The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) is a federal law that protects the rights of employees to organize, form unions, engage in collective bargaining, or refuse to participate in this type of activity. Under the NLRA, employers are prohibited from interfering with, restraining, or coercing employees who exercise their rights. For example, your employer cannot threaten or interrogate you because you are pro-union or promise you benefits for not joining unionizing efforts. Even if you do not form a union, your employer cannot punish you and your co-workers for working together to improve your work conditions and employment terms. Here is some information about the NLRA from the attorneys at Swartz Swidler.
Protection of the Rights to Organize and Engage in Concerted Action
Under Section 7 of the NLRA, you have the right to organize, join, form, or help labor organizations. You also have the right to collectively bargain and to choose representatives to represent you. You also have the right to engage in other concerted actions together with your co-workers to improve the terms and conditions of your employment. On the other hand, the NLRA also protects your right to refuse to organize or join a union.
Employees have the right to engage in certain actions not involving unions that are aimed at improving their work conditions. This includes the right to talk about your work conditions with other employees for the purpose of trying to secure better terms or conditions. Protected concerted activity includes anything involving two or more employees working together to try to improve the workplace, including bringing complaints to their employer’s attention, asking for pay increases, or talking about safety-related issues. For example, your employer cannot prohibit you from discussing salary information with your co-workers in an effort to try to bargain for increased wages.
Protection Against Interference
Under Section 8 of the NLRA, employers are prohibited from interfering with their employees’ concerted activities. For example, an employer cannot interfere with its employees’ efforts to improve the safety conditions of their workplace. Employers cannot fire employees from engaging in protected concerted activities.
Social Media and Concerted Activity
In some cases, employees can engage in concerted activity on social media, and their employers cannot take action against them for doing so. For example, the Second Circuit found that activity on social media might amount to protected concerted activity in Three D, LLC d/b/a Triple Play Sports Bar and Grille v. NLRB, 629 F. App’x 33 (2d Cir. 20150.
in that case, an employee posted on Facebook that his employer failed to properly calculate his tax withholding on his paychecks. He stated that he owed money and that someone should buy the company from its owner. A second employee commented on his post stating that he also owed money, and a third employee liked the man’s post. The employer then fired two of the three employees. The National Labor Relations Board found that the comments the employees had made were protected concerted activity and found that the employer’s actions violated the NLRA. The NLRB’s decision was affirmed by the Second Circuit, which found that the statements were protected concerted activity because they involved complaints about the employer’s tax withholding practices.
The court found that Triple Play did not violate the NLRA simply by terminating the employees. Instead, the court found that the right to engage in the activity must be balanced with the employer’s interest in preventing disparagement and protecting its reputation. This means that it is possible to lose protection under the NLRA if you make comments on social media that are defamatory or disloyal. In the men’s case, the court found that their comments did not involve Triple Play’s services or products and were not defamatory or disloyal to the company.
How Are NLRA Violations Reported?
Violations of the NLRA are investigated by the NLRB, including the protection of concerted activities. If you believe that your NLRA rights have been violated, you must report them within six months of when the violation occurred. You can make an inquiry to the NLRB without your employer being informed. Before an investigation will be started, however, you must file a charge with the NLRB.
Following its investigation, the NLRB will determine whether your rights have been violated under the NLRA. If it finds that your rights were violated, it might order legal remedies, including back pay, benefits, job reinstatement, and others.
Get Help from Swartz Swidler
If you believe that your employer has violated your rights under the NLRA, you should consult an experienced attorney at Swartz Swidler. Call us today to request a free consultation at (856) 685-7420.