The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) recently approved an agreement between the National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA), an organization that exclusively represents employees involving employment-related matters, and Panasonic Corporation of North America regarding the Company’s confidentiality rules. The Company agreed to rescind its policies restricting employees’ ability to communicate with others about their working conditions and other protected activity. Specifically, the policies had interfered with employees’ rights to communicate about workplace grievances, seek legal advice or engage in other concerted activity, which violates the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). The Company also was required to post notices, that must be visible for 60 days in all of Panasonic’s Newark, New Jersey locations, that states that the Company “will not maintain or enforce language” in its employee handbook or other policies.
Claudia Reis, president of NELA’s New Jersey division, said in a statement, “By negotiating the settlement on behalf of NELA-NJ, the NLRB has sent a clear message to employers that it will enforce the protections of the [NLRA] that allow employees to discuss working conditions, and to advance their interests as employees, without unlawful interference from employers through sweeping confidentiality policies.”