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Washington Journal of Law, Technology & Arts

Abstract

The National Labor Relations Board’s decision in Register Guard Company (Register Guard) set new precedent regarding employee rights to use employer email systems to discuss protected activities under Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act. The decision established two new rules of law regarding employer email policies: first, employers have a property interest in their email systems, and may, therefore, create email policies prohibiting non-work related emails including Section 7 related communications. Second, employers may enforce email limitations differently between union and non-union related emails, so long as the enforcement is not made “along Section 7 lines.” This Article analyzes Register Guard and its potential impact on employers, and includes practice pointers for employers generating and enforcing email policies to avoid violating the National Labor Relations Act.

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