Chicago partner Stephanie Dodge Gournis was quoted in an article for Bloomberg’s Daily Labor Report titled “Labor Board May Send New Message on Employee Email Rights.” In a 2014 case, Purple Communications Inc., the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) decided that employees have the right to use an employer’s email system for union organizing and other federally protected activities. However, a pending case, Newmark Grubb Knight Frank, could become the vehicle for the NLRB to change its policy.
The five-seat NLRB, currently split 2-2 between Republicans and Democrats with one vacant seat, will gain a Republican majority this spring if the Senate confirms President Trump’s nomination of labor lawyer John F. Ring to the board. If this occurs, Stephanie said it is “virtually certain” the Republican majority board will revert to its original stance regarding employee email rights. However, she noted that technological advances may have made Purple Communications less important than it was in 2014, since employees have many other options for union-related communications.