Tuesday, April 8, 2014

NLRB Holds Hospital's Rule Barring "Negativity" Violates NLRA

On April 1, 2014, the National Labor Relations Board ("NLRB") ruled that Hills and Dales General Hospital's work rules barring "negativity" and requiring employees to represent their employer "in the community in a positive and professional manner" violated the National Labor Relations Act as the three rules instituted by the hospital were overbroad and ambiguous, and could be interpreted by employees as prohibiting activity protected by Section 7 of the NLRA.

The rules implemented stated as follows:

We will not make negative comments about our fellow team members and we will take every opportunity to speak well of each other.

We will represent Hills and Dales in the community in a positive and professional manner in every opportunity.

We will not engage in or listen to negativity or gossip. We will recognize that listening without acting to stop it is the same as participating.

The hospital had enacted these three rules in response to low employee morale and in an attempt to change the Hospital's culture.  The remedy ordered in this case was that the Hospital had to rescind the unlawful rules. There were no claims that the Hospital had disciplined any employee for violating those rules. An employer who disciplines an employee for violating an unlawful rule will be ordered to, among other remedies, revoke such discipline and "make whole" the disciplined employee for the employee's economic losses.

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