The recent National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruling requires immediate attention from employers nationwide. On August 2, 2023, the NLRB delivered a landmark decision in the Stericycle case. It fundamentally alters how workplace policies and handbooks are evaluated under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). This ruling has wide-reaching implications. We published this blog to explain why you should thoroughly review and revise workplace policies.
The NLRB Ruling and Its Implications
The Stericycle decision marks a critical shift regarding how workplace rules are evaluated. It focused on how an employee—particularly one participating in protected activity—might reasonably interpret them. The NLRB has set forth a new standard. If an employee could interpret a work rule as being forceful or intimidating, it may discourage them from engaging in activities protected by the NLRA. This could include standard things such as discussing wages and working conditions with co-workers or circulating petitions for improved work conditions.
Employers must look at their existing policies through this new lens. Do any of your policies inadvertently violate employees’ rights under the NLRA? It is on employers to provide documentary evidence justifying their work rules before any charges of unfair labor practices are levied against them. This calls for a proactive approach. Employers must revisit and revise their handbooks and policies to align with this new standard.
What Should I Do Right Now?
Employers should examine their existing employment policies. Pay close attention to areas highlighted by the Stericycle decision. This includes, but is not limited to, the following:
- Rules about employee conduct
- Conflicts of interest
- Confidentiality of harassment complaints
- Social media use
- Criticism of the company
- The use of company communication resources
Employers must work collaboratively with labor counsel to ensure their policies and rules align with these changes. Stay current regarding any ongoing board decisions that apply to the Stericycle standard. The landscape is evolving, and being informed and prepared is paramount. The need for precise, clear, compliant policies has never been greater. The potential ramifications of maintaining unlawful rules range from back pay awards and adverse effects on union election outcomes to other substantial penalties.
Meet with the Team of Beckemeier LeMoine
At Beckemeier LeMoyne, we understand the complexity and urgency that the recent NLRB ruling brings to the forefront for employers. We are highly experienced with labor laws and are equipped to assist your business. We will ensure that your policies fully comply with the latest legal standards. Schedule a consultation with Beckemeier LeMoine today. Allow us to provide tailored guidance and support in reviewing and revising your workplace policies to withstand scrutiny under the new NLRB standards. Contact us today to ensure your organization is on solid legal ground, protecting your business and employees.