by Stephen Erf and Heather Egan Sussman
The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued a final rule requiring private sector employers to notify employees of their rights under the National Labor Relations Act. The Rule requires private sector employers who fall under the National Labor Relations Act to post the employee rights notice in conspicuous places at where other workplace rights notices are usually posted. The new notice states that employees have the right to act together to improve working conditions and wages, to form, join and assist unions, to collective bargaining, or to refrain from any of these activities. The notice also provides examples of illegal conduct and tells employees how to contact the NLRB with questions or complaints.
NLRB regional offices will provide the notice of rights at no charge, or the notice can be downloaded from the Board website and printed in color or black and white. Translated versions, which will also be available, must be posted at workplaces where at least 20 percent of employees are not proficient in English. Employers must also post the notice on intranet or an internet sites if other rules and policies are typically posted there.
Failure to post the notice will be treated as an unfair labor practice and, if an unfair labor practice charge is filed by a person or union, will trigger an investigation and adjudication by the National Labor Relations Board that could lead to the investigation of other issues, as well. Additionally, the failure to post the notice may have the effect of extending the time for the filing of an unfair labor practice charge on unrelated issues (i.e. permit the prosecution of an otherwise time-barred unfair labor practice charge) and permit the NLRB to infer that a knowing and willful refusal to post the notice is evidence of an unlawful motive in cases in which motive is an issue.
The Rule is scheduled to be posted in the Federal Register by August 30, 2011, and will take effect 75 days after that, on November 14, 2011.