Employment, Benefits & Labor

A National Labor Relations Board ("NLRB") Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") recently held that confidentiality policies instructing or requesting employees not to discuss workplace investigations with other employees violated the National Labor Relations Act. In recent decisions, the NLRB has held that blanket confidentiality policies that direct employees not to discuss investigations impermissibly infringe on workers' rights to discuss the terms and conditions of their employment. In the Boeing case, the ALJ extended those prior holdings to confidentiality policies that request or recommend that employees not discuss investigations, stating that such policies also tend to chill employees from exercising their rights to engage in concerted activity. In rendering the decision, the ALJ recognized that confidentiality policies are important to protect the integrity of workplace violations, prevent retaliation, and ensure employees are comfortable reporting workplace issues, but reiterated that he was bound to follow NLRB precedent. It is expected that Boeing will appeal the decision.