Today, the NRLB officially published a Final Rule that requires private-sector employers, both union and non-union, to post a notice in their workplaces notifying employees of their rights under the NLRA. Pursuant to the new rule, employers subject to the NLRA must “post notices to employees, in conspicuous places, informing them of their NLRA rights, together with Board contact information and information containing basic enforcement procedures . . . .”
The notice (pages 185-190 of the Final Rule (pdf)) contains a list of employee rights under the NLRA. A few examples of the rights that are listed include:
- The right to act together to improve wages and working conditions;
- The right to discuss wages and benefits and other terms and conditions of employment with other employees;
- The right to form, join and assist a union;
- The right to bargain collectively and to discuss conditions of employment and union organizing with a union and with coworkers;
- The right to strike and picket, depending on the purpose or means; and
- The right to choose not to do any of these activities.
The notice also provides examples of unlawful conduct under the NLRA and tells employees how to contact the NLRB with questions or complaints.
Like other workplace notices, the employee rights notice must be posted in a conspicuous location where it will be readily seen by employees. If an employer customarily posts notices to employees concerning personnel rules or policies on an internet or intranet site, then the employer must also post the notice electronically. However, employers are not required to distribute the notice via email, voice mail, text messaging or other related electronic communications, even if they customarily communicate with their employees in that manner.
If 20% or more of the workforce is not proficient in English, and speaks a language other than English, the notice must be posted in the language the employees speak. The NLRB will provide translated versions of the notice.
Employers must post the notice by November 14, 2011. According to the Final Rule, failure to post the notice may result in the following consequences:
- An unfair labor practice under the NLRA;
- An extension of the six-month statute of limitations for filing a charge involving other unfair labor practice allegations against the employer; and
- Use of the fact of non-posting as evidence of unlawful motive in an unfair labor practice charge involving other alleged violations of the NLRA, provided that the employer “knowingly and willfully” failed to post the notice.
For labor professionals, the NLRB's rule is another compliance issue that will need to be addressed and monitored. The NLRB has announced that it will have copies of the notice available for no cost beginning on November 1. Employers may also download copies of the notice from the NLRB's website. Small businesses may or may not be subject to this requirement and should consult a labor attorney on that question, as should any other employer with questions about the NLRB's action.