sign for NLRB on its building According to the NLRB, the definition of protected concerted activity is broad and may include co-workers discussing pay or other working conditions. (Photo: Diego M. Radzinschi/THE NATIONAL LAW JOURNAL)

Reversing a 2014 Obama-era decision, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) recently ruled that employees do not have a statutory right to use employers’ email to engage in non-work-related communications.

In Caesar’s Entertainment Inc. d/b/a Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino, the NLRB analyzed a complaint challenging an employer’s handbook rules on computer usage. Among other restrictions, the handbook stated that computer resources may not be used by employees to “send … non-business information” or “solicit for personal gain or advancement of personal views.” The complaint alleged that these handbook rules amounted to a violation of Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act, which protects workers who engage in “concerted activity” regardless of whether they are union members.

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