What a difference a Management majority on the National Labor Relations Board makes! In a 3 to 2 decision involving The Boeing Company, the Board, under the leadership of Chairman Philip A. Miscimarra, overruled prior precedent that governed whether facially neutral workplace rule policies and handbook provisions unlawfully interfered with employees’ rights.
The NLRB has established a new test that overrules the old standard, which tried to determine whether employees would reasonably construe a rule to violate their rights. Under the new standard, if a new rule, reasonably interpreted, would potentially interfere with employees’ rights, the Board will evaluate (1) the nature and extent of the potential impact on National Labor Relations Act rights, and (2) legitimate justifications associated with the rule. The attached NLRB press release further explains the Board’s new ruling.
The good news is that this case overrules past NLRB cases holding that Employers violated the NLRA by maintaining rules requiring employees to foster “harmonious interactions and relationships” or to maintain basic standards of civility in the workplace.