NLRB Update: Dress Code, Cell Phones, and Media Statements, Oh My!


All Employers Subject to the NLRA


March 14, 2019


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On March 14, 2019, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) released an advice memorandum dated July 31, 2018, providing insight on numerous topics.

  • Dress code policy: The NLRB approved of a policy that prohibited “[a]ny items of apparel with inappropriate commercial advertising or insignia.” “Inappropriate” only referred to images that are inconsistent with a professional, business-like appearance, and did not prohibit employees from exercising rights protected by the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).
  • Personal cell phone use: A policy that prohibits personal cell phone use on non-working time during working hours violates the NLRA, because employees have a right to communicate with each other during breaks using means that are not monitored by the employer. An employer’s legitimate business interests in preventing distractions, lost time, and lost productivity occur during work time.
  • Confidential employee information: Employers may restrict employees who have access to employee confidential information as part of their job from disclosing such information. The limitation is specific and within an employer’s legitimate business interests, and does not prohibit employees from sharing their own private information.
  • Media communications: Employers may restrict media communications to designated representatives concerning statements that may be interpreted as an official employer position or speaking on the employer’s behalf, provided that employees are not prohibited from communicating with the media about workplace matters.

Action Items

  1. Review the advice memorandum here.
  2. Have policies reviewed for compliance.
  3. Subscribers can call our HR On-Call Hotline at (888) 378-2456 for further assistance.

Disclaimer: This document is designed to provide general information and guidance concerning employment-related issues. It is presented with the understanding that ManagEase is not engaged in rendering any legal opinions. If a legal opinion is needed, please contact the services of your own legal adviser.

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