The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB, “the Board”) is at it again. In a recent ruling, the Board found an employer’s routine “courtesy” policy violated its employees’ Section 7 rights. Time will tell whether a federal court will agree with the Board and enforce its decision, but employers should take note of the current regulatory environment and the Board’s aggressive view in examining company policies.
In a split 2-1 decision recently issued by the NLRB (Karl Knauz Motors, Inc., 358 NLRB No. 164 (9/28/12)), the Board found that an auto dealership’s maintenance of an employee handbook provision requiring every employee to display “courtesy” toward customers, vendors, suppliers and fellow employees, violated Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act (the “Act”)1. The majority, consisting of Chairman Mark Pearce and Member Sharon Block, found that the courtesy policy was “overbroad” and interfered with employee rights. They reasoned that employees “. . . would reasonably construe its broad prohibition against ‘disrespectful’ conduct and ‘language which injures the image or reputation of the Dealership’” to include protected Section7 activity such as statements objecting to or seeking to improve working conditions. Continue Reading Does Your “Courtesy” Policy Violate the NLRA?