News Detail

NLRB Adopts New Standards for Assessing Lawfulness of Work Rules under the National Labor Relations Act

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued a decision in Stericycle Inc., adopting a new legal standard for evaluating employer work rules challenged as facially unlawful under the National Labor Relations Act.

Under the new standard adopted in Stericycle, the NLRB General Counsel must prove that a challenged rule has a reasonable tendency to chill employees from exercising their rights. If the General Counsel does so, then the rule is presumptively unlawful. However, the employer may rebut the presumption by proving that the rule advances a legitimate and substantial business interest and that the employer is unable to advance that interest with a more narrowly tailored rule. If the employer proves its defense, then the work rule will be found lawful to maintain.

NLRB members Wilcox and Prouty joined Chairman McFerran in issuing the decision. Member Kaplan dissented.

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