NLRB Okays At-Will Policies

November 6th, 2012 by JBWK

After an unsettling twist involving the National Labor Relations Board questioning standard employment-at-will provisions in employee handbooks, the NLRB’s Associate General Counsel has reined in the issue.

Reviewing two at-will policies in employee handbooks–stating that employees’ employment is at will and that no express or implied contractual rights are created by the handbook–the memo says the policies are lawful. The advice memo explains that the provisions can’t be reasonably read as dissuading employees from exercising their rights to organize. In other words, read together with the rest of the handbook, they don’t chill employees’ organizing rights. 

The memo did, however, reserve some space. It says that if employees were forced to sign a specific waiver stating that they could never amend their at-will status, that could be illegal because it could be a waiver of the employees’ rights to unionize.

But for now, the typical language seems okay.

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