NLRB to Uber: Let Your Employees Speak
March 13, 2019 by Lorrie Bradley
The National Labor Relations Act prohibits employers from putting a muzzle on employees talking to each other about lawsuits addressing employee claims against their employers. And the NLRB’s General Counsel, the chief of NLRA enforcement, has now issued an advice memorandum applying this rule to strike down an Uber command to its employees.
After facing lawsuits about its failure to pay employees what it owed them under their contracts, Uber sent a series of emails to employees warning them not to discuss the lawsuits with fellow workers or the media.
The NLRB General Counsel concluded that the NLRA’s prohibition on work rules that keep employees from talking with each other (as well as third parties or the media) about workplace problems and how to resolve them applied to Uber here. The emailed instructions not to discuss litigation were therefore an invalid work rule under the Act, the General Counsel advised. Although the General Counsel concluded that Uber could validly restrict employees from speaking about the litigation on behalf of the company, it could not prevent employees from discussing litigation involving the company in a personal capacity.
The issue of whether Uber’s drivers are employees or independent contractors, which has been the subject of other Board charges and litigation, was not addressed in this memorandum.
The underlying charge in this case was resolved without NLRB litigation.
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