Posted on / Updated on / in Blog & Employment Policies & HR Policies /

Currently the National Labor Relations Board believes that employees who are protected by the National Labor Relations Act are unaware of their rights.

This rule hasn’t been passed yet, but there is strong belief that it will so we’d like to make sure you are aware of it now and that you also get an opportunity to send in any comments that you have about the rule to the Board.

This Proposed Rule for Notification of Employee Rights would put in place several provisions that would increase knowledge of the NLRA by employees, ensuring workplaces continue to remain fair.

There are potential penalties for non-compliance, so take a few minutes to read what this change may mean for your organization.

After reading this article, we also recommend getting registered for our upcoming Seminar:

What Is the Proposed Rule for Notification of Employee Rights?

On December 22, 2010, the Federal Register published a Notice of Proposed Rule making that would require all private employers subject to the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) to notify employees of their rights under the NLRA by posting a notice.

The purpose of the rule is “to increase knowledge of the NLRA among employees, to better enable the exercise of rights under the statute, and to promote statutory compliance by employers and unions.”

The notice must be posted in places where other workplace posters are posted. Also, if the employer routinely communicates important information to employees electronically, the employer would be required to post this notice electronically as well.

If a significant portion of the workforce speaks a language other than English, the employer would be required to post the notice in that language.

The public is invited to comment on this proposed rule until February 22, 2011. The NLRB will review the comments and then issue a final rule requiring the notice posting.

What It Requires?

To post a notice informing employees of rights under NLRA including organizing a union; forming, joining or assisting a union; bargaining collectively; discussing terms and conditions of employment (i.e., salary) with co-workers or union; taking action; striking and picketing; and refraining from any of these activities.

The notice also includes a list of illegal activities.

What Are the Penalties for Not Posting?

If employer was unaware of the posting requirement, a Board (NLRB) agent would request that they do so and the case would be closed without further action.

The Board also could extend the 6 month statute of limitations for filing a charge of unfair labor practice involving other unfair labor practice allegations against the employer

If the employer knowingly fails to post, the failure could be seen as evidence of unlawful motive in an unfair labor practice case involving other alleged violations of the NLRA.

What are Some Employer Concerns?

Proposed language is one-sided favoring unions.

Penalties for not posting encourage “bad behavior” by unions and union supporters which could require employers to regularly check to make sure the notice is still posted.

What Should Employers Do?

Right Now – Wait. Since it is only a proposed rule, employers do not need to do anything until a final rule is issued, however you should think briefly about a course of action should this proposal pass.

Comment. Go to www.regulations.gov prior to February 22 and submit your comments referencing 3142-AA07 (29 C.F.R. Part 104). Comments can also be submitted by hand-delivery or mail.

Consider a counter-posting. Employers have free speech right under Section 8(c) of the NLRA, so employers can post a companion notice that clearly states their preference for a direct relationship with employees.

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about the author: Amy Letke

Amy Newbanks Letke, SPHR, GPHR, is the Founder of Integrity HR, Inc. Amy provides workplace solutions to improve performance, reduce liability and increase profits. She is passionate about helping other entrepreneurs and business owners achieve success.