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.