Did you know? You have rights in your workplace under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). Many people know that the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) protects employees' rights to join and support unions where they work. But many are not aware that the NLRA also protects other employee rights as well.
Under the NLRA, employees have the right to act together to raise workplace issues with their employer or to press for changes in wages or conditions. Such employee actions are known as “protected concerted activities.” Unlawful employer actions that are prohibited by the Act include:
Threatening, disciplining, terminating, or otherwise retaliating against an employee for having engaged in union or protected concerted activities.
Prohibiting employees from discussing or sharing information about their wages or working conditions.
Prohibiting employees from talking about workplace issues on their own time.
The National Labor Relations Act also protects an employee’s right to not participate in unions or in other actions with employees. The Act does not require an employer to grant any specific employee or union demand
Careful! There are limits to the Act's protections. The National Labor Relations Act protects employees who act together to raise workplace issues. Employees are NOT protected by the Act when they make complaints or demands for themselves alone.
The Act DOESNOT protect employees who engage in misconduct, even when the misconduct is intended to support concerted employee action. Threats, violence, or occupation of the employer’s premises are among actions generally considered to be misconduct warranting discipline.
The Act provides for back pay to compensate employees for losses resulting from unlawful conduct; but the Act does not provide for fines, punitive damages, or losses not directly resulting from lost employment.
The Act does not require an employer to grant employee demands.
Some other protections and restrictions under the Act:
The Act also protects an employee’s right to join or support a union.
The Act has procedures for determining by secret-ballot election whether a majority of employees in a workplace want a union to represent them in dealing with their employer over wages, hours, and working conditions.
The Act requires an employer to recognize and bargain with the union where a majority of employees vote by secret ballot for union representation.
The Act requires both unions and employers to bargain in good faith.
The Act requires unions to represent all unit members fairly.
The Act prohibits unions from picketing neutral employers in order to get them to cease doing business with a non-union employer.
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