Labor Board Temporarily Changes Notice Posting Requirement Due To Pandemic
The National Labor Relations Board usually requires employers to post on their premises notices of findings made against it by the Board within 14 days. However, the NLRB has temporarily modified this standard rule in order to account for the changing environment created by COVID-19. Specifically, the Board recently decided that, in light of the coronavirus pandemic, employers whose facilities are currently closed but have been ordered to post a notice of violations of federal labor law must wait to do so until their offices reopen.
Danbury Ambulance Service, Inc., an ambulatory company in Danbury, Connecticut, entered into an informal settlement agreement with the New England Health Care Employees Union, District 1199, SEIU to resolve two unfair labor practice charges filed by the union. Pursuant to the terms of that settlement agreement, Danbury agreed to post a notice of its violation of its employees’ rights for 60 days, meet with the union regarding the termination of an employee, and provide certain information to the union in response to an information request related to the employee’s termination.
Danbury failed to post the required notice, meet with the Union to discuss the employee’s termination, or provide the requested information. As a result, the Board entered a finding that Danbury engaged in the unfair labor practices, ordered that it cease and desist from the conduct alleged, and ordered that it post the remedial notice as it had previously agreed to do.
Board Announcement In Light Of COVID-19
In ordering that Danbury post notice of its violations of federal labor law, the Board took the opportunity to announce and implement a temporary change to its standard notice-posting rule. While employers are typically required to post notices within 14 days of receipt of an order, the Board delayed the timing aspect of this requirement for those employers whose facilities are currently closed. The Board’s temporary rule modification recognizes that employers that are temporarily closed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic may not be able to comply with such an order.
More importantly, the Board also recognized that even if an employer could comply with posting the notice within the required timeframe, the purpose of the notice-posting would not be achieved if employees are not onsite to read the notice. Accordingly, the Board’s temporary rule delays the posting of any notice by employers that are currently closed (or operating at minimal staffing) until 14 days after the employer has reopened for business with a substantial complement of its workforce present in the workplace. The Board did not set a date for when this temporary change would expire but stated that it would reinstate the prior language of the rule when conditions warrant.
What Should Employers Do?
If you are facing the prospect of posting a Board Notice during this pandemic, be aware that you will not be credited with the time period you post the Notice if your facility is closed. The recommended solution would be to wait until your workplace is operational before posting.
This also applies to employers who normally communicate with their employees through email. For this reason, any email communications you plan to send as a result of a Board action should also be delayed until employees have returned to the workplace.
We will continue to monitor further developments and provide updates, so you should ensure you are subscribed to Fisher Phillips’ alert system to gather the most up-to-date information. If you have questions, please contact your Fisher Phillips attorney or any attorney in our Labor Relations Practice Group.
This Legal Alert provides an overview of a specific memorandum. It is not intended to be, and should not be construed as, legal advice for any particular fact situation.