Confidentiality Rules in the Workplace
May 07, 2018
The National Labor Relations Board has issued various rulings affecting confidentiality directives during workplace investigations.
NLRB rulings have consistently barred employers from issuing blanket confidentiality orders to alleged victims of complaints. Employers need to show compelling reasons, such as employee safety or preservation of evidence, to support such a directive. In situations that could lead to criminal prosecution (i.e., illegal drug use), employers may prohibit employees that report the conduct from discussing the matter.
The NLRB has struck down post-investigation orders of confidentiality. Employers have attempted to enforce these orders to maintain a harmonious workplace and prevent embarrassment, but the NLRB has ruled those reasons are not sufficient to require confidentiality.