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NLRB Issues New Report on Employment Handbook Violations: Do you need a Handbook Review?

On March 18, 2015, the Office of the General Counsel for the National Labor Relations Board, Richard F. Griffin Jr., released the much-anticipated report of cases raising significant legal or policy issues arising in the context of employee handbook rules.

In it, General Counsel Griffin makes it clear that although he believes most employers "do not draft their employee handbooks with the object of prohibiting or restricting conduct protected by the National Labor Relations Act (the "Act"), the law does not allow even well-intentioned rules that would inhibit employees from engaging in activities protected by the Act." Similarly, "the mere maintenance of a work rule may violate Section 8(a)(1) of the Act if the rule has a chilling effect on employees' Section 7 activity."

Of significance, this report, Memorandum GC 15-04, compares rules the Office of the General Counsel found lawful with rules found to be unlawful, and explains the General Counsel's reasoning for these findings. Importantly, the report also includes a set of sample rules the Office of the General Counsel believes do not violate the Act. In other words, now that the Office of the General Counsel has released this important guidance, employers should consider reviewing their handbooks and other rules to conform them to the Act.

© 2020 Varnum LLPNational Law Review, Volume V, Number 83

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About this Author

Dennis M. Devaney, labor and employment lawyer, Varnum
Partner

For more than 30 years, Dennis has represented clients in labor and employment disputes, on international trade issues, in litigation and on legislative and regulatory matters. His labor and employment practice focuses on traditional labor law, including representation of clients with respect to matters arising under the National Labor Relations Act. He also represents employers in defense of discrimination claims and with respect to collective bargaining agreement negotiation and administration. He acts as trial counsel in arbitration hearings for his clients throughout...

248-567-7825
Luis E. Avila, Labor Employment Attorney, Varnum Law, Immigration Issues Lawyer, Grand Rapids
Partner

Luis focuses his practice on labor, employment and immigration issues. Luis has a wide range of experience in traditional labor matters, including grievances, arbitrations, collective bargaining negotiations, union drives, and matters in front of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and the Michigan Employment Relations Commission (MERC). Luis has counseled employers on a number of workplace matters, including effective employee handbooks and policies, disciplinary and dispute resolution procedures, discrimination, disability accommodation, wage-hour matters, family medical leave, and harassment and litigation prevention. Luis has experience representing employers under the various state and federal statutes that govern the employment relationship, including the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Luis is fluent in Spanish and English. His immigration experience includes employment and family-based nonimmigrant and immigrant petitions, Form I-9 compliance, visa processing, waivers, DACA and citizenship matters.

616-336-6742