Regulation of employee voice
Employee voice is profoundly influenced by the law. The law determines the forms of voice that are permitted or encouraged, the structure of workplace institutions, and the relationship between management and employees. Yet there is a 'relative absence' of legal perspectives in the industrial relations (IR) literature on employee voice (Novitz and Bogg 2011: 3). The lack of research linking legal provisions to workplace practices and outcomes (see also Bogg and Novitz 2012) is an important oversight in the existing scholarship. This is especially so since legal regulation is a key determinant of workplace democracy, organizational efficiency and employee well-being (see, for example, Bogg and Novitz 2012; Gollan and Patmore 2006; Kaine 2012; Perrett 2007). This chapter addresses the lacuna in the literature by providing an overview of the existing and emerging research regarding legal regulation of employee voice in the USA and Australia, with a particular focus on the regulation of collective bargaining. We compare the progenitor of labour law reform in Anglo countries, the National Labor Relations Act 29 USC §§ 151-69 (hereafter NLRA, also known as the Wagner Act (1935)), with the most recent form of such regulation, the Australian Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (herein FWA). There has been relatively little recent research comparing these two countries since the enactment of the FWA in 2009 (Forsyth 2012). Our comparison highlights the fact that there are varieties of national legislation regulating employee voice. In addition, the chapter examines key workplace factors that interact with the legal regulation of employee involvement and participation at the workplace.