In its Trump Marina Associates decision, the National Labor Relations Board ("NLRB") recently concluded that an employer violated the National Labor Relations Act ("NLRA") when it maintained and enforced rules restricting employees from speaking to the media about concerted activities, and interrogated an employee about violation of such rules.
Trump Marina Associates operates an Atlantic City casino. An Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") ruled that Trump violated the NLRA when it disciplined employee Mario Spina, an open union supporter, in connection with a union representation election at the casino. Thereafter, Spina was quoted in a union publication to the effect that the ALJ issued the correct ruling and that Trump had discriminated against him. The casino learned of the quote and led an investigation into whether Spina violated the casino's media policy, which provided that only certain individuals were authorized to speak to the media. Spina was then questioned by casino management. The ALJ found, and the NLRB agreed, that Trump's policy against speaking to the media, and its subsequent interrogation, violated the NLRA and the casino was ordered to cease and desist such practices.
Employers should note that, although this dispute involved union organizing efforts, the concerted activities prong of the NLRA applies in non-union environments as well.