Labor: NLRB issues new guidance on at-will disclaimers

Language that keeps employees from engaging in concerted activity to change an at-will relationship is unlawful

Acting General Counsel of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), Lafe Solomon, recently issued new guidance regarding at-will disclaimers in employee handbooks. The NLRB’s Division of Advice considered at-will employment clauses in two employee handbooks and found both lawful under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). The memoranda issued containing these decisions constitute important guidance for employers to note and consider when creating and revising employee handbooks.

The Division of Advice issued two memoranda, each considering and finding lawful a different at-will disclaimer. The division reviewed the disclaimers to determine whether an employee could reasonably construe the language to prohibit NLRA-protected union or concerted activity, such as joining a union or discussing terms and conditions of employment with co-workers.

Contributing Author

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John Kuenstler

John F. Kuenstler is a partner in the Chicago office of Barnes & Thornburg LLP and a member of the Labor and Employment Department. Mr....

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