X

Reset Password

Username:

Change Password

Old Password:
New Password:
We have completed your request.

Managing the Modern Workplace
V&E International Labor & Employment Resources

  • 29
  • August
  • 2019

Author:

Share on:

Property Lines: Where Employee Rights Meet Company Property Rights

The call usually comes with the sound of panic. My client is upset that some of its contractor’s employees are handing out leaflets to everyone onsite and doing so within the property lines of the company. The contractor’s labor dispute is not with my client but with their own employer. “Can you do anything about it?”, I am asked.

As with many labor law questions, my answer often depends on the current composition of the National Labor Relations Board.

Until recently, under the Obama Board, my answer would depend on whether the company could show that the activity by the non-employees onsite would undermine the ability of the company to control the worksite and continue production. Needless to say, this was an exception that was very hard to meet. In fact, there is no Board case where this exception was found to exist.

On Friday, the Trump Board established a new standard: A company can now deny access if it can show that (1) the third-party employees do not regularly and exclusively work on the company’s property and (2) the third-party employees have other means by which to communicate their message.

In the case where it announced this test, the Board found that symphony employees who had been handing out leaflets at a performing arts center did not work exclusively on the center’s property as they only used the performing arts center for 22 weeks of the year for both rehearsals and performances and otherwise rehearsed and performed in other locations. The performance arts center was also used by other arts groups. The Board also found that the symphony workers could equally communicate by handing out their leaflets at a space across the street from the performing arts center.

Obviously, the Board’s new standard still leaves some questions that need to be addressed in order to determine whether the standard has been met and therefore action can be taken to enforce the company’s private property rights. What this all means is that if it appears that any of your contractors may have a labor dispute with their employees, you should start to consider these issues in case the third-party employees begin to pass out leaflets on your company’s property. Knowing the answers ahead of time may avoid some of the panic and allow the company to either take the appropriate legal action or understand why it cannot.

Subscribe to Managing the Modern Workplace to receive weekly email updates.

Sign Up for Updates

Receive e-mail news and alerts from the V&E Employment, Labor & OSHA team

Author

Thomas H. Wilson

Thomas H. Wilson Partner