May 8, 2023

New NLRB Ruling Makes It Harder To Discipline Workers

On May 1, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued a decision overturning a Trump-era ruling that had made it easier for employers to discipline workers who make profane, harassing, or discriminatory comments in the course of a workplace dispute.

Under the new ruling, workers who engage in derogatory language, including profanity and even racial slurs, while speaking out against workplace conditions will be afforded greater legal protection under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). In its decision, the NLRB noted labor disputes are often heated and, as such, must be given some leeway for their behavior while engaging in protected concerted activity in order to safeguard their statutory rights.

NLRB Chair Lauren McFerran said, “To fully protect employee rights, conduct during protected concerted activity must be evaluated in the context of that important activity — not as if it occurred in the ordinary workplace context.” Lawyers at Bullard Law made it clear that this “decision may have significant implications” for companies and their relationships with their employees.

Click here to read Bullard’s full assessment of the ruling. The Society for Human Resource Management also has more on this ruling here.

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