Two weeks ago, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued a final ruling reversing the decision of the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) in the case of Colt Beverage where the ALJ found that a company prohibition on the use or possession of a personal cell phone in the work area violated the employee’s rights under Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act to take photos, record audio and video in the workplace, and make legally protected phone calls from work areas. The final NLRB decision makes it clear that employers may restrict the possession as well as use of personal cell phones while an employee is working in the work area. Beneficial to the employer’s argument in this case was the fact that the prohibition was limited to the work area – employees were free to check and use their cell phones while they were on break hours out of the work area. And, in light of the potential distraction that a personal cell phone can present for an employee, the Board found “a blanket prohibition on usage in work areas is a reasonable restriction” to reduce on-the-job accidents and product contamination. Elsewhere on the NLRB front, a federal judge in DC has blocked the agency rules slowing down the so-called quickie union election from taking effect this week as scheduled. The AFL-CIO brought the challenge alleging that proper procedures were not followed because NLRB did not publish a proposed version of the rule changes – subject to public review and comment – as required. The court agreed and struck much of the rule’s provisions.