Beginning November 14, 2011, nearly all employers must display another workplace poster, this one notifying employees of their rights under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).  The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) recently published a Final Rule establishing the size, form, and content of the notice, along with penalties for noncompliance.

The Final Rule applies to almost every private-sector employer--excluding only businesses over which the NLRB generally does not assert jurisdiction--mainly those that have only a small impact on interstate commerce such as retail businesses and home builders with a gross annual volume of less than $500,000.  For other employers, including commercial construction contractors, the threshold is $50,000.  The rule applies to both unionized and non-union employers.

The notice includes information about employees’ rights under the NLRA (such as the right to join a union, bargain collectively, discuss wages and benefits, and to strike and picket), examples of unlawful employer and union conduct, and information on how to contact the NLRB.  

The Final Rule requires employers to physically post the notice “in conspicuous places where they are readily seen by employees, including all places where notices to employees concerning personnel rules or policies are customarily posted.”  

The poster must be at least 11 inches by 17 inches in size and must be in the format, type size, and style prescribed by the NLRB.  In addition to physically posting the notice, employers must also electronically post it on an intranet or internet site if the employer customarily communicates with employees about personnel rules and policies through such sites.  The electronic posting requirement will be met if the employer displays “no less prominently than other notices to employees” either an exact copy of the poster, downloaded from the NLRB’s website, or a link, reading ‘‘Employee Rights under the National Labor Relations Act,’’ to the NLRB’s website that contains the poster.  

Employers also must post the notice in any foreign language that at least 20 percent of its employees speak.  If the workforce includes two or more groups totaling at least 20 percent of the workforce who speak different languages, the employer must either post the notice in each of those languages or, at the employer’s option, post the notice in the language spoken by the largest group of employees and provide each employee in each of the other language groups a copy of the notice in the appropriate language.  

The poster will be available, for a free download, on the NLRB's website by November 1.

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Categories: Employment/Labor Law

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The National Labor Relations Board has alleged that an employer, American Medical Response, committed an unfair labor practice by firing a medical technician, Dawnmarie Souza, because she had criticized her supervisor on Facebook.  The Company maintained a policy prohibiting employees from making "disparaging" or "discriminatory" comments about management or co-workers.
 
The Board contends that the firing was unlawful and that the policy was overbroad because the National Labor Relations Act gives private-sector employees (both union and non-union) the right to discuss or criticize their employer, management, and the terms and conditions of their employment, as long as the speech is not abusive or false.  The Company denies the allegations and contends that it fired the employee because of multiple, serious complaints against her.
 
A hearing on the matter is scheduled for January 25.  Private sector employers should consider the NLRB's position before taking any adverse action against employees based on their social networking, as well as when drafting policies regarding off-duty social networking.

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A South Carolina Senate subcommittee currently is considering a proposed bill that, like Arizona's recently-enacted law, would allow local law enforcement to check the immigration status of anyone they stop or detain.

Because the legislative session is winding down in South Carolina, the bill likely will not be introduced to the full Senate this year. Nevertheless, the subcommittee's timing is interesting, considering the huge amount of negative publicity and controversy that the Arizona law created.

In 2008, South Carolina passed an immigration law that requires all employers, at the time of hire, to use the federal E-Verify system or confirm that the new hire has a valid driver's license from a list of approved states (or is otherwise eligible to receive a driver's license).

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Categories: Civil Rights

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