NLRB Rules Out No Gossiping Rule

HR Resource
December 26, 2013 — 2,161 views  
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NLRB ALJ Donna Dawson recently passed a verdict stating that rules preventing employees from gossiping violates Section 8 (a) (1) of the National Labor Relations Act, and also diminishes exercising Section 7 of the NLRA. The Laurus Technical College case involved the dismissal of Joslyn Henderson, a former employee at the college.

Judge Dawson maintained that the termination based on grounds of not following an unlawful rule, was itself, unlawful. The college openly admitted to terminating Henderson for violating this policy. It went on to say that gossiping was not the sole reason of termination. They argued that Henderson was attempting to convince other employees working at the college to join a rival organization.

Soliciting Employees to Join Competition not Illegal

Even this argument was nullified since personal information can be freely shared as per the right of every employee under the NLRA. Laurus Technical Institute’s policy against gossiping forbade discussing the personal life of any person while they were not around or discussing anybody’s professional life in the absence of their supervisors.

The verdict was passed on December 13th. The ruling was made by Administrative Law Judge Donna M. Dawson in favor of the plaintiff Joslyn Henderson. Office gossip is a channel of corporate communication that can be looked at in two different ways. Most corporations do not like to encourage it because there are chances of rumors being spread that could affect an individual’s efficiency and career at the company. Additionally, it could be deemed as counterproductive because it is an unnecessary way to spend time within offices.

The Positive Side of Office Gossip

Looking at office gossip from another standing point however, gossip provides a channel of free information within an organization. This makes it easy for employees to develop images about others and learn how to address juniors and seniors based on the type of people they are. Open channels of information also help prevent favoritism within the firm and allow for unbiased decisions to be made.

Employee satisfaction is also greater because workers do not feel underprivileged when information is withheld from them. Gossiping takes place in some work environments, and does not in others. There is no way to stop or start anyone from indulging in the same. Either way, organizations run at equal levels of output, and employees are protected under the National Labor Relations Act of 1935. Termination based on the same is unlawful.

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