos, trademarks, graphics or advertising materials in social media.

  • Company logos and trademarks may not be used without written consent.

Pictures and Recording Devices:

  • Taking unauthorized pictures or video on company property is prohibited.

  • No employee shall use any recording device, including but not limited to audio, video or digital, for the purpose of recording any company employee or operation.

  • All possession or use of personal electronic equipment on company property is prohibited.

All employers should review their handbooks, policies, practices and other workplace rules in accordance with the latest guidance.

 

 

 

 

 

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Daniel K. O'Toole, Litigation Attorney, Armstrong Teasdale Law Firm
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Dan O’Toole, a respected leader and trial strategist, heads Armstrong Teasdale’s Litigation practice group and is a key member of the firm’s executive and management committees.

In his practice, Dan defends employers against a broad range of complaints and threats of legal action involving workplace situations. Because of his background and achievements in employment and labor law, Dan has been recognized repeatedly by Chambers USA, The Best Lawyers in America, Super Lawyers and for the last several years was included as one of the “Top 50”...

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Jovita M. Foster, Armstrong Teasdale Law Firm, Labor Law Attorney
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Jovita Foster is an accomplished litigator working with small- to medium-sized businesses, public utilities, and Fortune 100 and 500 companies in all facets of employment and labor law.

In state and federal jurisdictions and in front of the Appeals Tribunal, Jovita defends employers and managers in disputes involving claims of discrimination, retaliation, violations of public policy, sexual harassment, wrongful termination, and unemployment appeals. She successfully defends employers and managers in arbitration. Jovita also represents broker-dealers in...

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Robert A Kaiser, Employment, Labor, Attorney, Armstrong Teasdale, Law firm
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Bob Kaiser is a member of the Employment and Labor practice group representing emerging and mature businesses in labor and personnel-related disputes. Because employment and labor laws and regulations continue to evolve, he deftly guides management in creating “fences” and boundaries to assess risks and decrease litigation.

A portion of Bob’s practice includes traditional labor law, a focus he has had for more than 25 years. For small- to mid-sized organizations, he handles labor union relations such as union avoidance, collective bargaining, elections, strikes, picketing and other...

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