The NLRA Applies to Non-Union Employees, too!

I have seen an uptick in consultations with employees who have viable claims under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). Employees covered by the NLRA are afforded certain rights to join together to improve their wages and working conditions, with or without a union. This protection extends to certain work-related conversations conducted on social media.

Here is a hypothetical that depicts a NLRA claim. Jane Doe is employed by ABC manufacturer. Jane is not a union member. Jane is a line worker, and she works the first shift. The first shift includes 20 other line workers. Jane heard that the employees on second shift all got a $1 per hour pay raise starting January 1, 2024. The second shift employees were told to keep the raise secret and not tell any other employees. Nonetheless, someone leaked the pay change for the second shift line workers. Jane asked her favorite coworker on the second shift, Joe Smith, if the pay raise rumor was true. Joe affirmed to Jane that indeed received a $1 per hour pay raise starting January 1, 2024. Jane believes this pay change to be unfair.

Jane ruminated over the implications of complaining about the unfairness of the second shift getting a pay raise. Jane had a disrupted night of sleep about it. Jane decided that she needed to make a formal complaint. Jane went to the Human Resources (HR) Department on January 3, 2024, and submitted a complaint to a HR Representative. Jane reported that all of the line workers on the first shift should also receive a $1 per hour pay raise. The HR representative was dismissive, and she told Jane that she had a lot of urgent new year deadlines to deal with before she had time to talk to Jane. As Jane was leaving the HR office, Jane saw the HR representative toss her complaint on a stack of papers on the ground.

Jane felt ignored. Jane worked the rest of her shift on January 3, 2024. Jane ate dinner at home, and she called her work bestie to complain about the unfairness of it all. Then, Jane posted on Facebook, “I have worked for ABC for 10 years. Everyone should know how ABC’s treats their employees. They give some people raises and do not give my whole shift raises even though we are the ones that have to wake up early every day. Management does not know what they are doing. Pay everyone fairly!” Jane’s Facebook post quickly received likes and comments.

The next morning, Jane went to work on January 4, 2024, and despite her frustrations over her pay, she even gets to work early. Jane is the first line worker at the timeclock. As soon as Jane clocks in Jane’s Manager, Dick Charles, calls her to the management office. Dick says, “I saw your Facebook post. Your conduct is unacceptable. What do you have to say for yourself?” Jane responds, “I reported the pay concerns for first shift to HR yesterday and she pretty much threw my complaint away. First shift should get $1 per hour raises. Why are you being such a jerk not giving us one too!?” Dick responds, “Do you see my name on that door!? I decide who gets a raise, not you! Get out and don’t come back!” Jane is escorted out of the building and barred from the premises.

Jane calls her friend to vent about her termination. The friend tells her to call Cromer Babb & Porter, LLC (CBP) because they helped her friend in an employment case a couple of years ago. Jane calls CBP and schedules a consultation with me. I listen to Jane’s woes and then I tell Jane what legal issues I see in her case.

Jane has a case against ABC manufacturer. I tell Jane that her claims arise under the NLRA. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) enforces the NLRA. Jane must file a Charge with the NLRB within six months of the occurrence. Jane should always measure her filing deadline from the earliest dates of concern. From what is described above, it is best for Jane to file a Charge within six months of January 1, 2024.

We represent employees with NLRA claims. If you, or someone you know, has issues like Jane, we are here to help.  

By: Attorney Shannon Polvi

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