Los Angeles partner Kate Gold was quoted in an article titled, “Goodbye, No-Gossip Policies?’ in HREonline.

The article discussed how a National Labor Relations Board administrative law judge recently ruled that Laurus Technical Institute, a for-profit technical school in Georgia, violated section 7 of the NLRA broke federal law with a no-gossip policy because it was overly broad, ambiguous and restricted employees from discussing or complaining about any terms and/or conditions of employment, even though nothing in the institute's policy directly addressed discussions about wages, hours or other employment terms and conditions.

Though the NLRB has been focused on other policies that could violate an employee's right to engage in protected concerted activity -- such as social media or confidentiality policies -- no-gossip policies can be especially problematic, Kate said.

She said that, while gossip policies are not typical at most organizations -- and often unnecessary -- some HR service providers (or similar advisors) still recommend them, and even provide templates for organizations to create their own.

"I would not include it among the top 10 or even the top 20 essential policies an employer should include in a handbook or policy manual, such as an at-will, anti-harassment or reasonable accommodation policy. However, given the type of concern raised by a no-gossip policy, there could be other employer policies that are problematic for the same reasons. The issue raised by an overbroad no-gossip policy is whether it constitutes an unlawful restriction on an employee’s right to engage in protected concerted activity under Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act,” Kate said.

To read the entire article in HREonline, click here.