“Theater of the Absurd: The NLRB Takes on the Employee Handbook”

In a 45-page booklet, the U.S. Chamber talks back at the National Labor Relations Board over its push in recent years to forbid, as violations of labor law, a wide range of employer workplace rules:

Through a series of decisions and official guidance, the NLRB has undertaken a campaign to outlaw heretofore uncontroversial rules found in employee handbooks and in employers’ social media policies—rules that employers maintain for a variety of legitimate business reasons… The NLRB has gone to outlandish lengths to find commonsense workplace policies unlawful … the Board’s irrational interpretations of the law have created a serious headache for employers and employees looking for stability and common sense in labor relations.

More here. Jon Hyman summarizes the areas covered:

* Confidentiality of workplace investigations
* Employee misconduct
* Communications and non-disparagement
* Protection of intellectual property and confidentiality of company information
* At-will disclaimers
* Non-solicitation
* Dress codes


  • I dunno. I am not sure that the cited portions of the employee handbooks are “uncontroversial.” As for absurdity, I guess it is in the eyes of the beholder. There are a great number of people who think that saying corporations are people is absurd. There are others that think the idea that the federal government can own substantial amount of land in the states is absurd.

    I would posit that the pendulum has swung way to the side of according rights to employees, much in the way that, under a Republican president the pendulum would (and will) swing way to the side of according less rights to employees. However, I would not call it absurd. Instead, I would call it interpreting the law in favor of one’s constituency.

    • So Allan, you missed the part where the NLRB forced an employer to allow an employee to wear an offensive T-shirt, yet the EEOC would fine the employer for it.

      So an employer has a situation where they will be fined, no matter what they do. That is the definition of absurd under any administration.

      • The NLRB’s position on confidentiality requirements for workplace misconduct investigations is also contrary to the EEOC’s requirements.

  • One of the things the Chamber of Commerce document complains about is EEOC claiming employees may use the trademark of the company when complaining about the company on social media. The COC claims this is a theft of intellectual property.

    It is not.