Lawyers take aim at NLRB

KINGMAN - Two Phoenix lawyers will discuss what they call the National Labor Relations Board's "aggressive pursuit" of unfair labor practice claims against non-union companies during a seminar next week.

Entitled "A Brave New World: The NLRB Invades the Non-Union Workplace," the workshop will take place from noon to 2 p.m. Thursdat at the Hualapai Medical Center, 3801 Santa Rosa Ave. The seminar is sponsored by the Northwest Arizona Human Resource Association, which speaks for and educates human resource personnel.

The seminar is free for NWAHRA members and $10 for non-members. Participants are invited to bring a brown bag lunch for the event. To register by the Monday deadline, visit nwahra.shrm.org/ and click on the link at the bottom of the page.

Attorneys Jeffrey Toppel and Gregg Clifton, both partners with the Phoenix office of the national law firm Jackson Lewis LLP, will address recent changes in the focus of the NLRB.

Representatives of the NLRB did not respond to several requests for comment.

Toppel said the federal agency has broadly expanded its interpretation of the protections provided under the National Labor Relations Act from employees in union shops to those in the non-union workplace.

"Over the past few years, we've seen things change quite a bit," said Toppel. "We're seeing a lot more claims against non-union employers and common workplace practices and policies being challenged by the NLRB. We are in one of the most active NLRB regions in the country in this area and want to educate companies and human resource professionals about employee rights under this act. We're seeing businesses get hit hard with charges because of it."

Toppel regularly represents employers before the NLRB and defends employers in unfair labor practice proceedings. He recently testified before the Arizona Senate's Rules Committee on a proposed labor reform statute that would make it more difficult for unions to organize in Arizona. He also provides advice to employers facing union organizing campaigns.

Clifton has advised numerous professional sports franchises on general labor and employment issues, and serves as lead counsel for several Major League Baseball teams in their salary arbitration matters. He has represented NCAA and NAIA collegiate clients regarding rules compliance, investigatory matters and in disciplinary hearings, and has worked on agent regulation and enforcement in professional and college sports.

The National Labor Relations Act contains the federal government's rules about organizing unions and holding secret elections. It allows employees to talk about the terms and conditions of their employment with each other, including salaries, wages and other forms of compensation. It also deals with confidentiality and social media policies.