NLRB Seeks to Protect Employee Privacy

July 31, 2020

A new proposed rule from the National Labor Relations Board would restrict union access to employee email addresses and cellphone numbers before elections, as the Senate confirmed two Board members, ensuring a GOP majority into 2021.

Proposed rule seeks to protect employee privacy:  The proposed rule would roll back a rule by the previous NLRB that required employers to provide employees' full contact information to unions days ahead of representation votes.   The previous rule limited the information to names and addresses.  According to the Board, “the current voter list requirement affords insufficient weight to employee privacy interests, and eliminating the required disclosure of personal email addresses and personal telephone numbers will redress this imbalance.”

The proposal would also allow military members to vote by mail while on leave from their jobs.  The board noted that since 1950, modern advances make it easier to collect military ballots without stalling elections.

The Senate confirms two NLRB members:  Lauren McFerran, the Board’s only Democrat, and Marvin Kaplan were confirmed on nearly party-line votes, ensuring a GOP majority on the Board until August 2021.

Outlook:  It’s unlikely the Board will finalize the proposed rule until sometime in 2021, and the next Congress could strike the rule under the Congressional Review Act depending on the outcome of the November election.  HR Policy Association will be submitting comments supporting the proposal.