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IBM Corp.

National Labor Relations Board
341 N.L.R.B. 1288 (2004)


In response to a letter from a former employee that contained harassment allegations, IBM Corp. (defendant) interviewed three of the employees involved. None requested a witness for the first interview, but all three requested an attorney or a coworker’s presence for the second interview a week later. IBM denied the requests, conducted the second interviews in private, and discharged all three employees a month later. Although the employees were not unionized, all three charged IBM with violating the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) by denying the requests for a coworker’s presence. The judge applied a prior National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) decision that recognized such a right in a nonunionized setting and concluded that IBM violated the NLRA. IBM urged the NLRB to overrule that decision and instead return to its prior stance, which required a union representative’s presence in investigatory interviews only in unionized settings. The NRLB reviewed the judge’s recommendations and entered its decision.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Battista, Chairman)

Dissent (Liebman and Walsh, Members)

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