Following its Boeing Company decision, the National Labor Relations Board continues to issue advisory opinions regarding the legality of common employer policies under the National Labor Relations Act. The policies are reviewed as to whether they unreasonably impede employee concerted activity when balanced against legitimate employer interests. In its latest memorandum, the NLRB addressed questions on a number of policies, including employee social media and cell phone use.
Social Media: The employers’ policies banned activities such as posting derogatory information, giving out the employers’ telephone numbers, and using the employers’ systems to post to social media sites. The NLRB had a mixed reaction, finding that the companies in question could maintain the ban on use of their systems and could prohibit employees from posting disparaging information about co-workers. However, they could not prevent employees from posting derogatory information about the company itself, or prevent them from posting their employer’s telephone number.
Cell Phones: Consistent with previous opinions, the NLRB said that employers cannot impose a blanket ban against use of cell phones at work. The employer can regulate their use during actual working time and can take steps to protect against disclosure of proprietary business information, but it must allow employees to use their devices during breaks and before and after work starts.