On March 2, 2012, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia issued a ruling upholding the National Labor Relations Board’s authority to issue a rule requiring employers to post notices informing employees of their rights under the National Labor Relations Act (the “Act”). Following the District Court’s ruling, employers must now comply with the notice-posting rule by April 30, 2012.
The National Labor Relations Board (the “Board”) issued the notice-posting rule on August 25, 2011. The effective date of the rule has been postponed several times. The last postponement was to allow the District Court time for review of lawsuits filed by several business groups claiming the new rule exceeded the Board’s powers. As a result of the lawsuits, which have been consolidated, the Board announced a further postponement of the effective date of the rule until April 30, 2012.
In the March 2, 2012 decision, the District Court held that the notice rule was within the Board's "broad rule-making authority" to implement the provisions of the Act. The Court also held that the rule did not violate First Amendment rights. The Court did strike down the portion of the Board's rule that stated that failure to post a notice automatically constituted an unfair labor practice and that such failure could be the basis for tolling the six-month statute of limitations for filing an unfair labor practice with the Board.
Employers must now comply with the notice-posting rule by April 30, 2012. The rule applies to all private sector employers, including nonunionized employers and companies without federal contracts. The Board-approved poster is available on the NLRB website at the following link: http://www.nlrb.gov/poster. The poster is available in the required size of 11 x 17 inches. The poster is also available in an alternative two-part size of 8.5 x 11 inches each, which the employer must post together. The poster is available in English and in Spanish.
Employers must post the notice required by the rule in a “conspicuous place” easily viewable by employees. Employers should post the notice in all places where other workplace notices are posted and in all company locations. The size of the notice must be 11 x 17 inches. The rule also requires employers to post the notice on an internet or intranet site if personnel rules and policies are customarily posted there. If at least twenty percent (20%) of an employer’s workforce is not proficient in English, the employer must post additional notices in all of the languages that the employees speak.
Employers should train managers to answer increased questions from employees regarding the meaning of the notice, employees’ rights under the NLRA, and the ramifications of unionizing. Managers should also be prepared for questions and increased discussion among employees regarding the terms and conditions of their employment, including wages, benefits, and workplace rules, and how to respond to such questions and discussion without committing an unfair labor practice.
If you have any questions or want assistance in posting the notice or providing training, please call or e-mail any member of our Employment Group.