Chicago counsel Bruce Stickler was quoted in a Modern Healthcare article titled, "Hospitals will be watching NLRB in wake of Supreme Court decision." The article discussed the recent Supreme Court decision to reopen hundreds of labor dispute cases.
The NLRB cases that will be reconsidered include disputes over what employees can say about their employers on social media sites and how much freedom workers have to openly criticize their employers in front of customers, including patients. The NLRB will also have to re-decide the July 30, 2012 decision in Banner Health System and James Navarro (PDF), in which the board concluded that the hospital could not enforce a policy that forbade an employee from discussing an ongoing misconduct investigation.
Experts say it doesn't appear likely that the NLRB now will make different decisions in cases that favored employees. But it remains to be seen if the NLRB will take a closer look at past cases that were decided in employers' favor.
In particular, hospital officials will be keenly interested in how the NLRB construes controversies involving employee speech. Virtually every hospital has policies governing what front-line providers including nurses and doctors can say and do. That's become a critical issue as systems try to achieve high patient-satisfaction scores that can guarantee better payments from insurers. But such policies can be seen as interfering with workers' rights to talk about workplace conditions and union organizing.
Bruce noted that "it is the intersection between quality, safety and employee engagement with legitimate business and work rules." He continued by expressing that the biggest issue, from his perspective, is that there is now uncertainty.
To view the entire article at Modern Healthcare.com, click the link below.