The National Labor Relations Board ruled today that workers are not entitled to use company email for organizing.
The decision in Caesars Entertainment reverses an Obama-era decision in Purple Communications, which said workers have the presumptive right to use company email for non-work purposes. The board’s decision effectively reinstates a 2007 George W. Bush-era Register-Guard decision that gave bosses the authority to restrict employee use of their email system.
“Employees do not have a statutory right to use employers’ email and other information-technology (IT) resources to engage in non-work-related communications,” the board’s Republican majority said in a written statement. “Rather, employers have the right to control the use of their equipment, including their email and other IT systems, and they may lawfully exercise that right to restrict the uses to which those systems are put, provided that in doing so, they do not discriminate against the union or other protected concerted communications.“
Democratic member Lauren McFerran, whose term expired Monday, said the decision impedes workers’ organizing rights.
“The majority’s decision aims to turn back the clock on the ability of employees to communicate with each other at work, for purposes that the National Labor Relations Act protects,” McFerran wrote.