Get ready now for an aggressive NLRB; meanwhile, get your ADA house in order, say panelists at BLR’s Advanced Employment Issues Symposium (AEIS). Good news? It’s not too late to act.
Under proposed NLRB rule changes, employers will have less of a chance to make their cases for staying union-free, says Al Vreeland, AEIS panelist and shareholder in Lehr Middlebrooks & Vreeland, PC.
Unions are desperate, Vreeland says. They’re at a tipping point, and they need members.
We can expect a reduced time before elections, down from an average of 38 days to 10-21 days. And even though the union organizers can take a year or more to get ready, employers may be taken by surprise.
They’re going to have to disclose employee phone numbers and email addresses and provide a voter list quickly. And challenges to voters will be resolved after the election.
Although these are proposals for now, Vreeland says that the NLRB openly acknowledges that this will be the rule.
What this means for employers is that they must prepare now. Vreeland suggests that you let your employees know every day why it’s in their best interest to stay union-free.
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Consider all your policies and practices, adds attorney Susan Fentin, panelist and partner at Skoler, Abbott & Presser, PC. For example, if you don’t have a grievance policy, institute one now. Then when the union struts that as something to offer, you can say “Oh, we’ve already got that.”
Poster Requirement Postponed But Not Dead
The NLRB requirement that employers post a notice of employee rights under the NLRA (in particular, the right to organize and the right to engage in concerted activity) has now been postponed until January 31.
Some challenged are being mounted, but they likely won’t block the rule, Vreeland says. Some are considering posting their union-free statement along with the new poster, he adds.
The other area where the NLRB is making waves is with regard to social media communications that may be protected as concerted activity. You can’t forbid employees from discussing wages, says Fentin. So such discussions can’t be blocked just because they occur on social media pages. “FaceBook is the new water cooler,” adds attorney Charles Plumb, moderator and shareholder at McAfee & Taft.
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Applies to Union and Non-Union
These rules about posting and concerted activity apply to both union and non-union employers, notes attorney Kara Shea, panelist and member at Miller & Martin, PLLC.
And It’s Not Just Unions You Need to Worry About…
As a California employer, you need to stay on top of the latest NLRB news and developments. But there’s so much more to keep track of, too:
- New California and federal court cases
- Employee leaves
- Privacy and monitoring policies
- ADA/FEHA accommodation and compliance
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