The Hills & Dales General Hospital employee handbook required employees to represent the hospital in a “positive” manner. It also prohibited “negativity,” including negative comments or gossip about fellow workers.

An administrative law judge had previously ruled that the policy against negativity violated the National Labor Relations Act, while upholding the requirement to represent the hospital in a positive manner. On Tuesday of this week the NLRB found that both parts violated Section 7 of the Act. The board was not impressed by the hospital’s argument that employees had been involved in formulating the policy.  It ruled that the policy is overbroad, perhaps prohibiting negative comments about work-related matters. Case No. 07-CA-053556.

And the hospital? It remains positive and plans an appeal.