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14 Dec 2015 Let The Chips Fall: When Is an Impasse An Impasse?

When is an impasse a legal impasse? That’s a decision that courts and the NLRB have kicked around for many years. Last week, the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit affirmed an NLRB decision finding that an employer jumped the gun in declaring that an impasse had been reached largely because its conduct and statements at the table differed from post-bargaining letters declaring a last and final position and impasse.   In…

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04 Jun 2015 WTF? NLRB’s OK with “Cut the Crap?”

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has yet again undercut employers’ efforts to limit profane and vulgar language by workers finding vulgar buttons and stickers to be protected speech under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).   In Pacific Bell Telephone Company and Nevada Bell Telephone Company d/b/a AT&T and Communication Workers of America, Case # 20–CA–080400, the board ruled that the two companies violated the NLRA when they attempted to block workers from wearing…

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20 May 2015 NLRB Continues Assault On Employer Arbitration Agreements

On Monday, May 18, an administrative law judge (ALJ) for the National Labor Relations Board held a company violated the National Labor Relations Act by creating an arbitration program that effectively precluded employees from bringing class action lawsuits against the employer. Interestingly, the arbitration agreement at issue was silent on whether employees “waived” their ability to bring class action lawsuits against the company – unlike other agreements found unlawful by the Board that contained express…

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03 Dec 2014 NLRB Ruling Critical of Company Distribution / Solicitation Rule

The NLRB last week affirmed an earlier ALJ decision finding that Mercedes-Benz US International, Inc.’s non-solicitation and non-distribution rule was overbroad and violated the Act by prohibiting discussions of union organizing by employees in working areas and prohibiting distribution of union literature in “mixed use” or non-working areas.   The portion of MBUSI’s handbook policy on solicitation and distribution provided as follows:   “MBUSI prohibits solicitation and/or distribution of non-work related materials by Team Members…

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06 Oct 2014 Another One Bites the Dust: NLRB Now Rules Certain “No-Disruption Rules” Are Unlawful

  We’ve all seen the immense scrutiny coming down on employer personnel policies by the NLRB in recent years, and a new “no-no” as far as the Board is concerned can be added to the list: “no workplace disruption policies.” In Purple Communications, Inc., 361 NLRB No. 43 (2014), the NLRB took a look at a hearing impaired communication services company that maintained a rule that prohibited employees from “Causing, creating, or participating in a…

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22 Sep 2014 NLRB Says There is Such Thing as a Free Lunch

  This week, the National Labor Relations Board (the NLRB) attempted to disprove the old addage that there’s no such thing as a free lunch. In Gates & Sons Barbeque of Missouri, Inc., decided on September 16, 2014, the three-member panel of the NLRB unanimously affirmed most of the decision reached by an administrative law judge (the ALJ) that a Kansas City barbecue restaurant chain violated employee rights by taking away the meal benefits previously…

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04 Sep 2013 ALJ Calls Out NLRB for Lack of “Intellectual Integrity”

The NLRB has been taking its hits lately from federal judges on everything from recess appointments to its proposed notice posting rule, but last week the punch came from within after an NLRB Administrative Law Judge issued a decision chiding the Board and NLRB General Counsel for their lack of “intellectual integrity.”  The case, decided by ALJ William G. Kocol, involved standards for deferral of NLRB charges to arbitration, but is notable for Judge Kocol’s rancor toward…

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