Coronavirus in the Workplace

NLRB Issues COVID-19 Election Protocols

By Kamer Zucker Abbott

July 8, 2020

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB or Board) resumed representation elections in early April. The Board’s Office of the General Counsel has now issued suggested COVID-19 protocols for NLRB Regions to follow when holding in-person representation elections. Each Regional Director still has the authority to decide, on a case-by-case basis, how elections are conducted, and the protocols are suggested procedures for keeping Board Agents and participants safe during in-person voting.

The protocols set forth additional and new requirements for the parties involved in an election to address in the election agreement, such as spacing of tables, supplies, and separate entry and exit points for voters. The protocols also provide that “all voters, observers, party representatives, and other participants should wear CDC-conforming masks in all phases of the election, including the pre-election conference, in the polling area or while observing the count.”

Several types of written certifications are also required. Employers must certify that the polling area is consistently cleaned in conformity with established CDC standards. Moreover, at least 24 hours before the election, the employer must certify how many individuals have been present in the facility within the preceding 14 days who have tested positive for COVID-19, are awaiting test results, are exhibiting symptoms, or have had direct contact with anyone who has tested positive. Moreover, each party, party representative and observer participating at the pre-election conference, serving as an election observer, or participating in the ballot count must make personal written certifications about their potential exposure to COVID-19.

If your business is involved in a representation case, be prepared for these types of requirements to be included in the election procedures. If you have questions about these requirements or elections generally, please contact a KZA attorney.

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