Care One Management was victorious against the Service Employees International Union in an election to represent Care One employees. In response to lingering bad blood between pro-union and pro-company employees, the Company posted a memo titled “Teamwork and Dignity and Respect” alongside the Company’s existing Workplace Violence Prevention Policy. The memo stated, in pertinent part, “I want everyone to be on notice that threats, intimidation, and harassment will not be tolerated at Care One Madison Avenue. We will enforce the Workplace Violence Prevention Policy to keep our workplace free from such improper conduct.”
I suspect this is the same response that many companies reading this post would have. I know this is what several of my clients have done in the past. Unfortunately, according to the current National Labor Relations Board, this runs afoul of the law. The Board recently agreed with an NLRB Administrative Law Judge that employees reading the memo calling on workers to refrain from violence, intimidation, and harassment, and to treat other with dignity and respect would “reasonably” interpret the message as prohibiting union organizing activity. Huh? Did the Board really just rule that violence, threats, intimidation, and harassment are a lawful part of union organizing? It sure did.