You May Now Complain At Work! Code of Conduct Be Warned
Employees don’t need to be perpetually happy! Employers can’t make employees be positive at work
Yes, go ahead and complain. You don’t have to constantly remain positive.
A recent ruling says so!
This is the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) view of it anyway.
In a decision last week between T-Mobile USA and Communications Workers of America, the board agreed with a judge to overturn several of T-Mobile’s employee handbook rules, finding them to be unlawful.
Like many companies, T-Mobile’s rule on positive work environment said:
“[T-Mobile] expects all employees to behave in a professional manner that promotes efficiency, productivity, and cooperation. Employees are expected to maintain a positive work environment by communicating in a manner that is conducive to effective working relationships with internal and external customers, clients, co-workers, and management.”
The board viewed this as:
“[W]e find that employees would reasonably construe the rule to restrict potentially controversial or contentious communications and discussions, including those protected by Section 7 of the [NLRA], out of fear that the [employer] would deem them to be inconsistent with a ‘positive work environment.'”
Section 7 of the [NLRA] dictates that employers may not interfere with, restrain, or coerce employees in the exercise of their rights to unionize, or join together to advance their interests as employees.
But this opens up a great topic for conversation on allowing employees to be able to speak up in order to make informed decisions on if there is wrongdoing happening in the workplace.
Because I think it all ties in together.
Any decision an employee makes about speaking up, whether on union issues or other issues that could damage a company, germinates by initiating potentially controversial or contentious communications and discussions in the workplace.
This is the very essence of how misconduct, abuse, workers’ rights, and other topics like fraud and abuse start to become known.
To shut down conversation like this shuts down the ability for the company to know about wrongdoing or other issues, and do something about it.
So making less-than-positive statements at work is now officially OK.
What’s even better is being able to continue less-than-positive statements about misconduct via an anonymous reporting system.
Reporting on these statements may find some interesting things. You never know what kinds of trends pop up that otherwise would never have been known. Trends, that if continued, could be detrimental to a company.