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Legal Alert: NLRB Holds Employees May Use Employer Email Systems for Non-Work-Related Communications

In a reversal of precedent, a divided National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) held yesterday that employees have a right to use their employers’ email systems for non-business purposes, including statutorily protected communications regarding the terms and conditions of their employment and regarding union organizing efforts. See Purple Communications, Inc., 361 NLRB No. 126 (December 11, 2014).  The NLRB’s ruling stemmed from a case brought by the Communications Workers of America union after it unsuccessfully attempted to organize employees of Purple Communications, Inc., a company that provides interpreting services for the deaf and hearing-impaired.  The union argued that prohibiting the company’s workers from using the company’s email system for non-business purposes and on behalf of organizations not associated with the company interfered with the CWA’s organizing efforts. 

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D.C. Circuit Strikes Down NLRB Poster Rule

On May 7, 2013, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit struck down a National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) rule requiring both union and non-union employers to display posters informing employees of their right to form a union and engage in other concerted activity.

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