By Joe Leibovich
Beginning January 31, 2012, most private employers will be required to post information on employee rights under the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”). This information is to be posted along other mandated postings, such as those describing minimum wages and rights under Title VII. The requirement is a result of regulations promulgated by the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”)
Most private employers (except very small ones) and most private employees are covered under the NLRA, with some exceptions, such as most governmental employees, agricultural workers, individuals employed by a spouse or parent, and, in most cases, supervisors. The posting requirement applies to unionized and non-unionized workplaces.
The posting, among other things, informs employees of their rights to form a union, to collectively bargain, to discuss wages and benefits and other conditions of employment with co-workers or a union, or to choose not to join a union or take other collective actions, and gives employees contact information for the NLRB.
The posting also must set out various acts that are illegal by both employers and unions. For example, the posting must state it is illegal for an employer to prohibit employees from talking about or soliciting for a union during non-break time, or from distributing union literature during non-work time in non-work areas such as parking lots and break rooms. There are other specific requirements as to what the posting must contain. Fortunately, the NLRB has a free, downloadable copy of the poster on its website, http://www.nlrb.gov/poster.
Many employers have criticized the new posting requirement, arguing that the rule is too pro-union, and that it is unfair for an unelected government agency to be able to mandate what employers must do. Nonetheless, the rule will be in effect, and employers who fail to put up the required notice could be charged with an unfair labor practice.
As always, if you have any questions about whether or not your business should post this new notice, you should contact an attorney.
UPDATE: This report has been updated to note that the posting requirement has been postponed until January 31, 2012.