The Impact of Employer E-Mail Policies on Employee Rights to Engage in Concerted Activities Protected by the National Labor Relations Act
Labor-Management Relations, pp. 22-26, 2006
9 Pages Posted: 30 Oct 2009
Date Written: October 28, 2006
This paper addresses the interrelationship of employee rights to engage in concerted activities under Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) and employer policies on e-mail use. Does an email policy of business-use-only avoid legal problems? Is such a policy practical in light of the pervasive use of e-mail for general communication? If employers permit selective personal use of the e-mail system, but prohibit discussion related to unions and issues related to wages, hours and working conditions, this is legally problematic. In addition, employer monitoring of e-mail is a form of surveillance that may be prohibited during a union organizational campaign. The existing case law interpreting like issues under the NLRA will be analyzed in light of new issues arising with e-mail in the workplace. Recommendations for appropriate resolution of the competing interests of employers, unions, and employees will be made.
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