Tuesday, October 27, 2015

NLRB updates its policy memo on e-signatures for union petitions

Earlier this year, the NLRB began accepting electronic signatures in support of an employee’s showing of interesting in support of a labor union. The Board has begun accepting e-signed documents, provided that they meet the following four criteria.

1. Submissions supported by electronic signature must contain the following:

  • the signer’s name;
  • the signer’s email address or other known contact information (e.g., social media account);
  • the signer’s telephone number;
  • the language to which the signer has agreed (e.g., that the signer wishes to be represented by ABC Union for purposes of collective bargaining or no longer wishes to be represented by ABC Union for purposes of collective bargaining);
  • the date the electronic signature was submitted; and,
  • the name of the employer of the employee.

2. A party submitting either electronic or digital signatures must submit a declaration (1) identifying what electronic or digital signature technology was used and explaining how its controls ensure: (i) that the electronic or digital signature is that of the signatory employee, and (ii) that the employee herself signed the document; and (2) that the electronically transmitted information regarding what and when the employees signed is the same information seen and signed by the employees.

3. When the electronic signature technology being used does not support digital signatures that can be independently verified by a third party, the submitting party must submit evidence that, after the electronic signature was obtained, the submitting party promptly transmitted a communication stating and confirming all the information listed in 1a through 1f above (the “Confirmation Transmission”).

  • The Confirmation Transmission must be sent to an individual account (i.e., email address, text message via mobile phone, social media account, etc.) provided by the signer.
  • If any responses to the Confirmation Transmission are received by the time of submission to the NLRB of the showing of interest to support a petition, those responses must also be provided to the NLRB.

4. Submissions supported by electronic signature may include other information such as work location, classification, home address, and additional telephone numbers, but may not contain dates of birth, social security numbers, or other sensitive personal identifiers. Submissions with sensitive personal identifiers will not be accepted and will be returned to the petitioner. They will not be accepted until personal identifiers are redacted.

The NLRB has now updated these guidelines with examples of specific forms of what these e-signed documents should resemble.

When you combine these e-signatures with the Board’s recent ambush election rules, you can see why a well-planned union avoidance strategy is a must for any non-union employer that hopes to stay that way.