Anyone who reads my Roetzel Recap: Labor Relations or has listened to me give one of dozens of speeches on how the National Labor Relations Act applies to non-union companies and how the National Labor Relations Board is targeting non-union companies will already know this. But, until no company’s handbook violates the Act, it is my duty to report these common cases.

The handbook policy stated, “Solicitation discussions of a non-commercial nature, by Associates, are limited to the non-working hours of the solicitor as well as the person being solicited and in non-work areas. (Working hours do not include meal breaks or designated break periods.)”

The NLRB found that this policy restricted Section 7 activity because it prohibited solicitation, including union solicitation in work areas during non-work time. The Board held that the rule “expressly provides that solicitations are limited to non-working hours and . . . non-work areas, including that both conditions must be satisfied before solicitation is permitted. Respondent argues that the rule permits solicitation in work areas when both employees are on non-work time. Perhaps that is what the Respondent meant to say, but it is not what the rule says.”

This case reinforces how critical it is for companies to have labor lawyers review and correct corporate handbooks before the National Labor Relations Board examines them with a fine tooth comb.