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New NLRB General Counsel Promises Changes

Peter Robb has been appointed as the new General Counsel for the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). In his Memorandum issued on December 1, he shared the priorities of his office.

First, he will base decisions on existing law, irrespective of whether he agrees with the legal principles. He wants to review decision made over the last eight years. To that end, cases involving significant legal issues, particularly those issues over the last eight years which overruled precedent and involved one or more dissents, should be submitted to the General Counsel (GC) for advice. The list of possible issues that the GC intends to revisit is long. Some examples are: support for concerted activity where only one employee was involved; concerted activity upheld in the face of obscenity and vulgarity; no camera rules in handbooks, rules requiring confidentiality of investigations; employee presumptive use of employer email for Section 7 activities, joint employer status and many others. Additionally, seven memoranda issued by the previous General Counsel have been rescinded.

The General Counsel has the power to decide which cases proceed to the Board for decisions and helps set policy throughout the country. The memorandum signals that reversals on recent decisions are likely.