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NLRB's 'Employee Rights' Poster Rule on Hold

By Andrew Chow, Esq. | Last updated on

The NLRB's new "Employee Rights" poster is on hold, after a federal court in Washington, D.C., issued a temporary injunction Tuesday. The NLRB may not have the power to require such a poster, the court opined.

As this blog reported last fall, the National Labor Relations Board was set to require most private employers display 11-by-17-inch posters about union activity in the workplace.

The NLRB's poster rule was set to take effect nationwide April 30, the Associated Press reports. But critics challenged the NLRB's power to require the union posters -- an issue that must be settled before the rule goes into effect, the D.C. court said in issuing the injunction.

The NLRB's "Employee Rights" poster generally explains an employee's rights to join a union and take part in collective bargaining. It also states that union officials can't coerce a worker into joining a union, and that a worker has the right to not join a union.

Under the NLRB's rule, an employer who is subject to the National Labor Relations Act must display the poster, unless the business:

  • Is a retailer that handles a gross annual volume of business less than $500,000;
  • Is a nonretail employer with annual inflow or outflow of at least $50,000;
  • Has no employees (i.e., only employs independent contractors); or
  • Meets other criteria listed in the Federal Register.

The NLRB "Employee Rights" posters are similar to other government-issued posters that describe anti-discrimination laws and workplace safety rules, according to the AP.

But in issuing the temporary injunction, the D.C. court focused on one key difference: Anti-discrimination and workplace-safety posters are specifically required by federal laws; the NLRB's "Employee Rights" poster is not.

NLRB lawyers maintain the Board itself can require the posters in workplaces, without a specific law authorizing it. Until a court rules definitively on the issue, the NLRB "Employee Rights" poster rule remains in limbo.

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