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Is NLRB Eyeing Reversal on Workers’ Email Rights?

March 30, 2018

By Steve Wishnia and Neal Tepel

WASHINGTON—The National Labor Relations Board may be looking for a way to reverse its 2014 decision that worker have the right to use an employer’s email system for union organizing. If the Senate confirms John F. Ring and gives Republicans a 3-2 majority, it’s “virtually certain” the NLRB will try to overturn that ruling, Chicago attorney Stephanie Dodge Gournis told Bloomberg Law. Purple Communications, the California company involved in the 2014 ruling, is challenging it in the federal 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. But another case, Newmark Grubb Knight Frank, could provide the vehicle for reversing the rule. The New York-based real-estate firm is appealing an NLRB administrative-law judge’s decision that its policy limiting workers’ use of its email and voicemail to “business purposes only” violated the Purple Communications standard. “Newmark is as good an opportunity as any other case,” Las Vegas management lawyer Howard E. Cole told Bloomberg Law. The company is arguing that workers don’t have to use its systems because they have other ways to communicate, but California lawyer David Rosenfeld, who is representing the Communications Workers of America in the Purple Communications appeal, says that doesn’t mean an employer can deny workers access to communications. Read more

March 30, 2018

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