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Coastal Industries, a Jacksonville, Florida employer, thought it had an employee handbook that was compliant with the dictates of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). After a NLRB review of its handbook, however, it got a rude awakening. Remember, the NLRB can find workplace policies to be unfair labor practices at both union and nonunion companies alike.
Within the last couple of years, the NLRB has begun using a test, called the Boeing test, which places workplace policies in one of three categories: (1) lawful, (2) unlawful, or (3) it depends. In reviewing the “it depends” policies, the NLRB will look at both the impact the policy has upon expression covered by Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) (which protects what is known as “concerted activity”) as well as whether the employer has a good business reason for creating the rule.