LABOR BOARD LAUNCHES WEBSITE DIRECTED AT NON-UNION EMPLOYEES
On June 18, the National Labor Relations Board launched its new website directed at non-union employees. The website, www.nlrb.gov/concerted-activity, is attached and directs readers to the Board’s agency website. The agency website, www.nlrb.gov, details the employee rights that are protected by the National Labor Relations Act (e.g., the right to belong to and promote union representation) and provides instructions about how to access the Board to obtain redress for employer violations of the law.
The website was originally intended to accompany the Employee Rights poster that the NLRB was set to require employers to post on April 30. The Employee Rights poster is hung-up in litigation.
Visitors to the website are given eleven examples of instances where non-union employees sought assistance from the Labor Board and achieved reinstatement to employment and damage awards. The examples all involve instances when the Labor Board was successful in getting discharged employees reinstated to their employment with full back pay or obtained significant settlements (in one case, $900,000) in return for refusing reinstatement. These examples were as follow:
· An employee was discharged for posting on her Facebook page criticisms of her supervisor.
· An employee was discharged to keep her from talking to other employees about perceived wage rate unfairness.
· Employees were discharged for walking off the job in protest of a change in work rules.
· Employees who signed a petition protesting working and living conditions were threatened with deportation and then discharged.
· Employees were disciplined for asking to meet with a human resource representative to complain about a supervisor who they had discovered was a registered sex offender.
· Employees were discharged for sending a protest letter about a wage cut.
· Employee who discussed her wages with another employee was discharged
· An employee was discharged for refusing to divulge the names of the authors of an anonymous petition critical of senior management.
· Employees who signed a protest letter complaining about a wage cut were fired.
· Employees who raised safety concerns were fired.
· Employees were discharged for complaining on You Tube about unsafe working conditions.
Presumably, the Labor Board will add new examples with even more captivating fact patterns as they occur.
Employers have been conditioned to examining each instance of discipline or discharge to ensure that the decision has not been tainted by illegal bias against a member of a protected class. Employers must now include in that examination whether the decision implicates rights protected by the National Labor Relations Act. The Labor Board is anxious to find as many examples as possible.
Untrained managers and supervisors and rules of conduct that, for example, prohibit the disparagement the employer, use of the company logo, or inappropriate conduct risk place their employers at risk of another pin in the Labor Board’s map of malefactors.
Read my new article on the Labor Board's current campaign -- and how far it will go -- to educate non-union employees on their rights under the National Labor Relations Act in the June 15 issue of HREonline.