Employers Must Ensure Employee Handbook Policies Are Compliant with the NLRA
April 09, 2021
Peter Sung Ohr, Acting General Counsel of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB or Board), has issued Memorandum GC 21-03(GC 21-03) to the regional field offices signaling significant changes to enforcement priorities under Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). In part, GC 21-03 indicates that the NLRB will be “robustly enforcing the Act’s provisions that protect employees’ Section 7 rights” and that “cases involving the retaliation against concerted employee conduct will be vigorously pursued.” GC 21-03 cites to increased workplace health and safety issues resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic as well as employees’ political and social justice advocacy concerns as factors necessitating increased enforcement of the NLRA. It is not uncommon for the NLRB and its general counsel to modify or reverse their interpretations of the NLRA with changes in the composition of the Board. The political party of the presidency enjoys majority representation on the NLRB. Consequently, changes in the presidential administration often lead to significant changes for employers. GC 21-03 is emblematic of that trend. It states that “recent decisions issued by the current Board have restricted [Section 7 rights] for employees.” The enforcement priorities highlighted in GC 21-03 are in stark contrast to enforcement priorities under the previous administration and a clear indication that employers should expect increased NLRB oversight for the foreseeable future.We recommend all employers have SESCO review their Employee Handbook on annual basis to ensure compliance with all federal and state laws.