Recently, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) introduced a “Know Your Rights” card series to help inform workers of their rights under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). The foldable cards are available in English and Spanish. Two cards have launched the series so far, with additional cards rolling out later this year. In 2023, the NLRB has focused on rulemaking and outreach for the labor laws it enforces. In February, the NLRB ruled that severance agreements cannot require employees to broadly waive their rights under the NLRA.
Employee Rights Under the NLRA
The NLRA is a federal law that gives employees the right to organize and to determine whether to have unions represent them during collective bargaining. In doing so, it ensures employees can work together to improve their wages and working conditions. Meanwhile, the NLRB’s statutory jurisdiction covers private-sector employers whose interstate commerce activities exceed specified minimum levels, variable by business type. Coverage is similar to that of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), one of five employment laws businesses need to know. Under the NLRA, both union and non-union employees have the right to engage in concerted activity whereby two or more employees act for their mutual aid regarding the terms and conditions of their employment. Examples of concerted activity include:
- talking about wages and benefits;
- petitioning for better hours;
- concerted refusal to work amidst unmitigated workplace safety hazards; and
- talking with the employer, government agency, or the media about problems in the workplace.
“Know Your Rights” Card Series
The first two cards in the “Know Your Rights” card series were released on March 28. One card provides information for union employees under Weingarten rights. The other card covers immigrant protections under the NLRA. The NLRB designed the tri-fold cards to be printed, folded, and used by employees in the workplace. All private sector employers can expect additional cards to roll out this year, which may cover rights that protect all employees. In the meantime, employers may download the following “Know Your Rights” cards:
- Weingarten Rights – discusses the right of union employees to have a representative present during an interview that the employee believes could lead to discipline. Representatives act as advisors to employees during investigative interviews. Weingarten rights also include protection from retaliation if an employee requests a representative.
- Immigrant Worker Rights – covers protections under the NLRA regardless of immigration status. In brief, immigrant workers have the right to discuss pay and unfair treatment, join a union, vote in union elections, and to strike. Additionally, the NLRB will not ask about immigration status or share such information with the authorities unless the employee specifically requests it.
Overall, the purpose of the “Know Your Rights” card series is to ensure that all employees can easily access key information on rights applicable to them. According to General Counsel Jennifer Abruzzo, “The cards will advance the NLRB’s efforts to remove barriers for workers in underserved communities through education, outreach, and processes so that all workers can safely access the NLRB.”