NLRB Upholds Employer's Ban On Employee Socializing

August 24, 2005 ( - The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has ruled with a company which has a policy directing employees not to "…fraternize on or off duty, date, or become overly friendly with the client's employees or with co-employees."

The Desert Sun reports that Daniel Higgins, a security guard for Guardsmark LLC, was subjected to a shift change after a supervisor at a San Francisco hotel claimed “he was leaving his post unattended and becoming too friendly with some of the other employees.” The ruling has created controversy similar to the one early this year surrounding Weyco’s policy banning employees from smoking during work or private time (See Lawyers Smolder over MI Firm’s No-Smoking Policy ).

Locals interviewed by The Desert Sun mostly complained that not allowing socializing between coworkers would affect the friendliness and teamwork attitude at the workplace. Antonio Ruiz, a lawyer for Service Employees International Union, Local 24/7, feels the rule is another “Big Brother” step in the workplace.

But also at issue, Ruiz says, is the union’s position that this policy goes against workers right to organize.

In a report, Guardsmark says the policy is necessary for business since “A security officer who is overly familiar with a fellow security officer or a client’s employee may overlook signals that, if detected, could be instrumental in preventing workplace violence.”

The ruling is under appeal in a US District Court in Washington D.C.

The NLRB ruling can be found here .