The Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) at the California Institute of Technology was schooled in the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) after it disciplined five employees who challenged lab policies.
According to a National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruling, JPL veered off course when it disciplined the employees for communicating with co-workers about a new background-check policy.
The NLRB sided with the employees, saying that their discussion, conducted using the lab’s email system, was protected activity because the employer allowed the system to be used for nonwork-related purposes.
The NLRB did say that the JPL was right on target in its rule stating that employees should “avoid any actions that could reasonably be expected” to discredit the lab. That doesn’t violate the NLRA.