On February 5, the regional director for Region 1 of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB or Board) ruled that the student-athletes on Dartmouth College’s men’s basketball team are “employees” under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) and, therefore, are eligible to vote on whether to unionize. Applying the Board’s common law test, the regional director reasoned that the basketball players are employees “because Dartmouth has the right to control the work performed by the men’s varsity basketball team, and because the players perform that work in exchange for compensation.” Although this decision is likely to be appealed to the full Board, it could ultimately result in a ruling with a significant impact on the status of student-athletes across all divisions and all sports within higher education.Continue Reading NLRB Rules That Dartmouth Basketball Players Are Employees

Q. May employees use abusive language when raising grievances about working conditions?

A. In many circumstances, the answer is (again) yes. On May 1, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB or Board) overruled its July 2020 decision that changed the standard for cases involving “abusive employee conduct” during labor disputes and negotiations, reverting back to a test that it used in some form or another for approximately 70 years. In its decision, the NLRB found that an employee did not lose National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) Section 7 protections when he used strong language and acted less than civil when raising grievances about working conditions.Continue Reading NLRB Returns to Former Precedent on Protected Union Activity

Q: What is the current rule on whether an employee can use our company’s email system to distribute union material? Also, are we permitted to require employees to keep workplace investigations confidential without running afoul of the National Labor Relations Act?

A: There are actually two issues that arise from your question, and both were

Q. I heard there have been some significant National Labor Relations Board decisions recently. What do I need to know about them?

A. Over the past few months, the Board’s Republican majority has issued a series of employer-friendly decisions. They involve various topics, including expansion of employer property rights, classification of workers as independent contractors,

Q.  I am the HR Manager for a non-union workplace and we are investigating an issue involving employee misconduct. One of the employees whom I want to interview has requested that a coworker attend the interview as his “representative.” Can we say no?

A.  Yes!

While the NLRB has flip-flopped on this issue several times over the past few decades, the current ruling is that employees in non-union workplaces do not have so-called “Weingarten” rights to representation during company interviews.
Continue Reading Employees’ Right to Representation During Employer Interviews