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NLRB General Counsel Issues Guidance on Handbook Rules

On March 18, 2015, the General Counsel of the National Labor Relations Board ("NLRB") issued Memorandum GC 15-04, a 30-page Memorandum providing guidance on handbook policies and employer rules. The Memorandum which addresses recent NLRB decisions pertaining to employee handbooks, was issued to provide guidance regarding policies and rules that an employee would reasonably construe to prohibit Section 7 activity under the National Labor Relations Act (the"Act").  In his introduction to the Memorandum, the General Counsel noted that the Act "does not allow even well-intentioned rules that would inhibit employees from engaging in activities protected by the Act." 


The Memorandum is divided into two parts:

  • Part 1 of the Memorandum provides examples of lawful and unlawful handbook rules in (8) broad categories that are frequently challenged before the NLRB, along with the reasoning.
  • Part 2 of the Memorandum addresses specific handbook rules found unlawful and lawful as part of a recent settlement with Wendy's International LLC.


The Memorandum examines rules in the following categories:


  1. Confidentiality
  2. Employee conduct toward the company and supervisors
  3. Conduct towards fellow employees
  4. Employee interaction with third parties
  5. Use of company logos, copyrights, and trademarks
  6. Restricting photography and recording
  7. Restricting employees from leaving work
  8. Conflict-of-interest rules


The examples presented in the Memorandum demonstrate that the difference between lawful and unlawful handbook rules is often subtle.



What Employers Need to Know   


In light of this guidance, employers should evaluate  

their handbooks and policies to protect against  

NLRB scrutiny and ensure compliance with the ACT.


Please contact Katherin Nukk-Freeman or the NFC attorney

with whom you normally work if you need assistance

reviewing your handbooks or policies.

Nukk-Freeman & Cerra, P.C. is a dynamic Employment Law Firm  

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