NLRB Proposes Notice Posting by All Employers

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Every employer subject to the National Labor Relations Act would be required to post a notice informing employees of their NLRA rights under a National Labor Relations Board proposed rule published in the Dec. 22 Federal Register (75 Fed. Reg. 80,410).

Citing estimates that most employees are unaware of their rights under the NLRA, the board said that one reason for their lack of information is that employers have not been required to inform them of the statutory protections. Requiring a notice posting by all employers not only will inform employees, but also will dissuade employers from engaging in unfair labor practices once employees are equipped with information about their statutory rights, the NLRB said in a notice of proposed rulemaking signed by Chairman Wilma B. Liebman.

Invoking the board's statutory authority to adopt “such rules and regulations as may be necessary to carry out the provisions of this Act,” the board proposes a rule that would require every employer to post an 11-by-17-inch poster and to distribute the notice electronically if the employer customarily communicates with employees by such means.

The board proposes to sanction employers that fail to post the required notice by treating the failure as an unfair labor practice under Section 8(a)(1) of the NLRA.

The board's action comes in response to a 1993 petition for rulemaking filed by Charles J. Morris, now professor emeritus at Southern Methodist University's Dedman School of Law. Members of the public will have 60 days to comment on the proposal.

Member Brian E. Hayes dissented from the NLRB decision to grant the rulemaking petition. Noting that other federal laws expressly require the posting of individual rights notices, while the NLRA does not contain such a requirement, Hayes said the board lacks statutory authority to impose the new notice posting requirement through rulemaking.

Stating that the proposed rule-- which does not impose any reporting or recordkeeping duties on employers--would impose a minimal burden on employers, the board majority wrote briefly that Section 6 of the NLRA, 29 U.S.C. § 156, gives the agency authority to adopt “such rules and regulations as may be necessary to carry out the provisions of this Act.”

The board estimated that compliance the first year would require an employer to spend only two hours, at a labor cost of $62.04.

Public comment on the proposed rule should be submitted electronically to www.regulations.gov, or sent by mail or hand-delivered to Lester A. Heltzer, Executive Secretary, National Labor Relations Board, 1099 14th St. N.W., Washington, D.C. 20570.

By Lawrence E. Dubé


Text of the proposed rule can be accessed at http://op.bna.com/dlrcases.nsf/r?Open=ldue-8ccn7t. An NLRB “Facts at a Glance” summary of the proposal is available at http://op.bna.com/dlrcases.nsf/r?Open=ldue-8ccr4a.