Pro-Union Handbilling Rights Preserved

A recent U.S. Supreme Court decision upheld the right of contractor employees who work in casino restaurants to distribute pro-Union handbills to consumers in the casino's public, nonwork areas (New York-New York LLC v. NLRB, U.S., No. 12-451, cert. denied 3/18/13).

The lower court found that New York-New York LLC, which runs New York-New York Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, violated the National Labor Relations Act when it prohibited an onsite food service contractor's off-duty employees from distributing Union handbills in a covered sidewalk and driveway area of the casino's main entrance and two other public areas outside casino restaurants. (676 F.3d 193, (D.C. Cir. 2012)).
The NLRB had ruled that these restaurant workers, although not casino employees, were “statutorily protected employees.” The Board adopted an “access standard” to accommodate the employees' right to handbill and the casino's “state-law property rights and legitimate managerial interests” (356 N.L.R.B. No. 119, (2011)).

The Supreme Court upheld the NLRB’s standard: a property owner may prohibit handbilling by a contractor's off-duty employees in public, nonwork areas only where the owner is able to demonstrate that activity significantly interferes with his use of the property or where exclusion is justified by another legitimate business reason, such as the need to maintain production and discipline.
For more information, contact your labor law counsel.

By Lisl Duncan

Legal Developments