This article addresses the interrelationship of employee rights to engage in "concerted activities" under Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) and employer policies on electronic mail (e-mail) use. Should traditional labor law rules regarding solicitation and distribution be applied to e-mail communication? Does a "business-use-only" e-mail policy avoid legal problems? Is such a policy practical in light of the pervasive use of e-mail for general communication? If employers permit selective personal use of the e-mail system, but prohibit discussions related to a union, or to wages, hours and working conditions, such discrimination is legally problematic. Also, employer monitoring of employee e-mail is a form of surveillance that may be prohibited during a union organizational campaign. This article analyzes existing case law interpreting similar issues under the NLRA in light of new issues arising with e-mail in the workplace. The article concludes with recommendations for appropriate resolution of the competing interests of employers, unions, and employees.
Christine N. O'Brien,
The Impact of Employer E-Mail Policies on Employee Rights to Engage in Concerted Activities Protected by the National Labor Relations Act,
Dick. L. Rev.
Available at: https://ideas.dickinsonlaw.psu.edu/dlra/vol106/iss3/4