June 1, 2015
NLRB Rules that Employees may use Employer E-mail System to Engage in Concerted Activity
- June 1, 2015
- Publication: MSBA Section of Labor and Employment Law Newsletter
- Related Attorneys: Jack Blum
- Related Practice Areas: Employment Law
In a recent decision, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruled that employees who are granted access to their employer's e-mail system for business purposes are generally entitled to use these work e-mail systems to engage in discussions about the terms and conditions of their employment while on non-working time. This decision, which applies to both union and non-union workplaces, overruled a precedential decision issued by the NLRB in 2007. As a result of this decision, many employers may need to revise their employee handbook provisions regarding the use of the employer's computer systems in order to avoid a potential unfair labor practice charge.
In Purple Communications, 361 N.L.R.B No. 126 (2014), an employer assigned to its employees individual e-mail accounts on its e-mail system, which the employees could access from both their workstations and their personal computers and smartphones. The employees' use of the employer's e-mail system was subject to several provisions set forth in the employer's handbook. One provision stated that access to the employer's e-mail system "should be used for business purposes only." Another provided that employees were "strictly prohibited" from using the e-mail system to engage in activities on behalf of "organizations or persons with no professional or business affiliation with the Company" or to send "uninvited e-mail of a personal nature."
The NLRB charges at issue in Purple Communications arose out of an unsuccessful union organization election at two of the employer's worksites. The union filed objections to the election results, claiming that the employer's electronic communications policy interfered with the election. It also filed an unfair labor practice charge with the NLRB. Based on the union's complaint, the NLRB's general counsel issued a complaint against the employer regarding the policy.
December 11, 2018
Eleven Paley Rothman attorneys were named to the 2019 Maryland Super Lawyers list and four were selected 2019 "Maryland Rising Stars." Glenn Cooper was selected to the Top 10 in Maryland, and Trish Weaver to the Top 50 Women.Read More
The Trump Administration’s continued efforts to scale back the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has many employers confused about what’s left and what their obligations are.Read More
Paley Rothman shares this library of resources with clients and friends of the firm to help them stay ahead of legal and business developments and trends. Here, you will find helpful tips and tools written by our attorneys and relevant to our areas of practice.Read More