A federal appeals court recently rejected a ruling by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) that potentially limited the scope of employer anti-harassment policies.
A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in Atlanta overruled the NLRB by upholding the following workplace conduct provisions in a T-Mobile employee handbook:
- Employees should “maintain a positive work environment”; and
- It is”unacceptable” for employees to engage “arguing or fighting” with co-workers, “failing to treat others with respect,” and “failing to demonstrate teamwork.”
However, the 5th Circuit let stand the NLRB’s ruling that a provision in the employee handbook prohibiting all photography and audio or video recording in the workplace violated the National Labor Relations Act. The panel said a reasonable employee “would interpret it to discourage protected activity, such as even an off-duty employee photographing a wage schedule posted on a corporate bulletin board.”
T-Mobile had argued the recording ban was intended to prevent harassment and maintain individual privacy.
The 5th Circuit decision, written by Judge E. Grady Jolly, held that a reasonable employee would not construe the requirement to maintain a positive work environment as a restriction on their right to unionize or engage in collective activity to improve their working conditions. Continue reading “Appeals Court: Employers can Require Workers to ‘Maintain a Positive Work Environment.””