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An Emboldened Labor Board Continues to Expand Union and Employee Protections
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By Williams Mullen Attorneys: Laura D. Windsor, J. Nelson Wilkinson, and Amanda M. Weaver


 Laura D. Windosr
J. Nelson Wilkinson 
 Amanda M. Weaver

With a series of significant new rules and opinions, the first three quarters of 2015 have proven to be very active for the National Labor Relations Board (the “Board”). Increasingly, the Board has sought to expand the rights of unionized and organizing workers, often by limiting protections for employers. In addition, the Board has aggressively and broadly interpreted the National Labor Relations Act (the “Act”) to challenge employment policies and employee conduct rules, even in non-union workplaces.


Three recent actions by the Board highlight the agency’s aggressive efforts to expand employee protections in the workplace. First and most recently, the Board issued an opinion that significantly broadened the definition of “joint employer,” with potentially far-reaching implications for all employers. Second, it implemented “quickie election” rules, which allow employees to organize and establish unions with unprecedented ease and speed. Third, the Board collected and memorialized a series of internal administrative decisions that struck down confidentiality rules and similar policies often contained in employee handbooks, which it viewed as unduly restrictive of employees’ rights to communicate with each other regarding the terms and conditions of their more

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