NLRB Grants Employee Use of Company Email for Non-Work Agendas

Did the NLRB really just grant employees the use of Company email for union-related communications? Yes, yes they did. Employees can now use company-provided email outside of work time (if already accessible) to organize union activity, discuss workplace conditions, and communicate other NLRB-protected issues.

If your company provides an email system but you don’t think this ruling will have any affect on you, think again. Protected conversations from this ruling that may now occur on your email system without fear of retribution include complaints about supervisors and co-workers, upper management disagreements, wage and hour disputes, sexual harassment issues, safety concerns, and so on.

This NLRB ruling reverses a 2007 case, with the premise that oral communication has changed significantly over the years. Email has all but replaced the now archaic face-to-face workplace conversations, particularly for companies that employ flexible and remote work arrangements, abdicating the NLRB’s responsibility “to adapt the Act to the changing patterns of industrial life.”

To clarify the NLRB’s decision, this ruling does not mandate that employers must now provide an email system to employees; this is only directed at those who already DO have employer-provided email. For production or discipline issues, employers may find special circumstances to justify a complete ban of non-work email; however, the NLRB expects this type of ban to be far more the exception than the rule.

To read more about the NLRB’s ruling, please click here.

Stacey Gibson, Director of Human Resources

Author Stacey Gibson, Director of Human Resources

Stacey is a certified Professional in HR (PHR) and the reason her clients would never consider leaving When not at work, you can hear her at one of her children’s sporting events -- she’s the one whistling louder than the refs.

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