Labor Board changes ruling on company email use for unionizing

Q&A with Tony Puckett

published in The Oklahoman | December 17, 2014

In December 2014, the National Labor Relations Board issued a ruling in the Purple Communications Inc. case which states that employee use of email for union-related communications on nonworking time must be “presumptively” permitted by employers who allow employees access to the company’s email systems.

According to Tony Puckett, who was interviewed by The Oklahoman about the new case, the NLRB’s new ruling flipped the old rule on its head and will likely have far-reaching impact on employers and their workplace policies.

“Employers should understand that this new email rule applies regardless of whether the workplace is unionized or not,” said Puckett. “The rule means employers have a right to use their work email to engage in discussions about their conditions of employment while on nonworking time. This appears to mean that employees will be allowed to send emails on the employer’s email system during  break time, meal periods or after work, about any issues or complains they mutually have with their wages, benefits, work schedules and any other conditions of employment or about union organizing activities.”

Puckett recommended that employers review their computer and email policies for compliance with the new rule.