Labor FAQs – National Labor Relations Act

Q: Is it true that an employer cannot talk to employees about unions unless employees bring up the subject?

A: No. An employer has the right to express its views to employees about unions, even if the employees do not ask. The employer cannot ask the employee about the employee’s union views or preferences, but the employer has the right to express the employer’s views about unions.

Q: In a non-union location, may an employee request another employee to be present during an investigatory interview which may lead to discipline?

A: Yes, under current law the employee has the right to that request. If the employer prefers not to have another employee present in the interview, the employer should notify the employee sought to be interviewed and tell that employee that if the employee insists on the presence of another employee, the employer will not conduct the interview. The employee should be told that the outcome of the investigation will be without the employee’s input, unless the employee participates in an interview without another employee present.

Q: If an employer hears of employees talking about unions, what should the employer do?

A: First of all, do not be defensive. Speak to employees with confidence and facts about unions and the business reasons why it is important for the company to remain union free. Those employees who are not inclined to support a union will not become union supporters simply because you talk to them about it. As a general rule, the employer who remains silent about unions is more likely to end up with one. Secondly, determine whether there exist unresolved issues that make your company vulnerable to an organizing effort. Assess whether any of your supervisors may be ineffective with their employees and a potential source of discord.