My personal opinions are interlaced with this blog posting. Nevertheless, I believe that my personal opinions might provide employers with a greater sense of government's involvement in the workplace and some reasons for that involvement.
Over the past year the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has been very active in pursuing cases on what many workplace experts believe are novel claims. Take for example, the battle over Boeing's ability to build a plant in South Carolina. Another example is the NLRB's position on disciplining employees for social media use.
I believe that the efforts of the NLRB have been spurred, in part, by the Obama Administration's efforts to solidify support within certain groups in the year prior to the election. With respect to NLRB actions, President Obama wants to be seen as the man of the common worker, someone who will battle for them and their way of life. (I can think of many other examples outside of the workplace but will not post those on this blog which is dedicated to workplace issues.) In my book, the Administration is soliciting votes through what I call the "Doctrine of Appeasement." If he keeps enough people sufficiently happy, he can win the election.
Employers should be particularly careful under this Administration about the NLRB's efforts to appease your employees. A great example of this is the announcement "NLRB Launches web page
describing Protected Concerted Activity." You can see it here: www.nlrb.gov/concerted-activity. (Copy the link into your browser.) It's a well-done cite. It has a map showing the many wonderful things the NLRB has done for employees throughout the nation.
As a result of the NLRB's emphasis on this topic, "Concerted activity" has become a viable and important area of concern for employers. Scrutiny should be given in every disciplinary setting to make sure the employee is not able to contend the action was taken due to some type of "concerted activity" in which he participated.