Does the standard confidentiality agreement you use with your employees violate the law? DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary points out that it may be time to dust off your form and see if some revisions are needed:
"Many employers may now be in violation of Section (8)(a)(1) of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) as the result of a newly released decision by the National Labor Relations Board (the Board).
Most employers are aware that any rule prohibiting employees from discussing their own wages or terms and conditions of employment with co-workers violates Section 8(a)(1) of the NLRA, unless the employer has a legitimate and substantial business justification for the rule. Historically, such violations have been found where employers explicitly instructed employees not to discuss these topics or disciplined them for so doing.
Recently, however, the Board expanded the potential arena for these violations. In Cintas Corp., 244 N.L.R.B. No. 118 (June 30, 2005), the Board held that a broadly stated generic corporate confidentiality policy violated Section 8(a)(1) because it "could reasonably be construed" to prohibit employees from discussing their wages or terms and conditions of employment. Because broad confidentiality policies are so common, many employers will need to review and modify their longstanding confidentiality policies, even if they have never been applied to prohibit discussion of wages and benefits among co-workers."
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