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NLRB narrows employer limitations on workplace communications

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by Susan K. Fitzke, Sarah J. Gorajski and Emily A. McNee, Esqs., Littler Mendelson, Minneapolis

email and globeMany employers prohibit em­­ployees from using company email systems for any kind of personal communication. A recent National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruling, however, may force employers to change those policies.

The NLRB’s Purple Com­mu­ni­ca­tions decision asserts that employees are presumptively allowed to use company email systems during nonwork hours in connection with organizing campaigns or to discuss workplace issues with co-workers.

Email: the new water cooler

Purple Com­mu­ni­ca­tions reverses the NLRB’s long-standing position that employers could completely prohibit the personal, nonwork use of email, including for union organizing. The NLRB noted the increased use of technology in the workplace, explaining that email has become “the natural gathering place” for workplace communications in lieu of more traditional...(register to read more)

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