An employer’s regulation and monitoring of a company e-mail system is fairly unrestricted. However, a case now pending before the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) may impose new limits on a company’s ability to regulate and monitor its electronic communications systems.

On March 27, the board held a rare oral argument in a case involving employees’ use of their employer’s e-mail system to communicate about union and other matters such as wages, hours or working conditions. The board’s decision will apply to any company’s electronic communication system, because the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) guarantees all employees the right to engage in “protected concerted activities,” regardless of whether a union represents the employees.

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