Informed Employer: NLRB Decisions Protecting Profanity in the Workplace — Self-Inflicted Wounds? Informed Employer: NLRB Decisions Protecting Profanity in the Workplace — Self-Inflicted Wounds?

Informed Employer: NLRB Decisions Protecting Profanity in the Workplace — Self-Inflicted Wounds?

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EEOC Says Firms Can Require Wellness Participation, Without Bias
In a victory for business, federal regulators said that employers can continue to use financial penalties and rewards to nudge staff to participate in fast-growing workplace wellness programs. But the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission -- which enforces laws against discrimination -- also proposed some safeguards for employees.
(Source: San Francisco Chronicle, 2015-04-16) Read the full article
New Union Rule Allowing Workers to Organize Goes into Effect
Workers who want to unionize will now have a much easier go of it. That's because a new federal rule aimed at speeding up the union election process will go into effect.
(Source: Fortune, 2015-04-14) Read the full article
H-1B Visa Cap Already Reached with Record Number of Petitions
Applications for H-1B visas allowing U.S. businesses to hire foreign workers in science, engineering and computer programming totaled a record 233,000 for fiscal 2016, according to government figures. A maximum of 85,000 of the work visas, including 20,000 for holders of master's degrees, are available each year under limits set by Congress, despite years of heavy lobbying by tech companies to raise the cap.
(Source: Reuters, 2015-04-13) Read the full article
Employers Don't Frequently Check Job Candidates' Credit History
Companies often request to see your credit history when you set up utilities for your home, apply for an apartment, request an insurance quote or apply for a job. But there's a misconception among the public that employer credit checks happen frequently, said Elizabeth Bille, vice president and associate general counsel of SHRM.
(Source: CBS News, 2015-04-14) Read the full article
More Firms Want to Help Workers with Their Financial Wellness
Eighty-three percent of employers surveyed report feeling responsible for their employees' financial wellness. More companies are adding or considering financial wellness programs for their participants, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch's Workplace Benefits Report.
(Source: Plan Sponsor, 2015-04-16) Read the full article
More Companies Turning to Private Health Insurance Exchanges
To limit the rising cost of health care, U.S. companies are increasingly turning to private insurance exchanges that let employees shop for plans, according to research from Accenture. About six million people got health insurance coverage via such online portals this year, up from three million in 2014, the consulting firm said.
(Source: Bloomberg, 2015-04-07) Read the full article
EEOC Orders Army to Pay Damages to Transgender Employee
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has ordered the Department of the Army to pay damages to a transgender employee whom it barred from a restroom matching her new identity and referred to her by her previous gender. In an April 1 ruling, the commission said the agency violated a federal sexual-discrimination law with its actions against Tamara Lusardi, a military veteran and civilian software specialist in Alabama who transitioned from male to female.
(Source: Stars and Stripes, 2015-04-13) Read the full article
Abuse of Stimulants to Boost Productivity at Work More Common
Experts say stimulant abuse is graduating into the work force. Reliable data to quantify how many American workers misuse stimulants do not exist, several experts said, but in interviews dozens of people in a wide spectrum of professions said they and co-workers misused stimulants like Adderall, Vyvanse and Concerta to improve work performance.
(Source: The New York Times, 2015-04-18) Read the full article
NLRB Decisions Protecting Profanity in the Workplace — Self-Inflicted Wounds?

Michael H. Boldt

Michael H. Boldt

Recently, the National Labor Relations Board (Board) issued another decision protecting use of profanity by an employee at, or related to, work. The newest case is an example of particularly nasty language, disseminated widely via Facebook, but found by the Board to be protected concerted activity under the National Labor Relations Act (Act). The case is Pier Sixty, 362 N.LRB No. 59, issued March 31, 2015.

The events took place 2 days before an election to determine if the employees would select a union to represent them. An employee, Perez, feeling disrespected by behavior of a supervisor who was unpopular with many employees, initially expressed his anger to the lead in-house union organizer. The organizer advised him to take a break and calm down. Perez took a break, but apparently did not calm down. A short while later, while outside the facility, Perez used his cell phone to post a message to Facebook stating:

Bob [the supervisor] is such a Nasty M***** F***** don't know how to talk to people!!!!!! F*** his mother and his entire f****** family!!!! What a LOSER!!!! Vote YES for the UNION!!!!!!!

The Facebook post was discovered and brought to the attention of Company management, and Perez was fired. The Union, which had won the election, filed an unfair labor practice charge with the Board protesting Perez' termination.

Read the full article here.




The New Secret Weapon for Unions — Undocumented Workers?

Christl Glier

Paul Sinclair

Although many employers are not aware of it, undocumented workers are eligible for protection under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA or “the Act”), the federal statute that enables union organizing. As a practical matter, undocumented workers have not been much of a focus for the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB or “the Board”) in its efforts to curb unfair labor practices, nor for unions engaged in organizing activities. Based on recent NLRB actions, however, this could be changing, making undocumented workers a new focus for the NLRB and a new ally for union organizers.

Read the full article here.


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