‘Going Postal’ Over Data Breach Response: Union Files Failure-to-Bargain Charge With NLRB Against United states postal service

As recent high-profile cyberattacks have shown, companies possess a duty to safeguard their employees’ digitally stored private information from being utilized by online hackers, and also to quickly remedy any breach in security concerning similarly info. Based upon the end result of the lately filed charge prior to the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB” or even the “Board”), unionized companies might need to add another duty with regards to data security breaches: bargain using the union regarding how to handle the breach.

The American Postal Employees Union has filed an unfair labor practice charge using the NLRB from the U . s . States Postal Service (United states postal service), alleging the United states postal service unsuccessful to bargain using the union within the impact and effects caused by an information breach that compromised private information about its employees. Particularly, the union claims the United states postal service violated the nation’s Labor Relations Act (NLRA) by providing employees influenced through the data breach twelve months of free credit monitoring without first bargaining using the union concerning the offer.

The United states postal service introduced the information breach on November 10, saying inside a statement that online hackers had acquired what they are called, birth dates, Social Security figures along with other personal determining information of their employees. Based on the union, however, the United states postal service had been aware of the cyberattack for several several weeks but informed the union from the issue just the evening prior to making its announcement. The union then purportedly received details about the breach and also the USPS’s response shortly prior to the United states postal service started talks using its employees round the country in regards to the breach. The USPS’s failure to advise the union quickly from the breach and discuss how you can address its effect on employees, the union stated, violated section 8(a)(5) from the NLRA, which requires companies to bargain with unions regarding wages, hrs and dealing conditions. The NLRB will investigate union’s charge and, based upon the outcomes of this analysis, may issue a complaint from the United states postal service that’ll be adjudicated through the Board and many be reviewed with a federal appellate court.

If the Board ultimately rule in support of the union about this charge, unionized companies may face conflicting focal points with regards to data protection. Companies wish to investigate and react to data breaches rapidly however, getting to barter having a union concerning the results of such breaches on employees might easily decelerate an answer. Additionally, getting to approach a union before a business has finalized its reaction to the breach could cause information in regards to the breach to become leaked before the organization has the capacity to create a formal announcement explaining the precise nature from the breach and just what the organization intends to do about this. This type of premature disclosure might cause damage to a company’s business, in addition to confusion for individuals employees potentially influenced through the breach.

While it is too early to know exactly what the Board will do with this issue, its pro-union pronouncements in other areas over the past several years suggest that it will side with the union, at least with respect to the obligation to bargain over benefits offered to employees impacted by data breaches. As a result, employers may want to consider how they address communications with their unions regarding data breaches before such a breach occurs, including possibly addressing such communications formally in the collective bargaining agreement. This is a case that unionized employers should keep an eye on.