NLRB Finds Apple in Violation of Federal Law

National Labor Relations Board Rules that Apple Wrongfully Interfered with Union Activity The National Labor Relations Board has sided with Apple employees in a complaint lodged against the tech giant alleging wrongful interference with protected collective bargaining rights. It’s not the first time Apple has faced similar allegations. Over the past three years, the company has faced increasing scrutiny by the NLRB as employees at two stores have unionized and workers at other Apple retail outlets have explored the possibility of collective bargaining. In the most recent ruling, the federal labor board concluded that a New York City Apple store’s manager had violated federal law by asking an employee if he supported the unionization effort. The NLRB held that such action amounted to an illegal and unlawful interrogation. Additionally, the board found that the NYC Apple store illegally prohibited employees for distributing literature about the possibility of forming or joining a union. In its defense, Apple argued that the manager did not intend to threaten the employee, and further contended that the questions asked of the worker did not rise to the level of interrogation previously ruled illegal by the NLRB. The NLRB said the manager’s intent was irrelevant…the action was illegal. As a part of the ruling, Apple will be required to post notices at the store admitting to violation of federal law and informing employees of their rights. Apple also faced sanctions from the NLRB in 2023, when the board found that the company’s “work rules, handbook rules and confidentiality rules” violated federal law as reasonably tending to interfere with, restrain or coerce employees who sought to...

NRLB Disagrees with Restrictions on Severance Agreements

NRLB reverses a decision The National Labor Relations Board (NRLB) disagreed with an administrative law judge that certain severance agreement terms were lawful. The Board reversed its decision in the case McLaren Macomb. Its finding was that even offering a severance agreement containing overly restrictive terms would be an unfair labor practice. What are details regarding restrictions on severance agreements changed? Being offered an unlawful severance agreement is enough to bring a complaint against an employer. Previously the rule was that signing an unlawful severance agreement was necessary to bring a complaint. How did the decision affect confidentiality and non-disparagement provisions? A confidentiality agreement binds one or more parties to non-disclosure of information considered to be confidential or proprietary. In general, the NLRB opposes confidentiality provisions but would allow them if: Narrowly tailored Restricting the dissemination of proprietary or trade secret information For a limited time period Based on legitimate business justifications How did the decision affect non-disparagement provisions? The legal term disparagement refers to publicizing derogatory statements that are false and harmful regarding a business, product or another’s property. Non-disparagement provisions would prevent disparagement. Concessions made for non-disparagement provisions were if they were: Limited to employee statements about an employer if they met the definition of defamation Maliciously untrue Made with knowledge of their falsity Made with reckless disregard for their truth or falsity The NLRB also would not provide protections to supervisors when offered overly broad severance agreements. An example would be an agreement preventing them from participating in an NLRB proceeding. Reference: JD Supra As an employer, do you have legal questions about restrictive clauses in...