Labor Board issues Report on Employee Handbooks

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Your employee handbook may be unlawful. That’s the takeaway from a 30-page report issued by the National Labor Relations Board’s Office of the General Counsel on March 18, 2015.
The report, entitled “Report of the General Counsel Concerning Employer Rules,” presents recent developments on employee handbook rules arising in the context of NLRB cases that address whether particular rules violate the National Labor Relations Act by restricting rights guaranteed under section 7 of the Act. Section 7 gives workers the right to form unions and engage in other types of concerted activity, i.e., when employees, in non-union workplaces,  act together to improve wages or working conditions or engage in other forms of self-help.  The NLRB says that employee handbook rules, such as at-will statements, confidentiality rules, codes of conduct and dress codes,  have a “chilling effect” on section 7 rights violate the Act, which makes it an unfair labor practice for an employer “to interfere with, restrain, or coerce employees in the exercise of the rights guaranteed in Section 7” of the Act.

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