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NLRB withdraws Bridgewater complaint

The National Labor Relations Board withdrew on Friday its complaint against Bridgewater Associates alleging some confidentiality provisions in the firm's standard employment agreements are illegal, according to a notice on the NLRB's website.

Whether a settlement was reached could not be learned; the NLRB's official order was not available immediately to the public.

Neither Jessica Kahanek, an NLRB spokeswoman, nor Scott G. Grubin, of counsel at Wigdor and the NLRB's legal representative for the Bridgewater complaint, could be reached immediately for comment.

In a statement, Bridgewater said: “We are pleased that the claim was withdrawn and the case has been dismissed.” Russell Sherman, a Bridgewater spokesman, declined to comment further.

A settlement is not unusual in cases of alleged violations of the National Labor Relations Act and generally requires the employer to correct its rule and publicly post the change for 60 days, said Marshall Babson, counsel, Seyfarth Shaw LLP, who served on the NLRB between 1985 and 1988.

In fact, the NLRB was seeking a settlement with Bridgewater: “I can confirm that settlement discussions are ongoing,” Ms. Kahanek wrote in an Oct. 25 e-mail.

The NLRB began investigating Bridgewater in early 2016 after a former Bridgewater employee filed a complaint alleging sexual harassment by his supervisor. The employee withdrew his initial charge but filed a second complaint after Bridgewater allegedly placed him on indefinite paid leave because he threatened to go to the labor board.

In the complaint, filed June 30, the NLRB said Bridgewater has been “interfering with, restraining and coercing employees in the exercise of the rights guaranteed” in the National Labor Relations Act in its employment agreements.