March 18, 2015

employer targeted by nlrb The National Labor Relations Board, or NLRB, exists to scrutinize and remedy labor practices that are unfair to workers.

They’ve also been on a roll in the last year. They’ve been ruling left and right that even the most seemingly innocent of employers’ policies are overly broad and restrictive to their employees’ right to communicate and seek better work conditions.

For example, recent NLRB rulings have invalidated employer policies prohibiting all of the following:

  • Communications about workplace investigations into employee misconduct;
  • Communications about leaves of absence, sick calls, or workers’ compensation injuries;
  • Communications about tips/gratuities with customers or employees;
  • Insubordination against management without adequately defining the type of conduct prohibited;
  • Lack of respect with employees or customers or failure to work “harmoniously” with co-workers without adequately defining the conduct to allow activity protected under the NLRA;
  • “Boisterous” activity in the workplace;
  • Making disparaging comments about the employer or engaging in activity that might be harmful to the “smooth operation, goodwill, or profitability” of the employer;
  • “Unauthorized dispersal of sensitive Company operating materials or information to any unauthorized person” without adequately defining the information that cannot be disclosed and allowing an exception for information protected by the NLRA;
  • and social media postings regarding wages and any other terms and conditions of employment.*

*List copyright Foley & Lardner LLP.

Of course, most employers who find themselves in violation never meant to do anything wrong. But once the NLRB decides to take action, these cases become very expensive very quickly for the employers…

We’re telling you all this for a reason. This is an area in which being informed and proactive can greatly reduce your chances that the NLRB will target you. But first you need to know what you’re up against.

Mini-museum of NLRB Horrors

NLRB Strikes Again. Can the firing of an angry employee who yelled at and called his employer obscene names during a meeting possibly be unlawful? The NLRB thought so!

Following the Law May Be Trickier than You Think. Compliance basics that you need to be aware of. Keep an eye out for sections such as, “I Really Can’t Have a No-Gossiping Policy?!” and “My Employees Can Say WHAT On Social Media?!”

SendGrid, Applebee’s & the NLRB: Oh My! What about employees complaining publically rather than internally, or for releasing customer images/data without consent? It depends…

So What Can You Do?

Your policies need to pass the NLRB test, and there’s no way to know unless you have your employee handbook evaluated by an expert in employment law.

CEDR will waive our customary $299 fee for our evaluation service if you request it BEFORE July 30, 2015. Simply email it to or fax to 909-752-4347 and mention this article. There’s no risk and no obligation, it’s just invaluable information. If your handbook is great, we’ll tell you so. And if it’s putting you at risk, we’ll let you know where and why.

(Already know your handbook needs help, or don’t have one yet? Ask about our Seasonal Sale! We have additional savings just for our CEDR friends!)

Have questions? Call CEDR today at 866-414-6056, or email We’re here to help employers stay safe!

Friendly Disclaimer: This information is general in nature and is not intended to provide legal advice or replace individual guidance about a specific issue with an attorney or HR expert. The information on this page is general human resources guidance that is believed to be current as of the date of publication. Note that CEDR is not a law firm, and as the law is always changing, you should consult with a qualified attorney or HR expert who is familiar with all of the facts of your situation before making a decision about any human resources or employment law matter.