NLRB Upholds Employers' Right to Prohibit Union E-Mails

Employers lawfully can ban certain types of union e-mail from a company system if part of a general policy prohibiting any “non-job-related solicitations,” according to a 2007 ruling by the National Labor Relations Board. The Board distinguished employees' personal e-mail use from union-related e-mail use, finding that, absent anti-union discrimination, employees have no statutory right to use an employer's equipment or media for Section 7 communications." In the specific case, the employer's policy and practice allowed employees to send and receive limited, non-work-related e-mails, but did not permit e-mails urging support for groups or organizations of any type. Because of the employer's general limitations on use of its e-mail system, its policy prohibiting e-mails urging support of the union, was permissible. The Guard Publishing Company, d/b/a The Register Guard, 351 NLRB No. 70 (December 16, 2007).

Practice Pointer: Employers should revise their e-mail policies to prohibit all e-mails that support any groups outside the company & must enforce this policy consistently.

For additional information on this topic, please contact Douglas S. Zucker at dsz@zuckerhatfield.com.