By now, you have probably heard about Purple Communications, Inc., the NLRB’s December 11, 2014 decision concerning company email accounts. The agency ruled that employees with access to company email systems “in the course of their work,” should, in most instances, be allowed to use the email system to discuss workplace issues. This decision overrules Register Guard, which, in essence, gave employers the right to ban all solicitation by email so long as the ban was consistently enforced. Unfortunately for employers, Purple Communications, Inc. leaves many important questions unanswered.
We will monitor this decision closely to see if it is appealed and keep you apprised of any changes. However, regardless of whether the decision ultimately survives appellate review, employers should consider how their existing email-use policies may be impacted by this decision. Employers can now expect unions and employees to file a wave of new unfair labor practice charges challenging employers’ existing email policies..
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