Employer’s Posting of Side Letter Next to NLRB Notice Was Improper
An employer’s posting of a side letter next to an official National Labor Relations Board Notice was found to minimize inappropriately the effect of the Notice.
In Outokumpu Stainless USA, LLC fka Thyssenkrupp Stainless USA, LLC, the employer entered into a settlement agreement with the union over several unfair labor practice charges. As part of the settlement, the employer agreed to post an official NLRB Notice identifying the employer’s unlawful activities. Next to the Notice, however, the employer posted a side letter, denying that it had violated any laws and blaming the union for certain issues. The Board found that this letter attempted “minimize the effect of the Board’s notice” and “suggests to employees that the Board’s notice is posted as a mere formality, and that the employer’s true sentiments are to found in its own notice, not the Board’s.” Accordingly, the Board found that the letter constituted non-compliance with the settlement agreement, and that default judgment on the underlying unfair labor practice charges against the employer was warranted.
The employer’s desire to explain its side of the story is certainly understandable; however, the Board will not permit such actions where it finds the communication to undercut the effectiveness of the Board’s own Notice. Thus, employers must be very careful and should consult with experience labor counsel before taking any such step.