The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Continues
Its War on Employee Handbooks
On November 4, 2016, the NLRB issued a cease and desist order
to Andronicus Industries. The issue was that the company had an
employee handbook which contained language that the NLRB found
to be unlawful. Specifically, the handbook contained language which:
the disclosure of confidential Company information
- Prohibited employees
from wearing clothing with words, slogans and/or pictures that
may be offensive to other employees or guests
- Prohibited internet
usage during company time
- Prohibits emails which contain copyright
On November 8, 2016, the NLRB issued a cease and desist order
to Component Bar Products. In this case the employer again had
an employee handbook which contained language that the NLRB found
to be unlawful. Specifically, the handbook contained the following
- The handbook prohibited “insubordination
or other disrespectful conduct”
- The handbook prohibited “boisterous
or disruptive activity in the workplace”
In prior cases, the NLRB has determined that the following statements constitute
unlawful handbook policies or procedures:
- Employees are not allowed
to use defamatory, libelous, slanderous, or discriminatory comments
about the company, its customers, competitors, employees or management.
resistance to proper work related orders or discipline, even
though not overt insubordination will result in discipline.
- Employees must
avoid the use of offensive, derogatory or prejudicial comments
when utilizing social media sites.
- Employees must not make insulting,
embarrassing, hurtful or abusive comments about other company
employees while online.
- Material that is fraudulent, harassing, embarrassing,
sexually explicit, profane, intimidating; defamatory or otherwise
unlawful may not be sent by email.
The reasoning behind these decisions is that, in the opinion of
the NLRB, these types of policies infringe upon employees protected
rights as defined in Section 7 of the National Labor Relations
The NLRB highly suggests that if a company has any of these, or
similar, statements in their handbooks or other policy or procedure
manuals, the company should consider the immediate removal of these
or similar statements. Handbooks and other policy manuals should
be revised and distributed to all employees. Managers should be
trained on these changes.
Paul Hilton Human Resources Consulting works with our clients to insure that all required documentation is correct and sufficient to successfully defend against a claim to any unemployment compensation commission.
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