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Keep unions at bay: Allow few exceptions to no-solicitation policy

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in Employment Law,Human Resources

Don't be so quick to OK fundraising events at your workplace, allowing too many could endanger your "no solicitation/no distribution" policy and open you up to an accusation of an unfair labor practice.

Under the National Labor Relations Act, your company can have a rule that prohibits soliciting during work time in work areas. The goal: Keep union organizers from rallying the troops.

But such a policy will be struck down as an unfair labor practice if you try to enforce that rule during union organizing activities but not during the Girl Scout cookie drive, sports pools and other activities.

In the wake of various fund-raising efforts by employers after the Sept. 11 attacks, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) sent a memo to regional directors to clarify the rule. The memo said that you'll violate your rule by allowing too many exceptions; however, you can allow "a small number of isolated beneficent acts" without running into trouble.

How many is too many? The NLRB hasn't set a specific standard. In one case, an employer was permitted three incidents of charity solicitations.

Read the NLRB memo at www.nlrb.gov/gcmemo/gc01-06.html.

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