Date: December 21st, 2011 Written by David E. Paseltiner
The National Labor Relations Board (the "NLRB”) has published its final rule requiring almost all private-sector employers subject to the National Labor Relations Act (the "Act") to post notice(s) (the "Notice”) in the workplace informing their employees of their rights under the Act. Importantly, this rule applies to unionized and non-unionized employers. The NLRB’s jurisdiction is very broad and covers the great majority of non-government employers with a workplace in the United States. The Notice is required to be posted no later than April 30, 2012.
The rights identified in the Notice include, but are not limited to, the right to:
• join or organize a union;
• act together with co-workers to improve conditions;
• discuss wages, benefits or other terms of employment with co-workers or a union;
• collectively bargain with the employer;
• strike and picket; and
• refrain from such activities.
The Notice informs employees that they should contact the NLRB when they believe their rights have been violated and sets forth appropriate contact information. The Notice should be posted in conspicuous places, where other workplace rights notices and company notices concerning personnel rules or policies are customarily posted. Reasonable steps should be taken to ensure the Notice is not altered, defaced, or covered by any other material, or otherwise rendered unreadable. Employers must also post the notice on an intranet or an internet site if personnel rules and policies are customarily posted there. Federal contractors who already post a similar notice pursuant to Executive Order 13496 will be in compliance with this rule. The Notice must be posted in either of two formats (11 x 17-inch one-page poster or a two-page 8 1/2 x 11-inch version) and is available at https://www.nlrb.gov/poster
and from commercial suppliers.
The Notice must be posted in English and in another language if at least 20% of employees are not proficient in English and speak the other language. Translations of the poster are also available at https://www.nlrb.gov/poster. If a translation of the appropriate language is not available, the employer will not be liable for non-compliance. If a workforce includes two or more groups, each constituting at least 20 percent of the workforce, who speak different languages, the employer must post the Notice in the language spoken by the larger group, and then may either post the Notice in the language(s) spoken by the other group(s) or, at the employer’s option, distribute copies of the Notice to those employees in their language(s). If such an employer is also required to post the Notice electronically, it must do so in each of those languages.
According to the NLRB, in most cases, the NLRB expects that employers who fail to post the Notice were unaware of the rule and will comply when requested by a Board agent. In such cases, the unfair labor practice case will typically be closed without further action. However, the NLRB also may extend the 6-month statute of limitations for filing a charge involving other unfair labor practice allegations against the employer, and, if an employer knowingly and willfully fails to post the Notice, that failure may be considered evidence of unlawful motive in an unfair labor practice case involving other alleged violations of the Act.
Employers, particularly non-unionized employers, should be prepared for questions the Notice is likely to generate from employees. We suggest that supervisors and managers be made aware that the Notice is required due to a NLRB rule and be instructed on what they legally can say and do in response to employee inquiries or protected activities by employees.
Please contact us if you have any questions regarding the Notice or if you are unclear whether the rule applies to your organization. We will be happy to be of assistance to you.