Thursday, May 9, 2013

NLRB Employee Rights Posting Requirement

According to US News & World Reports: "The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia said the National Labor Relations Board violated employers' free speech rights in in trying to force them to display the posters or face charges of committing an unfair labor practice."

Ever since the NLRB has required the "Employee Rights" poster to be posted by virtually all employers, it has continued to be challenged in the court system.  The unions seemed to look to this new law to boost union membership since it would put the information readily available to almost all employees in the United States. 

Earlier this year, the same appeals court brought into question hundreds of rulings by the current National Labor Relations Board after learning that President Obama's recess appointments to the board were ruled unconstitutional. The Obama Administration is appealing that decision to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The poster rule would have required more than 6 million businesses to display an 11-by-17-inch notice in a prominent location explaining the rights of workers to join a union and bargain collectively to improve wages and working conditions. The posters also made clear that workers have a right not to join a union or be coerced by union officials.

The National Association of Manufacturers, U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other business groups complained that the regulation violated free speech rights by forcing employers to display labor laws in a way that some believed was too skewed in favor of unionization.
A three-judge panel of the court agreed, ruling that the National Labor Relations Act protects the rights of employers not to publish the government's poster if they find the language in it objectionable. That protection is similar to the First Amendment freedom of speech, said Judge A. Raymond Randolph, who was appointed to the court in 1990 by President George H.W. Bush.
"First Amendment law acknowledges this apparent truth: all speech inherently involves choices of what to say and what to leave unsaid," Randolph said.
Randolph's decision was joined by Karen LeCraft Henderson, also a Bush appointee, and Janice Rogers Brown, who was appointed by Bush's son, President George W. Bush.
"Today, manufacturers claim an important victory in the fight against an activist NLRB and its aggressive agenda," said National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons. "The poster rule is a prime example of a government agency that seeks to fundamentally change the way employers and employees communicate."
A labor board spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The board had argued that the rule was needed because many workers — including recent immigrants, high school students and other employees in nonunion workplaces — were not aware of their right to engage in collective bargaining.
Unions said the posters were needed to address widespread misunderstandings about labor law and many workers' fear of exercising their rights under it.
The rule was supposed to take effect last year, but the appeals court had blocked it after lower courts split on whether the rule was valid. A federal judge in Washington, D.C., found the poster rule was acceptable, but limited how it could be enforced. Another federal judge in South Carolina said the labor board exceeded congressional authority when it approved the poster requirement in 2011.
In response to this court decision, National Safety Compliance is no longer sending the supplemental posting with all Federal Labor Law Poster orders.  It is, however, available for free with the purchase of the Federal Labor Law Poster, or available by itself for only $2.00 with 2-sided lamination.

For more information, please feel free to contact National Safety Compliance.

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