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The employer should be clear about a recent judgment of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit that an excessively wide privacy and settlement practice violates the National Labor Relations Act ("NLRA"). Case, Quicken Loans by NLRB, 2016 U.S. App. The LEXIS 13778 (D.C. Cir.) included an employee relations statement prohibiting any employee from using or revealing a wide variety of personal information or publically criticizing the firm or its managers without Quicken's express permission in writing.
Then Quicken filed an appeal against the NLRB's ruling with the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. The NLRA Section 7 provides workers with "the right to self-organise, to establish, join or support workers' organisations, to negotiate through their own representative of their choice and to take part in other coordinated actions for the purposes of negotiation or other forms of assistance or protection" 29 U.S.C. § 157.
According to Nach dem D.C. Circuit law " whether workplace rules run infoul of Section 7's protections turns upon a objective inquiry into whether or not the rules would reasonably neigen to chill employees en exercise' of their statutory rights". Acts which may reasonably be interpreted to forbid the operation of Section 7 or which have been published or implemented to limit the operation of the functions of Section 7.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit confirmed the NLRB's ruling on the appellate case. It found that the ban on disclosure of staff information under the non-disclosure policy was too wide, since it covered "all staff schedules, staff information [and] staff information such as private numbers, mobile numbers, postal and e-mail addresses", in so far as it "would significantly impede the exercising of the staff members' Section 7 rights".
Also, the tribunal found that the non-validation was void because it prevented staff from "publicly criticizing, ridiculing, denigrating, or defaming the Company or its goods, service, policies by means of a verbal or non-verbal statement[ing]", which constitutes a violation of their Section 7 right. The case shows that the judicial system is increasingly reluctant to limit the free information flows between workers and indicates that the judicial system will declare excessively wide provisions in prospective labour agreements overturned.