EMPLOYERS MAY AGAIN RESTRICT USE OF THEIR EMAIL SYSTEM
The NLRB has re-established the right of an employer to restrict employee use of its email system if it does so on a non-discriminatory basis. Caesars Entertainment, Inc., 368 NLRB No. 143. This case reversed an Obama-era ruling that employees given access to the employer's email system had a presumptive right to use that system, on non-working time, for union or other concerted activities. In the current ruling, the Board stated that employees do not have a statutory right to use the employer's email and other information-technology (IT) resources to engage in non-work-related communications. The ruling indicates that employers 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 union or other protected concerted communications. The Board in essence reinstated the rulings that existed prior to the Obama NLRB.
In doing so, the Board agree with business groups that employers have property and First Amendment rights to limit the use of their own email systems. An exception will remain, however, for cases "where an employer's email system furnishes the only reasonable means for employees to communicate with one another."