On April 17, 2020, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued an update compiling various announcements outlining the status of and modifications to NLRB administration during the evolving COVID-19 pandemic. For the most part, the NLRB has continued to operate, making it very important for employers to keep abreast of procedural and logistical adjustments. The update is available in full here, and reports the following:
- NLRB regional offices are “open,” but in-person public access is by appointment only. Most employees are teleworking and are conducting business via email and teleconference.
- Unfair labor practice charges continue to be accepted and investigated.
- Representation election petitions are being processed and elections are being conducted by the regional offices, but note the following:
Regional Directors have discretion as to when, where, and if an election can be conducted, in accordance with existing NLRB precedent. In doing so, Regional Directors will consider the extraordinary circumstances of the current pandemic, to include safety, staffing, and federal, state and local laws and guidance.
- Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) hearings have been postponed until after May 31, 2020, unless they can be held via videoconference.
- The NLRB continues to process cases, including exceptions to ALJ decisions, requests for review of regional actions, motions, briefs, and other filings, as usual. The NLRB recommends that “[a]ny questions regarding filings or cases pending before the Board should be directed to the Executive Secretary.”
- Implementation of the 2019 Representation Case Rules has been delayed to May 31, 2020.
- Implementation of the Election Protection Final Rule has been postponed to July 31, 2020.
The NLRB announcement acknowledges that its videoconferencing capabilities are limited, and in practice, this has posed some challenges already for various processes in pending matters. But for the most part, the NLRB remains focused on continuing its operations. Employers should check the NLRB website regularly or subscribe for official updates.