The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has concluded that employers are free to forbid employee use of their systems for “nonjob-related solicitations.” The long-awaited decision—involving employees’ use of e-mail for union communications at The Register-Guard newspaper in Eugene, OR—says that an employer has the right to restrict use of its e-mail system based on its property interest in the computer equipment. (The Guard Publishing Company, dba The Register-Guard, Cases 36-CA-8743-1, et al., 2007)
At issue was the following company rule:
Company communications systems and the equipment used to operate the communications system are owned and provided by the Company to assist in conducting the business of The Register-Guard. Communications systems are not to be used to solicit or proselytize for commercial ventures, religious or political causes, outside organizations or other nonjob-related solicitations.