Partner Matt Wakefield successfully defended one of the largest hospitality employers against numerous allegations of unfair labor practices, culminating in a precedential National Labor Relations Board decision, Interstate Management Co., LLC, 369 NLRB No. 84 (May 20, 2020). The case began at a Residence Inn in Santa Fe, New Mexico. In September 2017, the Residence Marriott Committee, a labor organization formed by three hotel employees with the assistance of a local employee-rights group, filed an unfair labor practice charge alleging a slew of employer violations of the National Labor Relations Act. The committee claimed that management retaliated against the employees’ protected concerted activities by interrogating and threatening them, soliciting grievances and promising to remedy them, reducing hours and increasing the amount of work, and laying off, disciplining, and/or discharging employees. The committee later amended the charge to allege that the employer maintains numerous unlawful handbook and other policies at the hotel and at approximately 400 other hotels across the country.
After persuading the NLRB Regional Director that there was no merit to most of the allegations, a trial was held on three allegations of management threats, one allegation of interrogation, and two purportedly unlawful employer policies. Following the submission of post-trial briefs and an unsuccessful attempt by the NLRB’s General Counsel to add new allegations to the complaint, an administrative law judge dismissed all allegations, except the challenges to two employer policies. One policy addresses government investigations and the other concerns the protection of confidential information. Following an appeal to the Board, three Board members unanimously upheld both employer policies and dismissed the complaint.