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Code of Conduct

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Are your employees driving you crazy because of their behavior in the workplace? Good news! The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) recently issued a Memorandum declaring that companies may legally require employees to conform to a Code of Conductamong other things.  The NLRB is an independent federal agency that protects the rights of private sector employees to join together, with or without a union, to improve their wages and working conditions. The agency also acts to prevent and remedy unfair labor practices committed by private sector employers and unions.

This latest ruling is a reversal of previous rulings that imposed strict restrictions on employers in several areas.  Now, according to this NLRB Memorandum, employers have the right to:

  • Require employees to behave in a civil manner. Employees are still free to criticize their employers, but their employers can require them to do so in a civil manner.
  • Ban insubordinate behavior. The General Counsel for the NLRB has acknowledged that “An employer has a legitimate and substantial interest in preventing insubordination or non-cooperation at work. Furthermore, during working time an employer has every right to expect employees to perform their work and follow directives.”
  • Protect confidential and proprietary information, and customer information.
  • Prohibit disruptive behavior such as “fighting, roughhousing, horseplay, tomfoolery, and other shenanigans” And “yelling, profanity, hostile or angry tones, throwing things, slamming doors, waving arms or fists, verbal abuse, destruction of property, threats, or outright violence.”
  • Restrict employees from taking photographs or making audio recordings in the workplace. (However, Louisiana is a “one-party state” which means that audio recordings are legal as long as one-party is aware that the conversation is being recorded.)

On the other hand, the NLRB still upholds employees’ rights to discuss or disclose information about wages, benefits, or other conditions of employment.

Do you have an Employee Handbook that includes a Code of Conduct?  If you already have an Employee Handbook, do you need to update your policies?  It is much easier to enforce policies and prevent disruptive workplace behavior if your company has a written Code of Conduct and polices that explain company expectations for workplace behavior.

An HR professional can help you with all of your human resources needs, from hiring the right employees, running background checks, creating employee handbooks that include anti-harassment policies and procedures, managing employee performance, staying legally compliant, automating employee records, and anything else you need to create an environment where employees can provide the services that you need to run your business.