MCPc, Inc. and Jason Galanter

Decision: The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) recently upheld an administrative law judge’s decision that an employer’s confidentiality policy, which prohibited employees from internally disseminating any confidential information, violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). The policy stated that “dissemination of confidential information within [the company], such as personal or financial information, etc., will subject the responsible employee to disciplinary action or possible termination.” The NLRB held that this language violated Section 8(a)(1) of the NLRA because employees would reasonably construe the rule to prohibit discussion of wages or other terms and conditions of employment with their coworkers.

Impact: There have been several recent cases in which NLRB administrative law judges have struck down overly broad confidentiality policies. This case demonstrates that the NLRB itself is likely to uphold such decisions. Employers should regularly review their policies to ensure that they comply with the most recent guidance from the NLRB and with other relevant laws. Confidentiality policies, in particular, should be narrowly drafted to encompass only trade secrets and other confidential, proprietary information rather than information that might also relate to wages and other terms and conditions of employment.