The NLRB upheld its blockbuster 2014 ruling in Purple Communications Inc (Purple I), which allows employees to use employer email–even when not working –to conduct union organizing and protected activity. In a 3-2 ruling the NLRB held that workers who are granted access to their employer’s email system must be permitted to use it on nonworking time for protected activity under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). As we all know, protected activity under the NLRA is fairly broad, often termed “concerted activity for workers’ mutual benefit.” Purple Communications basically updates the water cooler talk about wages or griping about working conditions into the present via email use during and after work.
What’s an employer to do? Electronic communication restrictions and social media policies and still have a place in the workplace. The policies must be carefully crafted however in light of the NLRB rulings. We can help. Contact us to review your current policy for compliance and to draft a new one that works.