Elizabeth Rattigan Discusses NLRB Guidance and Enforcement Actions Applicable to Private Employers
March 28, 2013
At the Vermont Bar Association’s mid-year meeting, Downs Rachlin Martin director Elizabeth Rattigan spoke about NLRB Guidance and Enforcement Actions Applicable to All Private Employers, particularly those relating to social media, confidentiality and at-will employment policies.
All private employers, whether or not they have a union, are subject to enforcement actions by the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”). Employers need to be aware of the NLRB’s recent decisions because their policies may run afoul of their employees’ protected rights.
The NLRB has been very active in the past year deciding whether employment policies and handbook rules violate the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”) Section 7 rights of employees, whether the employer is unionized or not. At risk of being challenged is any employer policy that could reasonably be understood by an employee to interfere with rights protected under the NLRA.
“Three common and newsworthy employer policies—social media, confidentiality and at-will employment—have been the subject of recent NLRB decisions and advice memos,” Rattigan said. “These decisions highlight the fine line that employers must walk between prohibiting unwanted conduct and avoiding undue restrictions on protected activity.”
Rattigan’s presentation was part of a panel discussion entitled “Employment Law: Agents of Change.” Based in the firm’s Lebanon, NH office, she regularly provides advice and training to management in order to strengthen employment practices with regard to employment law compliance and human resource issues including hiring, discipline, termination, reductions in force, wage and hour practices, employee training, personnel policies and executive employment agreements.
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