NLRB Issues Final Rule for Notification of Employee Rights

On August 30, 2011, the National Relations Board (NLRB) issued a final rule requiring employers subject to the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) to post a notice in their workplace informing employees of their rights under federal labor law. This notice must be posted by November 14, 2011.

What employers are subject to the National Labor Relations Act?
The rule applies to all employers subject to the Board’s jurisdiction, except agricultural, railroad and airline employers, and the U. S. Postal Service.

According to the Rule, jurisdiction applies, according to the retail standard, to those employers, including home construction, whose gross annual volume of business is $500,000 or more. For non-retail establishments, the Rule’s jurisdiction is based on the amount of goods sold or service provided out-of-state (outflow) or amount of goods or service purchased from out-of-state (inflow) of at least $50,000.

The Board has chosen not to assert its jurisdiction over very small employers whose annual volume of business is not large enough to have more than a slight effect on interstate commerce.

Even if you do not have a union in your workplace, you still need to post the notice. NLRA rights apply to both union and non-union workplaces.

How do I get a copy of the notice?
The NLRB will provide the notice at no charge to employers through the NLRB Regional Offices (for Virginia employers that would be the Baltimore Regional Office, phone 410-962-4061) or via download from the NLRB website (www.nlrb.gov). The notice will be available beginning on or about November 1, 2011. Employers may also purchase the notice from appropriate suppliers.

The posted notice must be 11 X 17 inches in size and conspicuously posted where other notices concerning personnel rules or policies are customarily posted. If the notice is downloaded from the NLRB website, it can be printed in color or black-and-white on one 11 X 17 inch paper or two 8 X 11 inch papers taped together.

In workplaces where 20 percent of workers are not proficient in English and speak another language, the employer must provide the notice in the native language the employees speak. The NLRB will prepare any necessary translated notices for employers to use.

The Rule requires electronic distribution to employees if an employer “customarily communicates with its employees about personnel rules or policies by such means.”

What happens if I do not post the notice?
In the event an unfair labor practice is filed by a union, employee, or other individual alleging a failure to post, the NLRB will investigate. If the NLRB determines that an employer has failed or refused to post the notice, the NLRB will consider such refusal to be a violation of the NLRA and consider other penalties. Note that the Board does not have the authority to levy fines.

Conclusion:
Please be aware that employers subject to the NLRA have a November 14 deadline to post the notice making employees aware of their rights under federal labor law. Obtain a copy of the poster and determine if you need to post the notice electronically. Failure to post the notice may result in a potential unfair labor practice finding or other penalties.

The above information is provided for informational purposes and is not to be considered legal advice. Questions, call Larry Elinskas at 804-966-8100.