Magazine article HRMagazine

Court Invalidates Overly Broad Employee Handbook Rules

Magazine article HRMagazine

Court Invalidates Overly Broad Employee Handbook Rules

Article excerpt

Overly broad employee handbook rules that restrict employees from engaging in protected concerted activities are invalid under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), according to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

At issue were rules that 1) prohibited employees from discussing matters under investigation, 2) limited disclosure of information from the employer's electronic communication and information systems, 3) prohibited activities other than work during working hours, and 4) urged employees to make complaints to their supervisors rather than to fellow employees. The court struck down the first three rules as too broad in scope.

The court stated that the blanket restriction of discussions in the first rule went too far in covering any matter under investigation, although it noted that confidential inquiries are important for preserving privacy. As for the second rule, the court stated that a reasonable employee could interpret it as a prohibition on sharing any information with other employees about employment terms and conditions. …

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