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New NLRB General Counsel Signals Policy Shift

December 13, 2017

Peter Robb, the newly appointed general counsel for the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), issued a memorandum on December 1, 2017 that suggests he may revisit some of the NLRB’s policy decisions rendered under the Obama administration.   A few areas of interest in his relatively brief memorandum are highlighted below.  

Notably, GC Memorandum 18-02 rescinds seven previous General Counsel Memoranda. These include the highly publicized GC Memorandum 15-04, which prohibited employers from implementing a variety of somewhat standard rules in employee handbooks on the basis that they could chill employees from exercising their Section 7 rights: i.e., to engage in protected, concerted activity under the National Labor Relations Act. 

Moreover, GC Memorandum 18-02 instructs the NLRB’s regional offices to seek “alternative analysis” from the board’s Division of Advice on a number of matters before issuing complaints, such as those that involve employer handbook rules, joint employer status, off-duty employee’s access to property, protected work stoppages, and expanded application of an employee’s Weingarten rights, which allow employees to have union representation at investigatory interviews.

As employers head into the end of the year, Robb’s memorandum signals a more employer-friendly agenda for the NLRB than existed under the previous administration. However, the full implications of the GC Memorandum 18-02, and Robb’s role as general counsel, will become more evident from the NLRB complaints that are issued and the decisions that are rendered. Stay tuned.


Our Insights are published as a service to clients and friends. They are intended to be informational and do not constitute legal advice regarding any specific situation.

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