The National Labor Relations Board recently issued a decision
significantly expanding the right of employees to use their employers'
e-mail systems for union organizing and other activities protected by
Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act. The decision is available
In Purple Communications the board explained that “the use
of email as a common form of workplace communication has expanded
dramatically in ecent years.” Therefore the board ruled that
“employee use of email for statutorily protected communications on
nonworking time must presumptively be permitted by employers who have
chosen to give employees access to their email systems.” While the case
addressed communications supporting the union during an organizing
drive, given the board's expansion of protected activity, this also
includes communications critical of the employer's employment-related
policies, practices and management decisions.