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NRLB Redefines 'Your Own Time'

timothy posted more than 9 years ago | from the can't-possibly-pass-muster dept.

Privacy 871

Doc Ruby writes "The U.S. National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has ruled to ban off-duty worker 'fraternization,' at the employer's discretion. So getting together for a beer after work can now be prohibited by the boss. With IT workers so commonly producing some of our best work 'after hours,' even at home or in restaurants/bars, will this ruling come back to bite employers in the IT industry? Can they really stop you from talking with your cubicle neighbor on the bus home, if they can't even stop you from reading Slashdot while on the clock?"

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Why are we allowing work to control us? (5, Insightful)

garcia (6573) | more than 9 years ago | (#13233319)

While I completely agree that this could be made out to imply that workers are not permitted to assemble outside of work hours to collectively unite against their employer, I'm far more disturbed by the quote at the end of the article that reads, "America's workers need more opportunities to come together to discuss vexing workplace issues, or just to make personal connections with those we spend most of our waking hours with."

What American workers need to do is not allow their personal lives to intermingle with their daily work grind. Yes, plenty of people are required to do that and some employees even thrive on it, yet it is negatively impacting our mental, physical, and family health. Why are we allowing our employers to control more and more of our lives by requiring more than 40 hours a week w/o proper compensation and *requiring* us not to have outside of work relationships with any co-workers? While *I* refuse to have any out of work relationships with any of my co-workers I don't believe that employers should have the right to mandate and legally enforce that behavior.

I do everything I can to not even mention work to friends and family. When I am outside the office walls my brain is on everything but. It's healthy to have time to yourself, your family, and your hobbies.

Please, if you believe that you can successfully collectively bargain against your employer, do so to the best of your ability, but remember that work is just something you should do for 40 hours a week - anything over that should be properly compensated and documented hourly. Try and separate your family/personal life from it as best you can. For most of you the results will be more rewarding than your paycheck.

Your mind and your personal life outside of work are your own. Don't let your paycheck fool you into thinking otherwise.

Re:Why are we allowing work to control us? (-1, Flamebait)

IdleTime (561841) | more than 9 years ago | (#13233392)

Amazing that anyone really utter such crap as yourself.

Another example of "American Freedom" and "The Land of the Free". Geeezz..

Re:Why are we allowing work to control us? (2, Interesting)

Diomedes01 (173241) | more than 9 years ago | (#13233482)

You, sir, are a complete and utter troll. And you have successfully goaded me into responding. Bravo! If you don't live in the US, and it appears from your odd syntax and broken English that you do not, please refrain from making disparaging remarks about those of us who choose to criticize some of the corporate bullshit we are subjected to, day-in and day-out.

Have a coke and a smile, and STFU.

Re:Why are we allowing work to control us? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13233568)

+2, Flamebait; 1, Insightful Slashdot's grave is getting deeper.

Re:Why are we allowing work to control us? (1)

SenorChuck (457914) | more than 9 years ago | (#13233416)

Want to talk to my boss then? According to my boss, since I'm a salaried employee, I shouldn't have the expectation that I work on a normal 40-hour workweek clock like a (said with a hint of disdain) "factory worker".

The problem is, there's no mandated compensation where I work for anything done outside of stated office hours.

If this is what my boss means by wanting the department to be more like the "corporate world", then I want off of the bus straight to hell now.

Re:Why are we allowing work to control us? (2, Insightful)

garcia (6573) | more than 9 years ago | (#13233479)

Want to talk to my boss then? According to my boss, since I'm a salaried employee, I shouldn't have the expectation that I work on a normal 40-hour workweek clock like a (said with a hint of disdain) "factory worker".

Why don't *you* talk to your boss then? It's not *my* responsibility to explain the way things ought to be to him.

People are so obsessed with the numbers that show on their paycheck that they forget that their work habbits are creeping into their personal lives and causing serious issues.

It's your choice to work for a company that mandates "included" overtime as a salaried employee and it's also your choice to remember that your mental, physical, and family health depend on your not overtaxing your life with work.

Re:Why are we allowing work to control us? (2, Funny)

lucabrasi999 (585141) | more than 9 years ago | (#13233421)

It's healthy to have time to yourself, your family, and your hobbies.

Ahh, I'm going to have to go ahead and ask you to come in on Sunday, too...

Re:Why are we allowing work to control us? (1)

Ced_Ex (789138) | more than 9 years ago | (#13233430)

I don't believe it specifically stated that you cannot fraternize with workers of a competitor.

I'm sure that would open up some eyes at your employers.

If you can't be friends with some of your co-workers, is your work environment really all that good anymore?

Re:Why are we allowing work to control us? (5, Insightful)

v3rb (239648) | more than 9 years ago | (#13233475)

I don't understand people who refuse to socialize with co-workers. I can understand not wanting to talk shop, but I have had the pleasure to work with some great people that I enjoy seeing at and outside of work. Knowing these people from a social standpoint has helped us work together better.

Trying to keep your work life completely separate from your home life is like trying to have two separate families. It's possible to do, but more difficulty than it's worth. It's hard for people at work to really trust you when they don't know a thing about you.

A man who's work is both his vocation and his advocation is truly blessed.

Re:Why are we allowing work to control us? (1)

garcia (6573) | more than 9 years ago | (#13233514)

A man who's work is both his vocation and his advocation is truly blessed.

To some, I suppose this is true. To me, it's not. Getting paid to do what I love to do makes it work and they didn't call work "work" and not "vacation" for a reason. YMMV.

Knowing these people from a social standpoint has helped us work together better.

People I work with gossip, a lot, and I want no part of my personal life being needless gossiped about around the office. The further I distance myself from loud mouthed co-workers the healthier my work and home lives are.

Re:Why are we allowing work to control us? (1)

Glsai (840331) | more than 9 years ago | (#13233527)

I know exactly what you mean. I keep a 'work mind' seperate from my functioning mind. I only run my work mind from the moment I sit down at my PC till the moment I leave it. Otherwise I completely forget about what i do at work. Maybe this will come back to bite me, and maybe it'll stop me from becoming upper management or something, but it keeps me sane. It also keeps me from being burdened by work during my off hours like I see with some people I know.

Desperate Unions (3, Informative)

malakai (136531) | more than 9 years ago | (#13233553)

Far as I understand, the NLRB is for relations between labor management (Unions) and companies. This rulling is directed at union solictiation/events after work and in company uniform.

There are well defined procedures for starting a pro-union vote. Strict rules, and lots of foul play. This group is around to rule which side screwed up that delicate dance.

This has no affect on individual employees after ours and out of uniform. Unless they are having drinks at a bar with the local union rep and their entire department. Then god knows the rules and laws that have to be followed.

The concern (towards both parties) is bribes and kickbacks to a select group of workers to get or not get in place a union.

Move along people, nothing to see here. Nothing 'chilling' about this. No slope, and nothing slippery about it.

Wife, please read this article! (5, Funny)

bigwavejas (678602) | more than 9 years ago | (#13233322)

My wife and I are employed at the same company... Does that mean I don't have to talk to her anymore afterwork? Thank you NLRB!!! I'm soooo shot-gunning two beers tonight and watching ESPN.

Re:Wife, please read this article! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13233349)

and a bonus...you won't have to get up off the couch to go to bed ;-)

Re:Wife, please read this article! (3, Funny)

Trigun (685027) | more than 9 years ago | (#13233441)

Or to work. You might want to turn over every six episodes of Friends to prevent yourself from melding into the couch though.

Re:Wife, please read this article! (2, Funny)

Daniel832US (530981) | more than 9 years ago | (#13233522)

Maybe you could fall under an exemption for a pre-existing relationship (something like a "My baby's Daddy" clause)

Remind me... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13233329)

Why do you call the U.S.A the "land of the free"?

Re:Remind me... (1)

Skye16 (685048) | more than 9 years ago | (#13233398)

Bad habit.

:(

Good question. (-1)

ClickWir (166927) | more than 9 years ago | (#13233420)

Good question. We seem to be the land of the controlled more and more every day.

Re:Remind me... (1)

multiOSfreak (551711) | more than 9 years ago | (#13233432)

Oh, don't mind that. It's just an unfair stereotype.

Re:Remind me... (4, Insightful)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 9 years ago | (#13233436)

Because this ruling was very specific and in a single case, and only applied to dating or fraternization off-duty with clients or coworkers while in their work uniforms.

Re:Remind me... (2, Insightful)

ndansmith (582590) | more than 9 years ago | (#13233566)

Because this ruling was very specific and in a single case, and only applied to dating or fraternization off-duty with clients or coworkers while in their work uniforms.

Still, just wearing a work uniform should not be a pretext for an employer to control his/her employees' behavior. If they employer does not like what his/her employees do in their uniforms, they have to right to take the uniforms away (i.e. require that they are stored on sight) or to fire the employees. Employers should not have any control over their employees' behavior off the clock.

OBStallman (4, Funny)

schon (31600) | more than 9 years ago | (#13233464)

Why do you call the U.S.A the "land of the free"?

They mean free as in beer, not free as in freedom. :o)

Re:Remind me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13233588)

because that is what rush limbaugh says we should call it, so we do. also if you are familiar with the writings of the christ of judea you should know that rush is never wrong. god bless america and god bless us every one

Nope. (1)

op12 (830015) | more than 9 years ago | (#13233330)

Can they really stop you from talking with your cubicle neighbor on the bus home, if they can't even stop you from reading Slashdot while on the clock?

Not a chance.

fratenizing (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13233335)

i'm fratenizing with you hommies

WHAT! (4, Funny)

hoka (880785) | more than 9 years ago | (#13233340)

So wait, they are going to ban my drinking! What next, no more vodka shots during breaks? Then what, they are going to replace the coke and rum dispenser with WATER!? THEY CAN'T TAKE THAT AWAY FROM ME!

Oh wait, what was TFA about again?

Board makeup (3, Interesting)

lastchance_000 (847415) | more than 9 years ago | (#13233343)

Interesting that the dissenting board member was the one appointed by Clinton. The others were appointed by the current president.

I don't find that interesting. (3, Insightful)

BlackCobra43 (596714) | more than 9 years ago | (#13233438)

I find it sickening.

Re:I don't find that interesting. (1)

op12 (830015) | more than 9 years ago | (#13233530)

As long as you don't get sick with your co-workers, that's fine.

Re:Board makeup (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13233488)

Oooh let's politicize fucking EVERYTHING! INTERESTING!!

Get real.

Re:Board makeup (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13233504)

The current administration is purely an employer-friendly administration.

This IS politics, you dip. Why do you think labor organizations get involved in politics?

Defend yourself! (1)

ryanov (193048) | more than 9 years ago | (#13233345)

Best defense against this one is to be indespensible enough so that they are not about to fire/reprimand you over something so mundane for fear of you leaving. ;)

Re:Defend yourself! (1)

nutsinya (141263) | more than 9 years ago | (#13233377)

what's the point of this?

No big deal (2, Insightful)

pete6677 (681676) | more than 9 years ago | (#13233355)

I really don't think too many employers will take the time and trouble to regulate friendships outside the office, or even inside in most cases. Most managers want to get stuff done and call it a day, not snoop around area restaurants and bars to keep tabs on employee social lives.

Re:No big deal (3, Insightful)

FattMattP (86246) | more than 9 years ago | (#13233384)

I really don't think too many employers will take the time and trouble to regulate friendships outside the office, or even inside in most cases.
It's not that they'll follow you around. Like so many laws that are on the books, it's just another hammer to hit you with if they've thought you've done something wrong.

Re:No big deal (1)

v3rb (239648) | more than 9 years ago | (#13233409)

Unless they are EDS. Perot and friends used to send people to employee's houses to verify they were not living in sin and maintaining an acceptable lifestyle.

Given that your home life can DEFINITELY negatively impact your work life (anyone ever worked with a divorce-zombie?) where should an employees draw the line?

Re:No big deal, unless you're an employee (1)

poot_rootbeer (188613) | more than 9 years ago | (#13233437)

No, management isn't going to care if you and 2 coworkers meet up after your shifts to drink some beer and shoot the shit.

Yes, management IS going to care if you and 200 coworkers meet up after your shifts to plan a collective bargaining strategy.

This ruling says that they can now fire you with impunity for the latter. A blanche-er carte blanche to engage in union-busting practices couldn't have been given to Industry.

It makes me a little bit sick.

I really think.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13233357)

...that nobody cares.

Here's an idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13233361)

Form a union, then go on strike.

You have the right to be treated like a human being.

Anti-Union (1)

phorm (591458) | more than 9 years ago | (#13233389)

Actually, my first thought was that such a bill would be aimed against unions. It's pretty hard to form a union if you're not allowed to meet/gather with your co-workers after work...

Re:Anti-Union (1)

pete6677 (681676) | more than 9 years ago | (#13233444)

Forming a union is against company policy anyway (the unwritten policy, that is). It will require a lot of struggle and the violation of some silly rules such as this. Anyone suspected by management of unionization activities will no doubt be fired for one reason or another anyway, so this type of policy will make little difference. Legally, employees can unionize, but realistically it's pretty hard to do.

Stupid. (4, Insightful)

Renraku (518261) | more than 9 years ago | (#13233363)

With the exception of substance abuse or crime..

If a company wants to tell me what I can and can't do with my free time, then I will be billing them for my free time. Since my free time is worth a lot to me, I will be expecting a raise. $20 an hour 24/7 will be just fine.

Otherwise, I reserve the right to date, have sex with, go out with, hang out with, etc, with any of my co-workers when we are off the clock.

This falls under 'human rights'. Which you cannot sign away.

Re:Stupid. (2, Insightful)

sqlrob (173498) | more than 9 years ago | (#13233418)

With the exception of substance abuse or crime..

*ANY* action (legal or not), if it doesn't affect you on work time and doesn't use work resources shouldn't matter.

"Gee, you were speeding to get to work on time. That's illegal. You're fired"

Re:Stupid. (3, Funny)

gr8_phk (621180) | more than 9 years ago | (#13233532)

"Otherwise, I reserve the right to date, have sex with... ...any of my co-workers when we are off the clock."

You read slashdot and are concerned about having sex with a co-worker? I'm confused on so many levels.

Re:Stupid. (2, Funny)

Doctor Faustus (127273) | more than 9 years ago | (#13233572)

Otherwise, I reserve the right to date, have sex with... any of my co-workers when we are off the clock.

Maybe your coworkers ought to have some input in that, too...

Well hey there 1984 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13233364)

I thought you were gone 10 years ago but it seems like you want to come back to haunt us. What's that you say? Big Brother knows best? Yeah, I should probably just learn to love the Party. I mean, who needs social interaction when you can become a mindless cubicle drone, isolated all the time?

Re:Well hey there 1984 (1)

anagama (611277) | more than 9 years ago | (#13233494)

1984 was about 20 years ago, not 10

Yeah, right. (1)

robyannetta (820243) | more than 9 years ago | (#13233367)

1) I'd like to see this enforced.
2) I have a lawyer too. Like me, he lives in the USA.
3) Where is the ACLU to challenge this?

Re:Yeah, right. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13233426)

Why would the ACLU get involved? This isn't a civil rights issue.

Re:Yeah, right. (2, Insightful)

sqlrob (173498) | more than 9 years ago | (#13233462)

Freedom of association isn't a civil rights issue?

Re:Yeah, right. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13233539)

Well, point me out where that exists in the constitution or how those rights even apply to private employers.

Thanks for playing, you lose.

Re:Yeah, right. (1)

KillShill (877105) | more than 9 years ago | (#13233467)

they're locked up in guantanamo.

they aren't even allowed to talk to their lawyers.

the irony!

Re:Yeah, right. (2, Insightful)

neonleonb (723406) | more than 9 years ago | (#13233575)

Unenforced laws are the most dangerous sort. The thing is, then they are commonly broken and can be selectively enforced to punish anyone.

And in other news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13233375)

Slashdot Redefines Moderation

Eh... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13233388)

This obviously goes against freedom of assembly, so good luck to any company trying to enforce it -- just the PR backlash would sink them.

The actual ruling... (5, Informative)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 9 years ago | (#13233393)

...since the submission is extremely misleading and melodramatic, as usual.

NLRB ruling [nlrb.gov]

The ruling does not universally allow employers to ban any and all off-duty interaction. It made a specific ruling, in its capacity of administering the National Labor Relations Act [nlrb.gov] , that Guardsmark's ban on in-uniform, but off duty, fraternization ("dating or becoming overly friendly with") with clients and coworkers. The critical and key aspect of the ruling was that it allowed for the prevention of such inappropriate fraternization while in Guardsmark uniform. The NLRB ruling further stated that care must be taken such that this ruling is not misapplied as to have a "chilling" effect on employee's rights under Section 7 of the the Act.

The actual order is:

ORDER
The Respondent, Guardsmark, LLC, its officers, agents, suc-cessors, and assigns, shall
1. Cease and desist from
(a) Maintaining or enforcing a handbook provision prohibit-ing employees from registering complaints regarding their wages, hours, or conditions of employment with Guardsmarks' clients.
(b) In any like or related manner interfering with, restraining, or coercing employees in the exercise of the rights guaranteed them by Section 7 of the Act.
2. Take the following affirmative action which is necessary to effectuate the purposes of the Act.
(a) Within 21 days after receipt of this decision advise its employees, nationwide, that the handbook provision regarding registering complaints with clients is not to be understood as limiting the right of employees to engage in activities protected by the National Labor Relations Act.
(b) At a time when the employee handbook is to be revised or reissued, either delete the handbook provision prohibiting employees from registering complaints with clients, or modify the said language so that it does not prohibit activities protected by the National Labor Relations Act.
(c) Within 14 days after service by the Region, post at its San Francisco, California office copies of the attached notice marked "Appendix."6 Copies of the notice, on forms provided by the Regional Director for Region 20, after being duly signed by Respondent's representative, shall be posted immediately upon receipt thereof, and shall remain posted by Respondent for 60 consecutive days thereafter, in conspicuous places, in-cluding all places where notices to employees are customarily posted. Reasonable steps shall be taken by the Respondent to ensure that the notices are not altered, defaced, or covered by any other material.
(d) Within 21 days after service by the Regional Office, file with the Regional Director for Region 20 a sworn certification of a responsible official on a form provided by the Region at-testing to the steps that the Respondent has taken to comply.

Re:The actual ruling... (1)

mattkinabrewmindspri (538862) | more than 9 years ago | (#13233470)

Mod parent up, and thank parent for actually reading the ruling.

Re:The actual ruling... (1)

angelasmark (856143) | more than 9 years ago | (#13233480)

you mean you actually read and understood the article? I though that wasn't allowed on Slashdot. I guess I'll have to do that from now on... I thought everyone here just read the headlines and overreacted to them...

Re:The actual ruling... (0)

sfjoe (470510) | more than 9 years ago | (#13233486)

The ruling does not universally allow employers to ban any and all off-duty interaction.

Nicely spun!!
Now can you explain how an employers has ANY right whatsoever to tell us what to do when we are off the clock?

Re:The actual ruling... (5, Insightful)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 9 years ago | (#13233498)

Now can you explain how an employers has ANY right whatsoever to tell us what to do when we are off the clock?

Sure.

When you're still in your employer's uniform, especially that of a security company wishing to maintain its reputation as a professional organization, you shouldn't be going on dates with your clients.

That help?

Re:The actual ruling... (1)

NitsujTPU (19263) | more than 9 years ago | (#13233528)

Just imagine how funny it would be to see a bunch of post office employees playing paintball in uniform!

Re:The actual ruling... (1)

jayhawk88 (160512) | more than 9 years ago | (#13233557)

Goddamn it, who let a rational, level-headed person in here?

Re:The actual ruling... (1)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 9 years ago | (#13233534)

Ah. Thank you.
So all this ruling really says is that we have to change our brownshirts after the rally before going to the beerhall.
Got it.

Re:The actual ruling... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13233565)

Put another way they don't want you to pick up prostitutes in a Gaurdsmark uniform or shag one of their clients.

I think I speak for Slashdot when I say... (1)

Zweideutig (900045) | more than 9 years ago | (#13233394)

Off-duty fraternization? I never thought of doing that! I thought everyone went home and read Slashdot and emerged ebuilds like I do. No wonder I don't have a wife. :(

Bye bye labor unions (1)

spun (1352) | more than 9 years ago | (#13233401)

With one ruling, the NLRB has made labor unions illegal. This puts an incredible weapon in the hands of management. It will only be enforced when fraternization becomes a problem for the employer, as in the case of union orginizing. I don't expect it to have much of an impact in IT, though, as this industry is one of the least unionized, at least in the US. However, in companies where employement is not at-will, meaning they have to have cause to fire you, a policy like this could certainly be instituted and then selectively enforced to fire just about anyone.

The whole system just looks like it's returning to feudalism. Your lord and master can dictate all aspects of your life.

This is in response to (1)

Trigun (685027) | more than 9 years ago | (#13233403)

the recent lawsuits that were stemming from some woman in the office being passed over for a promotion because some middle manager was boning someone else, and even though the bone-ee was qualified and deserved the promotion, the other employee, henceforth referred to as 'The Prude', felt that she would have to take a boning for a promotion, even though the boss showed no interest in her, had never implied that The Prude would have to be the recipient of a boning to get anywhere in the company, or had even acted in an unprofessional manner towards The Prude. She won money, and the companies cried foul. Now, instead of logic, they apply this knee-jerk reaction.

Small point... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13233413)

I'll do whatever the fuck I want out of work hours.

Solution (1)

ylikone (589264) | more than 9 years ago | (#13233417)

Don't work for companies that implement such a policy, then, no companies will want to implement that policy.

Re:Solution (1)

Zweideutig (900045) | more than 9 years ago | (#13233582)

I just donated $1.00 USD to your friend...

Workers' Doxology (1)

anagama (611277) | more than 9 years ago | (#13233419)


Praise bossman morning workbells chime
Praise him for bits of overtime
Praise him whose wars we love to fight
Praise him fat leach and parasite
A-men

Double edged sword (3, Interesting)

www.sorehands.com (142825) | more than 9 years ago | (#13233433)

This can work both ways. If your employer controls your time outside of work, injuries outside of work may become work related. I made this argument, that since my computer work at home was subject to their possession (standard inventions/non-disclosure agreement said it is their unless they didn't want it). Then my tendinitis, even off duty, was compensatible under workers comp.
BTW. I believe in California, an employer cannot punish you for legal off duty conduct.

So much for moments of genious (1)

buk110 (904868) | more than 9 years ago | (#13233442)

Well this is going to come back and haunt employeers, far too many times I struck a moment of brilliance at a bar and wrote down ideas on a napkin while drinking with co-workers

Dear NLRB (1)

grasshoppa (657393) | more than 9 years ago | (#13233443)

Fuck you. I will socialize with whomever I please. The more you try to force me otherwise, the worse it will be for you.

Yes, that was a threat. And yes, I am willing to back that up.

Fraternazation in the military (2, Interesting)

FuzzyDaddy (584528) | more than 9 years ago | (#13233445)

When I was working for a military contractor, I spent a lot of time on military bases. There is, of course, a strict rule against dating between officers and subordinates. However, marriage between officers and subordinates is allowed. So you end up with cases of people getting married who "never dated".

great... (1)

supergwiz (641155) | more than 9 years ago | (#13233449)

this add another "excuse" for the girls at work to use when I ask them out.

Insert witty reply here (1)

LexNaturalis (895838) | more than 9 years ago | (#13233454)

I would make some +5 Funny reply, but I can't even read TFA to make an intelligent comme... wait, what am I thinking? I don't need to read the article to post! I'm still too lazy to be funny though. Pretend this was witty.

Freedom? (0, Redundant)

kk74 (697074) | more than 9 years ago | (#13233455)

And to think there was a time when I saw USA as an example for freedom...

Slashdot at work? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13233458)

...if they can't even stop you from reading Slashdot while on the clock?

Nope. Still got slashdot. All is good. ;-)

two points leap to mind- (2, Insightful)

conJunk (779958) | more than 9 years ago | (#13233461)

first, how isn't this a violation of the first amendment garantee of freedom of assembly?

second, it's not unheard of. i was subject to a similar ban when i taught in japan. that ban was a little different, it prohibited fraternizing with students, but a similar idea. interestingly, a japanese court ruled that it wasn't legal, because employers couldn't regulate what employees do when they are off the clock

this will no doubt be redundant but I just gotta (1)

museumpeace (735109) | more than 9 years ago | (#13233468)

say it: "Slashdot Redefines acronym for National Labor Relations Board"

Sweet! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13233478)

can I now ban the employees from deficating on company time?

I am not paying them to sit on that toilet or paying for the removal of their human waste..

Who's in charge of that? I want to eliminate the unfair worker age laws... I have lots of jobs for 7-12 year olds at $1.25 a day.

dammit as an employer it's my right to fuck over my employees!

Can my boss evict my tennants? (1)

amigabill (146897) | more than 9 years ago | (#13233492)

I own ral estate, which I rent to people to live in.

Can my boss decide who I can or cannot offer a place to live? Real-estate laws require that I not discriminate. Does this law allow a loophole so that my boss could force me to discriminate against people working at the same company as I do? If these two laws have to duke it out, which one wins?

Eh, what a joke. Since graduating form college and moving away from friends and family, the people at work are the only people I know. I am not going to completely sever from my only social life because I happen to work with these people.

roofle.... (1)

rwven (663186) | more than 9 years ago | (#13233493)

kinda does away with "leaving work at work" doesn't it? I think anyone under these rules would up and quit... Of course i wouldnt put it past walmart to try and implement it for some reason or another...

intimidation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13233500)

Of course this won't make it through appeal, but if the law is passed, then an appeal is the only hammer strong enough to shatter it.

It is enough, however, to frighten and dissuade weaker workers. It will fit nicely into those employee agreements that stipulate that the employer can terminate the employee at any time, with or without reason.

It is yet another risible rule that can be arbitrarily enforced to the employer's benefit, fitting nicely between "We can terminate you, at Our sole discretion, for failure to abide by these rules:

1) No keeping food in the employee refrigerater overnight

2) No personal use of office products materials (justifiable, but who hasn't forwarded or printed even ONE joke or article)

3) Employee attire must be reasonable in both appearance and safety (how many employee dress codes are even more subjective?) ...ad nauseum...

I guess I'm (not) screwed! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13233505)

I'm banging a co-worker...wonder what the nlrb would say about that...

I have no problem with some things (2, Insightful)

joncue (541265) | more than 9 years ago | (#13233508)

but this is a little excessive. I can understand that employers don't want to hire people they know are doing illegal things outside of work (see drug testing), but outside of that, if they aren't paying me for that time, I'll do what I want. I am actually having a little trouble figuring out how this is legal. Company policies that prevent two relatives from working in the same place, etc I can understand, and if two people in the workplace get married, then one has to go. But to tell them they can't date/get married/drink/etc is out of control. If the government can't regulate what I do with my time, what makes an employer think they can?

Also, companies that push this will feel the pinch, because any employee worth his salt will find somewhere else to work. That will only leave the bad employer with bad employees, and that is a recipe for disaster. The only other option I see for them is to raise their wages so high that people are willing to put up with it, but then they raise their operating cost and allow their competitors to undercut them.

It's all about the sex, silly! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13233533)

Fraternization is a management term for carnal knowledge. It can create conflicts of interest and misunderstandings in the workplace. Management is justified in having policies about such things, since workers themselves seem to have poor judgement in such "affairs."

Disturbing (2, Informative)

Oostertoaster (808578) | more than 9 years ago | (#13233540)

Google cache, since article is already going slow:
http://64.233.167.104/search?q=cache:mO-w2Me3Sy4J: www.americanrightsatwork.org/workersrights/eye7_20 05.cfm+&hl=en [64.233.167.104]

This sounds like a very disturbing ruling. IANAL, so I'm not sure how any of this will stand to to serious scrutiny, but would this give employers the power to "ban" employee unions it doesn't like? And yet workers have the right to associate (at least I believe they do, its been a while since I researched workers rights at all, correct me if I'm wrong :) )

More importantly, what useful purpose could this serve, and how would you enforce it? Without following your workers around 24/7, this ruling is nearly unenforcable.

This whole think reeks of silliness.

Meh, ruling shmuling. (1)

mopslik (688435) | more than 9 years ago | (#13233541)

With IT workers so commonly producing some of our best work 'after hours,' even at home or in restaurants/bars, will this ruling come back to bite employers in the IT industry?

If your employer "bans" you from meeting up with your colleagues after work, then complains about how no work is getting done outside of the workplace, doesn't (s)he deserve it?

Can they really stop you from talking with your cubicle neighbor on the bus home?

They can try, but I imagine that a lawsuit or two will quickly change their minds.

I'm not surprised... (1)

B11 (894359) | more than 9 years ago | (#13233542)

They can already fire you smoking a little weed on your time off (vacation/weekend/months ago). I used to work at a "retail coffee experience" place where they wear green aprons and don't call the sizes small, medium, and large (I don't want to give out the name), and some of my best friends now are from there. We hung out all the time. And it made us better at our job, since we could work together as a more unified team (almost like family).

It really is a very simple formula:

More intrusive government in office +
Big business and said government in bed with each other +
=More intrusive Big business.

A beer for the boss could have prevented this... (1)

tacarat (696339) | more than 9 years ago | (#13233544)

Of course, management and the workers hanging out together could actually be a more valid problem, especially when people start crying about favortism.

My conspiracy theory: The NLRB board members are starting their own dating service in areas most likely to see actual enforcement...

Misdirected rationalisation? (4, Insightful)

dbolger (161340) | more than 9 years ago | (#13233558)

With IT workers so commonly producing some of our best work 'after hours'...

Please don't read this as a flame, but what the hell is meant by this? Maybe its because I don't buy into this work-till-you-drop mentality that so many people in capitalist economies seem to have, but why on earth is this being used as a rationalisation for maintaining outside-office freedom of assembly?

This reads as akin to "How dare they stop us meeting outside work! Don't they know that we do more work for them when we meet?", and is from my viewpoint pretty disgusting.

What about "How dare they stop us meeting outside work! Its none of their god damn business what we do outside of the time that we are payed by them!"

Why the seeming sycophancy? Are people so brainwashed by capitalism that they think they have a moral duty to comply with their employers, and no right to stand up and say "Hey, go screw yourself. My personal time is mine and mine alone"? That's all the "rationalisation" that should be required!

Er, what? This is nuts! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13233560)

Oh my. Either the submitter got mixed up America really has lost its brain. Ouch, what a scary thought this law would be.

Weather's nice up here in Cannuckistan...

wait a minute (1)

trybywrench (584843) | more than 9 years ago | (#13233562)

wait a minute, there's an off-duty now? I thought there was just work-in-office, work-at-home, work-in-bar, and work-in-sleep (yes i've actually drempt about programming)

It's about unions, sexual harassment (2, Interesting)

ChiralSoftware (743411) | more than 9 years ago | (#13233578)

My guess is that employers' main motives for banning after-hours employee "fraternization" are to a) inhibit forming unions and b) if sexual harassment occurs after-hours, the employer could have legal risks from it. Employers might not see any up-side to after-hours "fraternization" and there are some clearly-visible down-sides (for the employer).

Workers in IT (esp. programmers) spend long and irregular hours, socialize with eachother, and exchange ideas. That's just the culture of it. I somehow doubt that the employers who pushed for this decision are specifically thinking about their IT staff. "These are not the droids they are looking for" basically.

-----------
mobile search [mwtj.com]

freedom of speech... (3, Insightful)

DualG5GUNZ (762655) | more than 9 years ago | (#13233584)

It seems to me that if any employer (especially if federal) actually tries to enforce this ruling--provided the victims are competent--there will be a court battle. In my unexpert opinion, this clearly impinges upon our constitutionally protected right to free speech. Plus, unless our government deems us property of those we work for (I'm not saying it doesn't), there's just too much gray area to enforce this.

most colleague are also friends on off hours... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13233586)

I'd say this is more of an effort to stop workers organizing (Unions) which is in line with the trends of our (U.S.) current low wage administration.

SSSHH... here come the thought police...

Just one word to describe this (1)

DJ Marvin (750482) | more than 9 years ago | (#13233589)

Totalitarism.

Do anyone have a better word? The next thing we'll know, we won't be able to speak to people we like, do things are we are told by the govt, etc.

That reminds me of the time when americans where apalled by the conditions the people living in the USSR had to stand. We are not very far folks! Maybe next 4 years cycle will give us that too!
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