NLRB Strikes Down Hospital’s Policy Prohibiting Employee Negativity

On April 1, 2014, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruled that a hospital’s “Values and Standards of Behavior” policy proscribing negativity violates the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).

The hospital’s policy required that its employees represent it in the community in a positive and professional manner, refrain from engaging in or listening to negativity or gossip, and refrain from making negative comments about fellow team members.  The rules were found to be unlawful because they are overbroad and ambiguous, and could chill speech protected by Section 7 of the NLRA; specifically, the right of employees to engage in protected concerted activity related to the terms and conditions of employment. This ruling is applicable not only to hospitals, but to most private employers across the nation, as the NLRA is a federal law applicable to most private sector employers.

The decision is an important reminder to employers to make sure that employment policies and procedures do not infringe on the rights of employees to engage in protected concerted activity related to the terms and conditions of employment.  Should you have any questions about whether or not your policies are in compliance with the NLRA, please contact Marianne Monroy, Lauren Rieders, or the GW attorney with whom you regularly work.

Click here to read the ruling.

~Submitted by M Monroy and L Rieders

Categories: Employment Law