The Higher Ed Workplace Blog

Test Your HR Legal Knowledge: No Gossip Policies

test-your-hr-legal-knowledge-CUPA-HRAre you an HR legal expert? Here’s a real court case to help test your HR legal knowledge. Review the facts of the case, tell us which side you think prevailed, and find out if you’re right!

The Case: “No Gossip” Policies – Laurus Technical Institute (NLRB, ALJ, No. 10-CA-093934, 12/11/13)

The Facts:

  • Technical institute adopted a “no gossip” policy and put it in its employee handbook
  • Policy stated in part, “Gossip is not tolerated at Laurus Technical Institute … employees that participate in or instigate gossip about the company, an employee or customer will receive disciplinary actions”
  • The handbook defined gossip to include “talking about a person’s professional life without his or her supervisor present”
  • An employee was terminated because of violation of the no gossip policy when she repeatedly discussed concerns about work with a supervisor outside her immediate chain of command
  • She filed a complaint with the NLRB alleging that she was fired for expressing her rights protected by the NLRA to discuss wages, hours and working conditions with other employees

The Question: Does the technical school’s “no gossip” policy contained in the employee handbook violate the NLRA by prohibiting the employee protected activity of discussing among themselves wages, hours and working conditions?

Yes No

Interested in learning more workplace policies or employment law? Check out these resources from CUPA-HR:

To explore the latest HR-related court cases and rulings, plan to join us for the Legal Update Super Session presented by CUPA-HR General Counsel Ira Shepard at the CUPA-HR Annual Conference and Expo 2014, September 28-30 in San Antonio, Texas.

Take our other employment law quiz, related to FLSA and overtime eligibility.