What! How Could My Confidentiality Policy Violate the National Labor Relations Act?
WARNING: I know it’s April Fool’s Day, but this is not a joke. You know all about statutory and regulatory requirements for financial institutions to protect customer information that goes back to Gramm Leach Bliley. However, a federal court recently held that an employer’s information confidentiality policy violated the National Labor Relations Act because it could prohibit employees from discussing organizing a union outside the office. The purpose of the offending clause was to maintain the confidentiality of trade secrets and protect customer information. The court held that the language was too broad, even though the National Labor Relations Board had sided with the employer.
Today’s Takeaway? Make sure that your employee manual, your confidentiality policy, and all employment contracts include a statement along the following lines: “Our Employment Manual/Policy [or This Contact] is not intended to prohibit, restrict or interfere with employee rights under federal or state labor laws to organize a union or engage in related activities.”
Jay L. Hack is available at firstname.lastname@example.org.