The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued a decision that broadens the protection for individual workers under federal labor law for protests by that could potentially lead to group action. The decision increases what can be considered as “concerted activity” for individual workers. “Concerted Activity” is a core protection under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).
In the decision, the NLRB ruled that solo protests are protected concerted activity when they are intended to initiate, induce, participate in, or assist group action, even if there is no evidence of group activities occurring contemporaneously with the individual action. The Board also found that the following factors are relevant to determining whether an individual’s action was concerted activity:
- Whether the worker was acting in furtherance of their own interests or the interests of other workers
- Whether the worker’s action was intended to lead to group action
- Whether the worker’s action was part of a larger campaign of group action
- Whether the worker’s action was consistent with the interests of other workers
- Whether the employer knew or should have known that the worker’s action was intended to lead to group action
The NLRB’s decision is a significant victory for workers and makes it more difficult for employers to retaliate against workers for engaging in solo protests. The decision is also likely to embolden workers to speak out against unfair labor practices, even if they are not part of a union or other organized group.
Here are some examples of individual worker actions that are now more likely to be protected as concerted activity under the NLRB’s decision:
- A worker who raises safety concerns with their employer
- A worker who files a complaint with the NLRB
- A worker who speaks out against discrimination or harassment at work
- A worker who refuses to work overtime or on a particular assignment
- A worker who wears a union t-shirt or distributes union literature at work
Take it from people in the know, a good contract will only get you so far. These new protections will soon be tangled with misclassification of contractors. Is your business ready?
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