NLRB finds at-will employment clauses live to see another day

Employee HandbookEmployers can still limit the ability of employees to change their at-will status without running afoul of the NLRA

Arnstein & Lehr Chicago Partner Mark Spognardi and Milwaukee Associate Jesse Dill recently published an article, “NLRB finds at-will employment clauses live to see another day,” in the November 26 issue of Inside Counsel. In the article, they discuss the efforts of the NLRB general counsel targeting the unlawfulness of at-will language in employee handbooks.

The NLRA recently examined at-will employment language in the handbooks of to separate employers. The focus was on the clauses contained in the handbook.

Mr. Spognardi and Mr. Dill state, “For each clause, the general counsel found that the lawfulness of the policy depended on whether employees would reasonably construe the language at issue to prohibit Section 7 activity.” Employers should stay informed about this issue.

The classic lesson for employers examining this issue is to never say never. Handbook language that completely curtails the possibility of an employee taking any action to change his or her employment at-will status is likely going to be interpreted as unlawful by the general counsel and regional offices. As the advisory memoranda make clear, employers can still limit the ability or means of employees to change their at-will status without running afoul of the NLRA. The best course may be to provide how such status can be changed after stating the ways in which it cannot be changed.

The article appeared in the November 26 issue of Inside Counsel. To read it in full and learn further about the at-will language of employee handbooks issue, please click here.

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