Two recent decisions by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB or Board) and a memrandum published by the Board’s General Counsel highlight potential labor law implications for employers seeking to make changes to their workplace policies or institute reductions in force in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to significantly impact seemingly every aspect of workplace administration, presenting various challenges for employers who need to make changes to their policies and practices as part of their response to the virus. The NLRB is reminding employers that in addition to focusing on sick leave laws, workplace safety issues, and reduction in force requirements, they should also be mindful of potential labor law implications related to these actions.
The Board’s decision in Maine Coast Regional Health Facilities, 369 NLRB 51 (March 30, 2020), serves as a useful example of how workplace policies implemented in response to COVID-19 might be viewed by the Board, while its ruling in Baylor University Medical Center, 369 NLRB 43 (March 16, 2020), found confidentiality and “no participation in claims” provisions included in voluntary severance agreements to be lawful. And finally, General Counsel Memorandum GC 20-04 provides insight on how the enforcement arm of the agency might view an employer’s duty to bargain with unions amid the COVID-19 outbreak.
Members of the Center for Workplace Compliance (CWC) can read more here.