In an April decision, the National Labor Relations Board found largely unlawful a hospital’s employee handbook policy as follows:
…11. We will not make negative comments about our fellow team members and we will take every opportunity to speak well of each other.
16. We will represent [the hospital] in the community in a positive and professional manner in every opportunity.
21. We will not engage in or listen to negativity or gossip. We will recognize that listening without acting to stop it is the same as participating.
The reason? Under NLRB doctrine, in both non-union and union workplaces, negative discussion of managers and other co-workers could count as “protected activities” linked to the potential for concerted labor action.