NLRB General Counsel Approves Employer’s At-Will Policy
The NLRB’s Division of Advice recently determined that an employer’s employment-at-will policy was lawful, as it did not inhibit employees from exercising their statutory rights to organize under Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act. Lionbridge Technologies, 19-CA-115285 (NLRB 2014), available at http://www.nlrb.gov/cases-decisions/advice-memos.
The employer policy that was at issue provided:
Employment at the Employer is on an at-will basis unless other-wise stated in a written individual employment agreement signed by the Senior Vice President of Human Resources. This means that employment may be terminated by the employee or the Employer at any time, for any reason or for no reason, and with or without prior notice.
No one has the authority to make any express or implied representations in connection with, or in any way limit, an employee’s right to resign or the Employer’s right to terminate an employee at any time, for any reason or for no reason, with or without prior notice. Nothing in this handbook creates an employment agreement, express or implied, or any other agreement between any employee and the Employer.
No statement, act, series of events or pattern of conduct can change this at-will relationship.
The NLRB Division of Advice concluded that this policy was lawful because (1) the policy did not explicitly restrict employees’ Section 7 rights; (2) it was not promulgated in response to union activity; (3) it was not applied unlawfully; (4) employees could not reasonably construe the policy as prohibiting them from organizing a union; and (5) it did not require that employees agree that their at-will status could not be “amended, modified or altered in any way.”