In a major ruling, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has overturned longstanding precedent that in effect shielded employees’ racist and sexist speech from disciplinary action in instances where the speech was ostensibly uttered in connection with activities protected under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). NT Lakis had filed a “friend-of-the-court” brief on behalf of the Center for Workplace Compliance (CWC) with the Board in this case, arguing that it provided the opportunity for the Board to throw out a line of cases that created a conflict between the NLRA and an employer’s nondiscrimination obligations under federal EEO laws, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII).

In General Motors, 369 NLRB No. 127 (2020), decided on July 21, the Board ruled that “employees who engage in abusive conduct in the course of [NLRA protected] activity will not receive greater protection from discipline than other employees who engage in abusive conduct.” Agreeing with the arguments that CWC raised in its brief, the Board observed that it “will no longer stand in the way of employers’ legal obligation to take prompt and appropriate corrective action to avoid a hostile work environment on the basis of protected characteristics.”

Members of the Center for Workplace Compliance (CWC) can read more here.