EMPLOYER INTERFERENCE, RESTRAINT, COERCION; DEFENSES – Business Necessity

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409.00000 – EMPLOYER INTERFERENCE, RESTRAINT, COERCION; DEFENSES
409.01000 – Business Necessity

Instead of using the term “working time” to define the temporal scope of its restriction on solicitation and thereby restating PERB and private-sector decisional law, the Court’s personnel rule instead introduced the separate and undefined term “working hours,” which PERB precedents have treated as suspect, because of its potential to restrict protected activity during all “working hours” when employees are at work, including duty-free time. Given the ambiguity, the Board found the Court’s rule banning solicitation during “working hours” ambiguous and overly broad. While “Working time is for work,” and an employer may therefore prohibit solicitation during “working time,” an employer rule that prohibits solicitation or distribution during “working hours,” but makes no mention of duty-free times during “working hours,” such as meal or rest periods, when employees may solicit one another or distribute literature, may reasonably be interpreted as authoring no such activities during those duty-free periods of the day.