Terminating An Employee For Talking To The Press

April 29, 2019

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has held that a policy prohibiting employees from speaking to the media at any time violates the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). The NLRB explained: “Employees have a statutory right to speak publicly about their complaints or concerns with their terms and conditions of employment, including to the press, without employer authorization.” In other words, employees have a right under the N:RA generally to discuss their employment – including with the press. Based on the finding that the policy was unlawful, the NLRB also found that the company violated the NLRA when it terminated two employees pursuant to the policy for speaking to the media about a workplace issue. A more narrowly tailored policy would have passed muster, but the broad media prohibition in this case crossed the line. We recommend all employers have SESCO review their Employee Handbook on annual basis to ensure compliance with all federal and state laws.