After a request from companies such as Google, the Federal Labor Commission ruled this week that employers can prevent workers from using e-mail to organize union activities,media outlet The Verge reported. In its 3-1 ruling, the NLRB said “employees have no legal right to use employer equipment, including IT resources, for union activities”, leaving room for management to block the organization of their work e-mail systems.
The ruling reverses an earlier ruling by a Committee led by the Obama administration that gave workers more freedom to use their work e-mails to organize legally protected labor activities.
The ruling, based on the Las Vegas casino’s e-mail policy, was recommended by Google’s lawyers to the labor committee. As Bloomberg reported earlier Wednesday, Google told the committee that “Obama-era standards should be overturned” and that broader pro-employer rulings should be reinstated. A Google spokesman told the media at the time that the company “has not lobbied for any rule changes” and used the position as a key point in a broader legal defense of claims the company considered unfounded.
Google has been subject to protests from employees in various ways over the past two years, most of which are internally organized, with Google employees posting protests on internal message boards. But the ruling will have far more impact than any other company.
Some members objected to this week’s ruling that the NLRB “is designed to regress the ability of employees to communicate with each other at work.” “