Wednesday, January 18, 2017

NLRB Holds Employer's Work Rule Prohibiting 'Insubordination Or Other Disrespectful Conduct’ And ‘Boisterous Or Other Disruptive Activity In The Workplace’ Violated Section 7 of NLRA

In what many will call the National Labor Relation Board's ("NLRB") continued broad expansion of Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act ("NLRA"), the Board upheld an administrative law judge's decision holding that an employee’s call to his coworker to warn him that his job was in jeopardy was an inherently "concerted protected activity" and that the employer violated Section 8(a)(1) of the Act by discharging the employee for this activity because their policy would "reasonably construe" their employees to prohibit Section 7 activity.

More specifically, an employee of Component Bar Products, Inc. told his coworker that the coworker’s supervisor was upset with him and that his coworker may no longer have a job. The employee was then discharged for misconduct in violation of Component's personal conduct policy by involving himself in his coworker’s personnel activities and exceeding his authority by telling his coworker that he was fired.  In finding for the employee, the administrative law judge found that some of Component’s workplace rules violated Section 8(a)(1) of the NLRA by chilling the exercise of employees’ Section 7 rights of joining together to advance their interests. Component filed an exception to the administrative law judge’s decision, but the Board upheld the ALJ's decision.

The case is Component Bar Products, Inc., 364 NLRB No. 140 (Nov. 8, 2016).  For more on this decision, see here.

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