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NLRA Requirement Shot Down by Appeals Court

The National Labor Relations Act allows workers the ability to join together to pursue better working conditions or higher pay, regardless of whether a union is involved. But many employees in Texas may not know this is part of their employee rights because the mandate that required employers to post signs indicating this fact was recently struck down. A federal court of appeals determined that punishing employers who do not post such notices, as mandated by the National Labor Relations Board, would conflict with the employers' freedom of speech.

Some opponents to the appeals ruling are appalled, suggesting that employees' rights are being infringed on before they are even aware of the rights they have. According to reports, the posting requirement of the NLRA was made so employees at nonunion companies would be made aware of the rights they possess. It was also to make sure recent immigrants and young workers would have knowledge of the Act.

Critics of the federal ruling note that four of the ruling court's 11 seats have gone unfilled since 2006, indicating the current bias of the present judges is one of pro-business. Opponents then point toward the many laws that require postings to notify the public, asking if they impose on anyone's rights to freedom of speech. They believe employers opposed the posting requirement because they do not want employees to know they have these rights, not because they are concerned with constitutionality.

Workers that understand the rights they have under the NLRA know that they can pursue better workplace conditions, something that can contribute to the safety of people on a job site. This could eliminate the risk of a workplace accident, something that could result in the injury or death of a worker. Anyone involved in such a case--especially if it resulted in an injury or fatality--should contact an attorney. Though the NLRA posting is no longer required, it does not mean that an employee's legal rights have been diminished.

Source: New York Times, "No Right to Know Your Rights" Teresa Tritch, May. 09, 2013

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