Is Your Company Subject to the National Labor Relations Act?

    January 2, 2015

    Congress enacted the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”) in 1935 to protect the rights of employees and employers, to encourage collective bargaining, and to curtail certain private-sector labor and management practices that can harm the general welfare of workers, businesses, and the economy. The NLRA affords certain rights to employees to join together to improve wages and working conditions, and provides that covered employees have the right to engage in union activities, including the right to form, join, assist, and be represented by a union. Importantly, the NLRA applies regardless of whether employees are members of a union. The complete text of the NLRA is available on the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) website.

    Most private-sector employees are covered by the NLRA. Because the NLRB has “statutory authority over private-sector employers whose activity in interstate commerce exceeds a minimal level,” most employees and private-sector employers are subject to the jurisdiction of the NLRB, including:

    • Nonprofits,
    • Employee-owned businesses,
    • Labor organizations,
    • Non-union businesses, and
    • Businesses in states with “Right to Work” laws.

    Specific examples of employers covered by the NLRA include the following.

    • Retail employers grossing an annual volume of business of $500,000 or more. These retail employers include, but are not limited to, the amusement industry, apartments and condominiums, casinos, home construction, hotels/motels, restaurants, and private clubs.
    • Shopping centers and office buildings grossing an annual volume of business of $100,000 or more.
    • Non-retailers with an annual inflow or outflow of $50,000 or more.
    • Companies providing essential links in the transportation of goods or passengers with a gross annual volume of $50,000 or more. These companies can include trucking and shipping companies, private bus companies, and warehouses or packing houses.
    • Healthcare and child care businesses with a gross annual volume of $250,000 or more, including hospitals, medical and dental offices, social services organizations, child care centers, and residential care centers.
    • Nursing homes and visiting nurses associations with a gross annual volume of $100,000 or more.
    • Law firms and legal services organizations with a gross annual volume of $250,000 or more.
    • Cultural and educational centers with a gross annual volume of $1 million or more. These centers can include private and nonprofit colleges, universities, art museums, and symphony orchestras.
    • Private contractors who work for the federal government.

    If your company is subject to the NLRA, then you must comply with all of its laws and regulations, including those governing employee social media speech. Moreover, if an employer disciplines or fires an employee for engaging in protected activity, or institutes a workplace rule or policy that would prohibit employees from engaging in such activity, the employer can face serious programs, such as a lawsuit, unfair labor charge, repaying the employees lost wages, and paying their attorneys fees and costs. So this begs the question:

    Should You Fire over Facebook?

    Many companies have disciplined their employees over their social media posts or instituted policies prohibiting certain online activities. But are these employment practices and policies legal? In my next webinar, I will teach you about important labor and employment law issues in the context of social media in the workplace and how to manage employee social media use.

    January 22 | 12:00-1:30 est | $150 Live or OnDemand

    1.5 Hours of CLE Credits Approved in Florida and Louisiana

    Approval Pending in California, Georgia, South Carolina, and Nevada

    Register Now for "Should You Fire over Facebook"

    Social media law attorney, author, professor, and keynote speaker Ethan Wall will:

    • Identify protected employee speech under the NLRA
    • Distinguish the lawfulness of discipline for employee social media use
    • Analyze legal from illegal social media policies and rules
    • Teach you how to draft lawful social media policies
    • Set forth techniques to maximize compliance with federal labor law



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