Hidden risk: Do your employee committees violate labor law? — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Business Management Daily
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Hidden risk: Do your employee committees violate labor law?

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in Employment Law,Human Resources

Consider these two scenarios:

1. At the suggestion of a project manager, your organization starts an employee committee to provide workers a voice in safety issues. Management and the safety committee go back and forth with numerous proposals and ultimately adopt a new safety policy.

2. Your department managers want to launch employee suggestion committees. You plan to allow supervisors to pay bonuses to employees whose suggestions are accepted by management and save the organization money.

At first glance, those common ­management-employee participation groups seem legally risk-free. But looking deeper, such committees could, under certain circumstances, be viewed as illegal, employer-dominated unions under federal labor law.  

Key point: According to a handful of National Labor Relations Board rulings, an employer commits an unfair labor practice whenever it dominates any “labor organization.”

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