A recent National Labor Relations Act case from the D.C. Court of Appeals concerns whether employees could legally be disciplined for secretly recording a disciplinary meeting. The court enforced the NLRB’s “well-reasoned decision” as supported by substantial evidence and controlling precedent. However, it addressed two issues at greater length. Stephens Media, LLC d/b/a Hawaii Tribune-Herald v. NLRB, Case No.11-1054 (D.C. Cir. Apr. 20, 2012)
The employer in this case was found to have committed a number of unfair labor practices, including refusing a request for a witness to be present at a meeting which the employee feared would result in discipline and disciplining employees for secretly recording a conversation between an employee and a manager. The court adopted the NLRB’s decision that the discipline violated the NLRA. The court also said that established precedent showed “there is no per se rule that the making of surreptitious recordings is unprotected activity; the Company had no policy in effect prohibiting audio recordings; and it is undisputed that the recording was not unlawful under state or local law.”
The decision also discusses a number of other issues, including the nature of protected concerted activity and an employer’s obligations to provide information requested by the union in connection with the discipline of an employee, among others.
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