Under the Obama administration, the Democratic majority of the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB” or “Board”) took an overly expansive view of how the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA” or “Act”) should be interpreted and enforced. In particular, the Board advanced a very broad reading of Section 7 of the Act, which says that employees have the right to “engage in other concerted activities for the purpose of collective bargaining or other mutual aid or protection.”
Indeed, the Obama-era NLRB seemed to elevate Section 7 above any other workplace interest, including those established by other federal statutes. In furtherance of this view, the Obama Board overturned substantial precedent in almost 100 cases, equivalent to over 4,500 years of precedent.
This paper highlights ten of the Obama Board’s most egregious labor policy shifts, all of which stretched the boundaries of common sense and existing jurisprudence. Many of these Board decisions involved an employer’s application of neutral employer policies to provide for a safe and efficient workplace, including maintaining the confidentiality of internal investigations, the ability to regulate inappropriate workplace
conduct, employee use of company e-mail systems, and prohibitions on obnoxious, obscene, and harassing behavior...