The Law @ Work

NLRB Ruling Would Penalize Employers for Instructing Employees to Keep Investigations Confidential

Following a recent ruling by the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”), an employer’s ability to instruct employees not to discuss with co-workers matters under investigation may result in a violation of the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”), which applies to both unionized and non-unionized employers.  On July 30, the NLRB issued its decision in Banner Health System d/b/a Banner Estrella Medical Center and James Navarro.  The split decision (2-1) found that an employer’s directive to an employee that he should not discuss a matter that was under investigation with his co-workers was a violation of the employee’s rights under Section 7 of the NLRA.  Section 7 includes the right to communicate with co-workers about the terms and conditions of employment.  This decision has caused employers to wonder whether they should change the common practice of asking witnesses to keep the investigation private and not discuss it with their co-workers.  For more information on this ruling and its implications for employers, see our recent e-alert on the NLRB’s decision.

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