On August 25, 2011, the National Labor Relations Board (the “NLRB”) issued a new rule which requires all private-sector employers (including labor unions) subject to the National Labor Relations Act (the “Act”) to post a notice informing employees of their rights under the Act. The required notice will include information about employees’ rights to act together to improve wages and working conditions, to form, join, and assist a union, to bargain collectively with their employer, and to refrain from any of these activities. The final rule takes effect on November 14, 2011.
The notice must be at least 11 inches by 17 inches in size and posted in a conspicuous place where it can be readily seen by employees. In addition to the physical posting, the notice must be posted to any intranet or internet site maintained by the employer which contains other personnel rules and policies.
The NLRB will make an acceptable notice available starting on November 1, 2011. Employers can either download a free copy of the notice from the NLRB’s website or request a free copy by contacting the NLRB at its headquarters or its regional, sub-regional, or resident offices. Alternatively, employers can satisfy the rule by purchasing a set of workplace posters from a commercial supplier.
For employers who employ a multi-national workforce, translated versions will also be available from the NLRB. A translated notice must be posted at workplaces where at least 20 percent of employees are not proficient in English. If an employer’s workforce includes two or more groups consisting of at least 20 percent of the workforce who speak different languages, the employer must either post the notice in each language spoken, or post the notice in the language spoken by the largest group and provide each employee in each of the other language groups a copy of the notice in the appropriate language.
This new rule does not have any record-keeping or reporting requirements, and does not apply to public employers or agricultural, railroad, and airline employers.
Although an employer’s failure to post the notice may be treated as an unfair labor practice under the Act, the NLRB has stated it expects that, in most cases, employers who fail to post the notice are unaware of the rule and will comply when requested. Nonetheless, the NLRB may extend the 6-month statute of limitations for filing a charge involving other unfair labor practice allegations against the employer. Furthermore, a knowing and willful violation may be considered evidence of unlawful motive in an unfair labor practice case involving other alleged violations of the Act.
A fact sheet regarding the NLRB’s new rule may be found here.
The NLRB’s 194 page rule may be found here.