New labor board decisions dramatically alter rules for employers and employees

Q&A with Charlie Plumb

published in The Oklahoman | December 22, 2017

The National Labor Relations Board, now under the control of a 3-2 Republican majority, handed down two major decisions on December 14, 2017, that significantly reversed the positions taken by the agency under the previous administration.

In a business Q&A with The Oklahoman, labor and employment attorney Charlie Plumb weighed in on the two decisions – one of which overruled a 2015 NLRB ruling that made it easier for two employers who “shared” employees to be considered joint employers for liability purposes as it pertains to employment law violations, while the other gave employers more leeway in implementing and enforcing policies prohibiting certain employee activities. He concluded by saying that more change is likely on its way as the new labor board is expected to take a more pro-employer approach to its decisions, legal interpretations, and investigations.

“On the unionizing side, the current “quickie” union election rules are expected to be repealed and employees likely will be limited in their rights to use company-provided email systems as part of union elections,” said Plumb. “On a broader scale, expect employers to be given greater freedom to take action against employees who use obscene, vulgar or inappropriate language when exercising their rights to engage in protected activity.”