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02 Oct 2012 NLRB Decides First Facebook Discharge Case; Holds for Employer but Finds “Courtesy” Requirement Unlawful

The NLRB, in its first decision on a pending Facebook discharge case, has decided to side with the decision of a Board ALJ and find that a car salesman’s posting of pictures and comments on Facebook was not protected concerted activity. Specifically, the Board affirmed the ALJ’s finding that the salesman was discharged for posting pictures of (and sarcastic comments about) a new Land Rover which had been driven into a pond by a customer’s 13-year old son at…

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28 Sep 2012 Husband Organizes; Wife Gets Fired. NLRB Orders Reinstatement

In a decision issued last week, the NLRB found that an employer violated the National Labor Relations Act by terminating the wife of a man who was seeking to organize part of the company’s workforce. The husband, a driver, sought to organize the company’s 200 drivers.  When the company found out about these efforts, the wife’s supervisor relayed the CEO’s message that the plant would shut down if it was unionized and inquired about her husband’s attempts to organize. …

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25 Sep 2012 “Context Matters” Reasons the Board as it Forgives Workplace Vulgarity and Lying

Shortly before a decertification election, an anonymous warehouse worker wrote vulgar statements on union newsletters in the employee breakroom (you can read the vulgar statements in the Board’s actual decision here). The anonymous employee accidentally confessed to writing the statements (in a phone call to a company vice president whom the employee mistakenly believed to be his union rep) and was terminated for vulgar statements and lying to investigators.  The ALJ upheld the termination reasoning that the egregiousness of the employee’s behavior removed…

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21 Sep 2012 NLRB Weekly Summary of Decisions for September 10-14, 2012

The National Labor Relations Board’s (the “NLRB”) weekly summary of decisions for September 10-14, 2012, is now available on the Board’s website. The summary of NLRB decisions can be accessed by visiting the NLRB’s website here or clicking on the link below. NLRB Weekly Summary of Decisions for September 10-14, 2012 btlaborBT Labor Relations is managed by the labor law attorneys at Barnes & Thornburg. The blog aims to be a source for news, analysis, and commentary on traditional labor legal…

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20 Sep 2012 NLRB Rules on First Social Media Policy Case; Find Policy Unlawful

On Sept. 7, 2012 the NLRB issued its first decision on a social-media policy, overturning an ALJ decision and finding that Costco Wholesale Corp.’s social-media policy violated Section 8(a)(1) of the NLRA by inhibiting employees’ from exercising their rights under Act. Costco’s policy stated, in pertinent part, that statements posted electronically that “damage the Company, defame any individual or damage any person’s reputation” could potentially be grounds for discipline, up to and including termination. The…

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18 Sep 2012 NLRB’s Inspector General Finds that NLRB’s Head Attorney Violated Ethical Rules

In a report issued on Sept. 13, 2012 but made public on Sept. 17, the NLRB’s Office of the Inspector General (the “IG”), found that the NLRB’s Acting General Counsel, Lafe Solomon, violated ethics rules by “personally and substantially” participating in an official capacity in a matter in which he had a financial interest. The IG’s report explained that in spite of knowing that he may not have been properly permitted to participate in deciding…

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12 Sep 2012 NLRB Weekly Summary of Decisions for September 3-7, 2012

The National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) weekly summary of decisions for September 3-7, 2012, is now available on the Board’s website. The summary of NLRB decisions can be accessed by visiting the NLRB’s website here or clicking on the link below.  NLRB Weekly Summary of Decisions for September 3-7, 2012. btlaborBT Labor Relations is managed by the labor law attorneys at Barnes & Thornburg. The blog aims to be a source for news, analysis, and commentary on traditional labor legal…

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11 Sep 2012 Republican Committees Continue Critical Look at NLRB

On Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012, the House Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions, and the Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Training , will hold a joint hearing they have entitled “Expanding the Power of Big Labor: The NLRB’s Growing Intrusion into Higher Education.” The hearing can be viewed via live stream by clicking here. The Subcommittees’ press release announcing the hearing reads, “President Obama’s National Labor Relations Board has taken a number of actions in recent years that…

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11 Sep 2012 NHLPA Seeks to Block Lockout Under Provincial Labour Law

With the clock ticking towards an 11:59 p.m. contract expiration this Saturday night, a fascinating international labor law issue has suddenly emerged and it threatens the apparent unified strategy of the NHL owners to lockout the players. There are 30 NHL teams. Seven of those teams are in Canada with two teams in the Province of Alberta (the Oilers and the Flames) and one in the Province of Quebec (the Canadiens). Under the law of Alberta, before…

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06 Sep 2012 Arizona District Court Upholds State Secret Ballot Law for Union Elections

In a long-awaited opinion, the Arizona federal district court dismissed a lawsuit brought by the NLRB challenging an Arizona constitutional provision which requires that union elections be conducted by secret ballot.  The opinion, dated yesterday, is a blow to the NLRB, which had taken the position that the state’s secret ballot constitutional provision was facially invalid because it was preempted by federal labor law.  The district court found that the constitutional provision did not on its…

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