@LRToday Morning Round-Up: December 16, 2013

Board ALJ Nixes "No Gossip" Rule: Abigail Rubenstein of Law360 ($$) writes that last Friday, a National Labor Relations Board Administrative Law Judge held that a technical school’s internal policy forbidding its employees from engaging in various forms of gossip was unlawful pursuant to the National Labor Relations Act. In particular, the ALJ held that the policy, which provided that discussing a person’s private life or sharing rumors while the employee in question is not present, interfered with workers’ ability to exercise their rights under the NLRA.

"A thorough reading of this vague, overly broad policy reveals that it narrowly prohibits virtually all communications about anyone, including the company or its managers," Judge Dawson’s decision said.

"In fact, read literally, this rule would preclude both negative and positive comments about a person’s personal or professional life unless that person and/or his/her supervisor are present," it said. "Such an overly broad, vague rule or policy on its face chills the exercise of Section 7 activity[.]"

The ALJ’s decision also reinstated an employee who was terminated for violating the unlawful rule. A representative of the company stated that it intended to appeal the verdict. We will certainly be following this case and will keep you updated as it develops further.

PA Nurses File ULPs: Bill O’Bolye of the Times Leader writes that the Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals (PASNAP), the union representing nurses at Wilkes-Barre Hospital in PA, has filed unfair labor practices against the hospital with the NLRB. In particular, the union alleges instances of mandated overtime, as well as a failure on the part of the hospital to provide the union with relevant information related to bargaining issues. The nurses at Wilkes-Barre have been working without a contract since March. We will keep you posted as negotiations progress.

Mount Olive Teachers Strike Ends: Aja Williams of KSDK News reports that teachers in Mount Olive, IL have chosen to end their labor strike. Teachers and administrative officials met for an extended negotiating session on Saturday, which produced a tentative agreement. With both parties expected to ratify the agreement, school is scheduled to resume as normal this morning.

Please continue to follow Labor Relations Today, here at the blog, via Twitter (@LRToday), or via Flipboard for further developments and analysis.