Effective November 14, 2011, private employers will be required to post a workplace notice of employee rights under the National Labor Rights Act. The posting requirement is intended to inform all employees of their rights under the NLRA and is patterned, in part, after the posting requirements of the FLSA, the FMLA and the recent DOL rule which requires the posting of NLRA rights by federal contractors.

This new NLRB rule [pdf] has drawn some heat from employer friendly organizations who call the new rule “punitive;” however, union friendly organizations view the rule as a much needed step to make sure employees are apprised of their rights. The NLRB noted that the rule is aimed at protecting an employees understanding of their right to unionize, which is in jeopardy due to a recent decline in union membership.

So what will be required? 

Every employer covered under the NLRA will be required to post an 11 by 17 inch poster “wherever notices to employees regarding personnel rules and policies are customarily posted and are readily seen by employees, not simply where other legally mandated notices are posted.” For example, if an employer posts personnel rules on the internet or on a company intranet, the notice must also be posted there.

Employers with 20% of their workforce that are not proficient in English must also post a notice in the appropriate language, which will be provided by the NLRB. All posters will be available for download on the NLRB website by November 1, 2011 or at no charge in hard copy from NLRB regional offices.  A fact sheet regarding the posting is currently available.

Although there are no fines for not posting the required notice, the posting consequences can be substantial. For example, failure to post the notice will be considered an unfair labor practice under NLRA Section 8(a)(1); a willful failure to post the notice may be considered evidence of improper motivation for other acts alleged to be unfair labor practices; and in appropriate situations the NLRB may extend the statute of limitations for the filing of other unfair labor practices where an employer fails to comply with the new posting obligations.