NLRB’s Email Rule May Be Coming to an End

In its 2014 decision Purple Communications Inc. and Communication Workers of America, the NLRB ruled that employees could generally use employers’ email systems to organize or engage in other concerted activities protected by Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act, overturning board precedent and causing employers everywhere to scramble to update employee handbooks and policies regarding the use of company-email systems.  That rule may be coming to an end.  In August, Republican board members John Ring, Bill Emanuel and Marvin Kaplan invited briefing on whether to keep, modify, or rescind Purple Communications, over objections from Democratic board members Lauren McFerran and Mark Gaston Pearce.  Briefs from interested parties are due by October 5, 2018.  In what some see as a sign of things to come, on Monday, September 25, 2018, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals granted the NLRB’s request to stay a scheduled oral argument and hold in abeyance a group of consolidated cases over whether the Purple Communications standard for email usage is valid until the NLRB decides whether to keep or revoke it.

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