Whether its employees are represented by a union or not, effective November 14, 2011, every employer subject to the National Labor Relations Act ("NLRA") must conspicuously post notices to employees informing them of their rights under the NLRA. Among other things, the new notice will contain:
- A summary of employee rights, with examples of violations of those rights by either employers or unions, and an affirmation that unlawful conduct will not be permitted.
- Information about the National Labor Relations Board (the "NLRB" or "Board"), the Board's contact information, and details on how to file a charge with the Board.
- Notice of the 6-month statute of limitations for filing charges with the Board.
The text of the actual notice is here.
Details of the Posting
The NLRA notice will need to be posted and maintained in conspicuous places where it can be readily seen by employees, including all places where notices to employees concerning personnel rules or policies are customarily posted. Thus, the NLRB states that this new notice should be placed in the same locations that the employer posts other federally-required notices regarding Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Family and Medical Leave Act and other employment laws.
Although not currently available, by November copies of the notice will be available at no cost by contacting the NLRB at any of its offices or via download from the Board's website. Employers that download and print the Notice from the Board's website will have two formats available for printing and posting ( acceptable in either black and white or in color): a one-page 11x17-inch version and a two-page 8 1/2 x11-inch version, which must be printed in landscape format and taped together to form the 11x17-inch poster. (Alternatively, employers may purchase a poster from a commercial publisher consolidating the new NLRB notice onto a single document with other federally mandated labor and employment notices, as long as the consolidation does not alter the size, format, content, or size and style of type of the NLRB's notice.)
Where at least 20 percent of employees are not proficient in English, the employer must also post the notice in the most commonly used foreign language, and may either post or physically distribute the notice in other foreign languages to employees comprising 20 percent or more of the workforce. The Board plans to provide translations of the notice in all of the languages most commonly used in the United States. Employers who customarily post notices to employees regarding personnel rules or policies on an internet or intranet site will also be required to prominently post the Board's notice on those sites as well, with translations for all groups of employees constituting at least 20 percent of the workforce. The Board is not currently requiring employers to provide the notice to employees by e-mail or other forms of electronic communication.
Where employees work at remote sites or report to various worksites, employers must nonetheless post the required notice at its employees' work locations.
Because federal contractors are already required to post an almost identical notice of employee rights, 29 CFR part 471, they will automatically comply with the NLRB's new rule by posting the Department of Labor's notice.
The Effects of Failing to Comply
Failing to post the required notice may be considered an unfair labor practice in violation of Section 8(a)(1) of the NLRA, and may also be grounds for tolling the six month statute of limitations for filing a charge in Section 10(b). Additionally, a knowing and willful failure to post the notice may be considered evidence of an unlawful motive in an unfair labor practice case. The Board's traditional cease and desist remedies would apply to any violations of the posting requirement; there would be no monetary penalties for a failure to comply.