The National Labor Relations Board held recently that employers must allow use of company emails for union organizing purposes during non-work periods, a decision that many employment and labor advisers say will be a nuisance for workplace communication policies.

The Board’s decision in Purple Communications, a 3-2 split among NLRB members, included a controversial change to traditional labor law and office communication guidelines under Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act. Because email has become a “common form of workplace communications” in recent years, the Board’s decision noted that “employee use of email for statutorily protected communications on nonworking time must presumptively be permitted by employers who have chosen to give employees access to their email systems.”

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