Employer Unlawfully Implemented Punch-in Policy, Says NLRB


In Troy Grove, the National Labor Relations Board held that the unionized employer violated the National Labor Relations Act by implementing a rule regulating how early employees could clock in prior to their shift. Employees frequently punched in well before the start of their morning shift. In response, the Company implemented a rule requiring that employees clock in no more than five minutes prior to their schedule shift. When implemented, the employer did not maintain a rule or policy regarding punching in early. The employer implemented the rule without first notifying and bargaining with the employees’ union. Thus, the Board held that the company unlawfully unilaterally implemented the clocking-in policy.

While unsurprising, the Board’s holding in the case serves as a good reminder to employers seeking to implement rules or policies related to work hours – even commonsense and reasonable rules like the one in this case – or other mandatory subjects of bargaining that, in the absence of contractual authority permitting them to act unilaterally or a previous waiver of the union’s right to bargain, the employer must first notify and bargain with the union prior to implementing the rule.