What Employers Need to Know About Employee Rights in 2020

Some employers assume the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) is a law that does not apply to them if their employees are not represented by unions. However, the NLRA’s coverage expands beyond union relationships. With many technicalities and law changes, employment practices liability insurance is more important than ever to ensure employee rights are protected and the employer doesn’t violate any laws, even unintentionally.

2020 Employee Rights: What to Know

The NLRA grants employees the right to engage in protected concerted activity. The NLRB is the federal agency that administers and enforces rights to prohibit retaliation against an employee for seeking actions in regards to the terms and conditions of employment that affect or have the potential to affect other employees. An employee does not have to belong to or seek to join a union for this to apply. Therefore, it’s critical to understand employee rights as they related to retaliation and protected activities.

NLRB Employment Policies and Practices

Two examples of nonunion issues that the NLRB investigates are discipline over social media activity, and employee handbook policies regarding retaliation.

Employers must pay close attention to the rights and restrictions under the NLRA when creating workplace policies or making employment decisions.

Unfair Labor Practice Charges

When an employer violates the NLRA, the employer will receive a notice of an unfair labor practice (ULP) charge. This notice will instruct the employer to provide a large amount of information, documents, and even witnesses. Although, not everything that the NLRB initially demands may be required and an experienced consultant can help the employer through the process.

Other government agencies refer employees to the NLRB. Even if they may be unaware of the NLRA, government agencies may refer former employees to the NLRB to file complaints.

Union Election Process

A petition filed by a union to hold an election can happen very quickly. Prior to the election, the employer must address procedural issues with the NLRB and speak on substantive issues with employees regarding the election. Preparation is crucial with little time to respond.

Unions win roughly 70% of the elections that are held.  However, workforces where employees are respected, valued, and heard are less likely to get to the point of holding union elections.

Employers and Supervisors

Recently, the NLRB has increased employer rights. For instance, employers now may exclude nonemployee union organizers from employer property, which was not permitted before 2019. Employers familiar with the NLRA and recent case developments are more inclined to enforce their rights.

Keep in mind that supervisors’ conduct can violate the NLRA, regarding the restriction of employee communication that bind high-ranking managers. If supervisors are not trained regarding what they can and cannot discuss with employees, their mistakes may become the employer’s violation of law.

An Evolving NLRB

The NLRB actually reversed its controlling interpretations of the NLRA with changes in its membership. Constant change in the NLRB’s membership often leads to significant law adaptations for employers to follow.

On May 2, 2019, Democratic members of Congress introduced the Protecting the Right to Organize Act (PRO Act). Many of the Democratic presidential candidates have expressed support for the PRO Act. This legislation can divide the candidates and the parties and will continue to receive significant attention. 

About World Wide Specialty Programs

For the last 50 years, World Wide Specialty Programs has dedicated itself to providing the optimal products and solutions for the staffing industry. As the only insurance firm to be an ASA commercial liability partner, we are committed to that partnership and committed to using our knowledge of the industry to provide staffing firms with the best possible coverage. For more information about Staffing Professional Liability Insurance or any other coverage, we have available to protect your staffing business, give us a call at (877) 256-0468 to speak with one of our representatives.