This is a game changer. The NLRB has reversed course, allowing employees to use the employer's email system on non-working time to communicate about working conditions, unionizing, and other Section 7 protected matters.
Purple Communications (NLRB 12/11/2014):
At issue in this case is the right of employees under Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act to effectively communicate with one another at work regarding self-organization and other terms and conditions of employment. The workplace is “uniquely appropriate” and “the natural gathering place” for such communications, and the use of email as a common form of workplace communication has expanded dramatically in recent years. Consistent with the purposes and policies of the Act and our obligation to accommodate the competing rights of employers and employees, we decide today that employee use of email for statutorily protected communications on nonworking time must presumptively be permitted by employers who have chosen to give employees access to their email systems. We therefore overrule the Board’s divided 2007 decision in Register Guard to the extent it holds that employees can have no statutory right to use their employer’s email systems for Section 7 purposes.