New Poster Requirement for Almost All Private-Sector Employers
On August 30, 2011, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued a final rule requiring employers subject to the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) to post notices informing their employees of their rights under the NLRA. Effective November 14, 2011, the final rule applies to almost all private-sector employers, regardless of the number of employees or whether a union is currently in operation. It does not apply to agricultural, railroad, or airline employers, nor the United States or any wholly owned government corporation. Very small employers that have a minimal impact on interstate commerce may also be excluded, dependent on the Board's jurisdiction.
The NLRB believes many NLRA-protected employees are unaware of their rights. This final rule strives to increase employee knowledge of their rights, better enable employees to exercise their rights, and promote employer and union statutory compliance. Therefore, the notice informs employees of their rights under the NLRA, illegal employer practices, and illegal union practices. Specifically, the notice informs employees they have the right to form, join, or assist a union in order to negotiate with their employer, bargain collectively, and generally operate as a union by acting collectively. Employees are also informed that employers are prohibited from taking adverse actions based on union membership or using coercive techniques to encourage or discourage membership. Finally, the notice informs employees of union limitations, such as discriminating against fellow employees for non-membership.
The 11-by-17 inch poster, available for free download here, must be conspicuously displayed where employees are likely to take notice. This includes an employer intranet site if similar rules and policies are typically posted online. Translated versions of the poster are also available and must be posted in the language the employees speak at workplaces where 20 percent or more of the employees are not fluent in English.
While the Board does not have the authority to levy fines, the knowing and willful failure to comply with the posting requirement by November 14, 2011 may be considered evidence of unlawful motive in an unfair labor practice case involving other NLRA violations. Non-compliance may also result in an extension of the 6-month statute of limitations for filing an unfair labor practice charge. For more information, click here for the full text of the final rule or here for the Board's answers to frequently asked questions.
Ahlers & Cooney's Labor and Employment Practice Group
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