By Anne-Marie L. Storey, Esq.
The National Labor Relations Board has struck again, finding several handbook policies in a non-union employer’s handbook were invalid because they could be construed by employees as prohibiting protected concerted activities.
Two of the sections at issue prohibited employees from making “negative comments about [their] fellow team members” and “engag[ing] in or listen[ing] to negativity or gossip”. The third section required employees to represent the employer in community “in a positive and professional manner at every opportunity”.
It is worth noting that the Board was not swayed by the employer’s argument that the policies were adopted only after significant involvement in their drafting and ultimate approval by a team of employees.
This is yet another reminder to be aware of what your policies require or prohibit and think through how that might be construed to unlawfully prohibit protected concerted conduct.