The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has issued a final rule requiring most private-sector employers to notify employees of their rights under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) by posting a notice.  This rule is scheduled to take effect on November 14, 2011. 

            The notices explain the right to unionize under federal law, to bargain collectively, to provide employees with union literature, and to work together to improve wages and conditions of employment free of retaliation.  This is the first time the NLRB has required posting of such a notice since the NLRA went into effect in 1935.

            The posting requirement applies to all private sector employers, including unions, who are subject to the NLRA.  Since the NLRA applies to union and non-union workplaces, even workplaces with no union(s) will have to post the notice. 

            The notice of rights may be obtained at no charge from each local NLRB regional offices, or downloaded from the NLRB’s website.  Translated versions will be available, and must be posted at workplaces where at least twenty (20%) percent of the employees are not proficient in English.  Employers must also post the notice on the intranet or on an internet site if personnel rules and policies are customarily posted there.

            Failure to post the notice may be treated as an unfair labor practice under the NLRA. While the NLRB does not have the authority to levy fines against employers for failure to post the notice, knowingly and willfully failing to post the notice may be used as evidence of an unlawful motive in an unfair labor practice involving other alleged violations of the NLRA.  In addition, the NLRB may extend the six (6) month statute of limitations for filing a charge involving other unfair labor practice allegations against the employer if the notice is not posted.