A recent decision involving local employer Quicken Loans highlights an ongoing push by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to review Employee Handbooks for overly broad rules which might violate labor laws. In this case, an Administrative Judge struck down a variety of rules which it deemed overly broad and in violation of employees’ rights under the National Labor Relations Act.
One of the more striking features of this ruling is that the NLRB reviewed the Employee Handbooks of several large non-union businesses, including Quicken Loans. This review highlights the perils of writing generalized rules which can be construed as interfering with employees’ right to unionize. The NLRB is clearly not limiting its activities to non-union employers.
Employers and employees alike should be aware of the fact that these reviews are going on and they could have significant impact on the workplace. Much of this potential for disputes can be avoided by careful limiting of handbook rules which tend to garner more attention, particularly in the area of employee communications, use of social media, and protection of confidential information. Employers have legitimate concerns on these topics, but must be careful to limit their Handbook text so they do not overstep the bounds, as seen by the NLRB.
Quick Loans intends to appeal this recent ruling, and it would not be surprising to see the other named employers follow suit.