Labor Law -- active

Communication Workers v. NLRB   (9th Circuit)

Use of company email by employees

This case involves the use of company email systems by employees. It arises from a 2014 decision by the NLRB that, if a company allows employees to use their email system, the employees have a statutory right to use the system on nonworking time for a wide range of messages, and companies have extremely limited, if any, oversight authority.

That decision, known as the Purple Communications case, reversed a previous NLRB decision and spawned substantial additional litigation involving other companies. The rule seeks to provide access to a company's own email system when other email systems can easily be accessed for free outside of the company's operations. The rule allows for extensive workplace distractions and personal misuse of business communication systems developed for business purposes.

The NAM joined with the HR Policy Ass'n, NFIB, and the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace in an amicus brief arguing that the ruling creates legal and practical problems for employers of all sizes, is unnecessary in today's world of social media and free email accounts, and infringes First Amendment speech and Fifth Amendment property rights. Further, the NLRB failed to provide an adequate justification and rationale for departing from longstanding precedent.

Related Documents:
NAM amicus brief  (October 10, 2017)


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