What is the National Labor Relations Act?
The National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”) is a federal law meant to protect the rights of employees to collective organize, unionize, bargain, and fight for better working conditions. While most of the law is focused on governing how unions organize and operate, it also contains provisions that protect the rights of all employees, both unionized and not unionized. The NLRA created an agency named the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) in order to protect these rights and mediate labor disputes.
What is concerted activity under the NLRA?
“Concerted Activity” is when you cooperate with your coworkers in order to improve conditions and/or terms of employment (pay, benefits, working conditions, etc.). Here is a non-exhaustive list of certain activities that are or may be protected by the NLRA.
- Discussing the terms and conditions of employment with coworkers.
- Discussing the terms and conditions of employment with customers and clients.
- Making a joint complaint with another coworker (or multiple coworkers) about the terms and conditions of employment.
- Discussing pay with your coworkers.
- CCing or BCCing coworkers on communications that you have sent to management or HR about pay, benefits, and working conditions.
- Forwarding to coworkers emails or sending copies of communications with management or HR.
- Posting on social media about the terms and conditions of employment.
- Telling management or HR that you have discussed a problem in your workplace with coworkers.
- Telling management or HR a statement to the effect of “My coworkers and I think…”
- Refusing an order from your boss after discussing that strategy with your coworkers beforehand.
If your employer has retaliated against or fired you you when you did any of the activities listed above, please contact our NLRA lawyers. You may have a case for wrongful termination under the NLRA.
In addition to these rights, there are other rights under the NLRA which govern unionized employees. If you are a member of a union, the law requires you to “exhaust administrative remedies” with your union before pursuing legal action. In other words, you must first get your union to tell you that they have done all that they can in your case before we will be able to represent you. For example, the union could do all that it could do to fight for you but fail in the attempt, or the union could straight up refuse to fight for you at all. At that point, please come to us to see if we can vindicate your rights under both the NLRA and other laws.
Best NLRA Attorney Blogs on Point:
- Can My Employer Make Me Sign a Severance Agreement Agreeing Not to Talk to Coworkers?
- Can an Employer Fire Me for Putting My Pronouns in My Email Signature?
- Can an Employer Prevent Workers from Discussing their Wages?
How can our employment law attorneys use the NLRA to make your case stronger?
If your employer has violated the NLRA then we can pursue these NLRA claims at the same time and separately from other claims that you may have. Defending a claim under the NLRA is a lot more intimidating for employers than other types of claims. Unlike certain other government agencies, the NLRB is aggressive and diligent in its duties. Its investigations and interviews are thorough and time consuming. For defendants, whose lawyers charge hundreds of dollars by the hour, this means that costs to defend an NLRA claim rapidly skyrocket.
The NLRB also allows for an expanded recovery for settlements. Under a standard employment case, economic damages are limited to lost wages. This means that there is no guarantee under the law that a non-NLRA employment claim would be able to recover foreseeable damages that happen as a result of an adverse employment action. To put this in plain English, if you were to get illegally fired due to a violation of the law that is not the NLRA, then it will be incredibly hard for us to recover costs that you have endured as a result of not having a job like losing a car, credit card debt, fees from getting evicted, etc.
However, the NLRB has recently decided that if you were fired due to an NLRA violation, then you can get those foreseeable damages back. In a case this past December, the NLRB ruled that an employer owes an employee all foreseeable damages that result from the employer violating the NLRA. Thryv, Inc., 372 NLRB No. 22 (2022). The NLRB has provided examples that included credit card debt, late fees, medical debts, penalties for early withdrawals from retirement accounts, loss of a car or a home, childcare costs, and transportation costs. The combination of having more damages that one can recover for and the comparable expense for the defense of the NLRB process make it likelier that the defense will settle for more.
Best Employment Attorney Blog on Point:
How do I sue my employer?
Best Employment Lawyer Answer: If you believe that your NLRA rights have been violated, please call the right attorney to schedule a free and confidential consultation. (Read: What is the Spitz No Fee Guarantee?; Why Having Skilled Employment Attorneys Is Critical). Call our lawyers in Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky and North Carolina to get help now. Spitz, The Employee’s Law Firm and its experienced attorneys are dedicated to protecting employees’ rights and solving employment disputes.
This employment law website is an advertisement. The materials available at the top of this NLRA page and at this employment law website are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. If you are still asking, “Can my employer fire me for organizing with my coworkers…”, “Can my boss punish me for comparing wages with my coworkers…” , or “Can I get compensated if I get evicted after losing my job..” or “I was fired for …”, it would be best for to contact an experienced attorney to obtain advice with respect to any National Labor Relations Act employment law issue or problem. Use and access to this employment law website or any of the links contained within the site do not create an attorney-client relationship. The legal opinions expressed at or through this site are the opinions of the individual lawyer and may not reflect the opinions of The Spitz Law Firm, Brian Spitz, or any individual attorney.