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UPDATE: There has been a significant development about the NLRB’s union rights poster. The poster requirement rule has been challenged in lawsuits by the National Association of Manufacturers and others. So far there have been mixed results in these lawsuits, On April 17, 2012, in an appeal filed challenging the rule, the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington temporarily enjoined the poster requirement. So, for the present, employers need not display this poster. The other workplace posters mentioned in the article remain in effect.

 

As of April 30, 2012, most employers in the private sector will come under a new requirement of the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) to post in a prominent place in the workplace an 11” by 17” poster informing employees of employees’ rights under the National Labor Relations Act. The rights listed in the poster include the right to organize a union, to join a union, to discuss wages and benefits with co-workers, to take action with co-workers to improve working conditions, to strike or picket, depending on the purpose, or not to do any of these things. It also lists illegal activities with respect to employers and unions, and explains how to contact the NLRB.

The poster is available for free on this website: www.nlrb.gov/poster. The Notice should be posted in English. Also if at least 20% of employees are not proficient in English and speak another language, a translation of the Notice should be posted in another language. The NLRB has translated the notice into 26 other languages, and made the translations available through its website.

This posting requirement applies to private sector employers whose activity in interstate commerce exceeds a minimum threshold.  Of interest to law firm employers are the NLRB’s directions that law firms with over $250,000 gross annual volume are covered.

In today’s highly partisan climate, this notice, which tells employees that they have a right to unionize, has attracted more attention than many other notice requirements.  Employers, however, are already subject to a number of other workplace posting requirements. The great majority of these posters are available for free from the agencies issuing them, although some commercial services have found a market in selling them to businesses for a charge, and some vendors have even tried to create a poster combining a large number of posters into one. A list of many of the required posters can be found at www.dir.ca.gov/wpnodb.html. Some of the other areas covered by posting rules are anti-discrimination laws, family leave laws, wage and hour requirements under federal law and the California Wage Orders, health and safety laws and  workers compensation insurance. If auditing your clients’ or your law firms compliance with employment law requirements, these are things to consider, and there is now one more!

Author:  Harvey Sohnen, a past editor of Contra Costa Lawyer, practices employment law with Law Offices of Sohnen & Kelly in Orinda. Their website is www.sohnenandkelly.com