Q. Can I prohibit an employee from using the company’s e-mail system for union-organizing purposes?
A. The answer depends on whether you have a policy in place (and consistently enforce it) limiting the use of the e-mail system to business matters only.
In other words, if you allow employees to use the e-mail system for other nonbusiness-related reasons, you can’t prohibit using it for union-organizing purposes. A judge would probably find that to constitute illegal discrimination against protected union activity in violation of the National Labor Relations Act.
Note that the same analysis would apply to other forms of communication used in the workplace. Thus, if you want to keep union-related information off company bulletin boards or out of company newsletters, strictly enforce a written policy prohibiting nonbusiness-related information from being conveyed in those forums as well.
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