SW Legal studies in Business

One Open Argument with Union Organizers Not Illegal Surveillance
Description Appeals court affirmed NLRB decision that a company did not engage in illegal surveillance of unionization efforts when a manager spoke to employees being offered union cards in an open setting.
Topic Labor Law
Key Words

Illegal Surveillance; NLRB Deference

C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts

Aladdin Gaming runs a casino in Las Vegas that was the target of a unionization effort. During a lunch break in the employee dining room, union organizers approached people who worked in the dining room and asked if they would sign union cards. Seeing that, the head of human resources interrupted the discussion and told the dining room workers that they should get all the facts before they signed such cards. A conversation of about eight minutes occurred discussing various issues related to unionization. The union filed a complaint that the action of the manager was illegal surveillance in violation of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). The administrative law judge held for the union. Aladdin appealed and the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) overturned the decision, ruling that it was not illegal surveillance because it was an isolated incident, was in the open, and was not coercive. The union appealed.

Decision

Affirmed. Rulings of the NLRB are due judicial deference as long as the ruling is rational and consistent with the NLRA. The NLRB properly considered the coercive nature of the incident and found that since it was an isolated incident, and occurred in an open area, it was a rational discussion of union issues and not illegal surveillance of employees involved in union activities.

Citation Local Joint Executive Board of Las Vegas v. NLRB, ---F.3d--- (2008 WL 216935, 9th Cir., 2008)

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