Monthly Archives: August 2016

Is It Time to Review Your Handbook Policies?

Earlier this month I posted about two decisions by the National Labor Relations Board finding employers’ workplace conduct policies and policies prohibiting recording people or confidential information in the workplace to be in violation of the National Labor Relations Act.  You can read the post here. Although it has not even been a month, another employer’s policies are being scrutinized by the NLRB for several of its policies: social media, email, confidentiality, workplace conduct, use of computer systems, solicitation and distribution, outside employment and internet use. Policies that have typically been accepted as legally compliant are now under attack. If you have not had your handbook reviewed in the last year or so, it may be time.

Jennifer Fowler-Hermes

The EEOC Issues a New Fact Sheet Explaining Religious Discrimination

The EEOC recently issued a new fact sheet designed to help younger workers understand the laws prohibiting religious discrimination.  This fact sheet provides a good summary of the basics that each employer should know and provides several examples of how to address certain situations that may arise in relation to an employee’s religious practices and beliefs and an employer’s consideration of reasonable accommodations. This fact sheet can be found on the EEOC’s youth outreach website, which is designed to provide information to younger workers about employment discrimination.

Jennifer Fowler-Hermes

Employers are Required to Post New Federal Posters This Month

All employers who are subject to the Fair Labor Standards Act’s (“FLSA”) minimum wage provisions and the Employee Polygraph Protection Act (“EPPA”) must post, and keep posted, notices explaining these laws. The notices must be posted in a prominent and conspicuous place in every establishment where they can readily be observed by employees and applicants for employment. These posters have been revised, and as of August 1, 2016, employers must post the revised versions.

You may download the revised posters from the United States Department of Labor (“DOL”) website at:



If you are unsure about whether you are required to post these new federally mandated posters, or would like more information about which federal posters you are required to post, you may access the DOL’s FirstStep Poster Advisor for guidance at:

Gail E. Farb
(941) 552-2557

The National Labor Relations Board Continues its Assault on Employer Handbook Policies

In a recent case involving both T-Mobile and Metro PCS the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB” or “Board”) continued to act as a super-personnel department, picking apart policies in employee handbooks. The NLRB found that a policy requiring employees to communicate in a positive and professional manner was overbroad. It also determined that policies requiring employees to behave in a professional manner and to communicate “in a manner that is conducive of effective working relationships,” could be reasonably construed by employees as prohibiting disagreements or conflicts, including protected activity such as discussions about the terms and conditions of their employment. It ruled that these policies were a violation of the National Labor Relations Act.

The NLRB further found that a policy prohibiting employees from recording people or confidential information in the workplace using cameras, camera phones, or other recording was a violation of the Act. The Board found the policy overbroad in that it did not limit the restriction to work time and/or work areas. The Board opined that employees could reasonably believe that the policy restricted their ability to document the terms and conditions of their employment and, in doing so, limited employees’ ability to obtain evidence of protected concerted activity.

There were several other policies reviewed by the Board in its decision. Policies that have typically been accepted as appropriate are now being declared unlawful by the Board. Employers should carefully construct handbook policies, as well as review and update them on an ongoing basis, otherwise it may face scrutiny from the NLRB.

The Board’s Decision may be accessed here:

Jennifer Fowler-Hermes