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Not April Foolin’: National Labor Relations Board Finds Employer Rule Requiring Positivity and Professionalism Unlawful


On April 1, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruled unlawful an employer policy requiring that employees refrain from negativity in the workplace and in the community. In Hills and Dales General Hospital Case No. 07-CA-053556, the NLRB continued its recent trend of finding that common employer policies, including policies limiting or requiring civility in social media use, those describing the at-will relationship between an employer and its employees, and certain confidentiality provisions, are overbroad.  We have covered the NLRB’s focus on seemingly innocuous policies in non-union employer settings which have been deemed unlawful (i.e., social media policies, at-will disclaimers and confidentiality policies).

While the Hills and Dales decision will likely surprise some employers with its prohibition on seemingly rational and well-meaning policies, it serves as a strong reminder that the current NLRB remains interested in policing employer rules for potentially overbroad or ambiguous language. To steer clear of these negative outcomes, it is important for employers to work closely with counsel to draft and periodically review their employment policies.

This blog post was summarized from a Barnes & Thornburg LLP Legal Alert. For a more detailed discussion of the NLRB decision or to download a PDF of the Alert at the Barnes & Thornburg website, click here.

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