January 8, 2016
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Washington, DC- Saying that cell-phone pictures and videos “are particularly ‘essential’ to proving an employee's rights have been violated,” the National Labor Relations Board ruled that the Whole Foods supermarket chain can’t prohibit its workers from taking photographs or recording conversations in or around the workplace.
The 2–1 ruling, issued Dec. 24, came in response to a complaint filed by United Food and Commercial Workers Local 919 and the Workers Organizing Committee of Chicago. Whole Foods, whose CEO once said labor unions were “like having herpes,” had claimed that while its surveillance cameras were there to protect customers and “team members,” letting workers make recordings without a supervisor's permission would “inhibit spontaneous and honest dialogue especially when sensitive or confidential matters are being discussed.” The board said that rule prevented workers from making recordings for their “mutual aid and protection,” such as documenting unsafe working conditions, collecting evidence to be used in disciplinary hearings, or recording statements that show discrimination. Read more