Grocery Store Maintained Unlawful “Data Protection” Rule

The Fresh & Easy grocery chain committed an unfair labor practice when it instructed workers to, “Keep customer and employee information secure. Information must be used fairly, lawfully, and only for the purpose for which it was obtained.” The NLRB said employees would reasonably understand the provision as a ban on discussing or disclosing employee wages and employment conditions. Merely maintaining the provision – regardless whether anyone was ever disciplined for violating it – interfered with the employees’ rights.

NLRB Member Harry Johnson, who represented management before joining the Board, dissented from the two union lawyers who ruled that the policy was unlawful. According to Member Johnson, employees who read the Fresh & Easy rule in context would understand the company was not trying to preclude them from talking about wages and working conditions.