Heads up, employers. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is suing coffee giant Starbucks over many of its employee handbook policies, alleging the company has “overly-broad and discriminatory rules.”
And you’ll want to make sure you don’t have any of the questionable policies in place … or the NLRB could be scrutinizing you next.
So what were the specific policies the NLRB took issue with? There were a whopping nineteen sections in the “Starbucks Partner Guide” that the Board said interferes with, restrains and coerces employees in the “exercise of their right to form a union under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).”
Specifically, here were the exact objections the NLRB had with the employee handbook:
- The company’s very specific dress code prevents workers from wearing any union shirts or pins
- There is a ban on taking videos, pictures and audio recordings, which prevents workers from documenting their working conditions
- There is a confidentiality rule which prevents employees from discussing their employment conditions and other issues at work they may face
- There is a ban on the use of social media or interviews where employees could speak out about their working conditions, experiences and/or why they want a union, and
- The company has harsh corrective action rules to stop employees from engaging in protected organizing activities in order to form a union.
More trouble brewing
The court hearing regarding the employee handbook is set for June, however this isn’t the only legal trouble Starbucks is currently facing.
In the past few months, Starbucks has been trying to stop union activity at many of its stores. According to reports, the company’s founder Howard Schultz has been requesting that managers “crack down” on workers having private meetings to discuss unionizing.
The NLRB also recently charged Starbucks with firing seven pro-union employees in Memphis, TN.
As of now, workers at more than 50 stores have voted in favor of unionizing.