The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has long held that employers could not ban nonemployee union organizers from cafeterias, restaurants, and other areas open to the public so long as the space was used in a manner consistent with its accepted use and any activities were not disruptive. However, the NLRB has now overturned this long-standing precedent.
Employers are now allowed to prohibit nonemployee union representatives from organizing activities in the company’s public spaces. However, this ruling does not give you carte blanche to ban all organizing activity on company grounds. Although the ruling will gain a more defined meaning over time, it’s important to understand its restrictions for both you and potential union organizers.
Ensure your company policies are applied uniformly
You should take the time to review your company’s solicitation policy. A group could effectively challenge a policy if it’s not enforced uniformly. Inconsistent enforcement that appears to be discriminatory could also raise issues. You may want to allow some nonemployees to solicit or distribute literature on your company’s property. However, allowing one group access while excluding another could cause legal problems.
It’s also important to note that the ruling applies to nonemployees. It doesn’t speak to employees’ rights to organize in public areas while they are off the clock.
Both state and federal laws allow for certain protections when it comes to employees who are attempting to unionize. It’s important to keep any union prevention efforts within the confines of the law. You should work closely with an experienced legal professional who understands these issues. Doing so can help ensure that your company’s interests remain protected.