Suffice it to say that most employers do not like the idea of their workers unionizing. In order to prevent their workers from organizing a union, they will go to extreme lengths to sabotage labor organizing efforts, sometimes in violation of the law. Here are just five of the ways that employers will break the law when trying to stop a labor union from organizing:
- Spying on employee activities
- An increasingly common method for discouraging employee activity is by spying on them while engaged in labor organizing. This could involve literal spies who surveil labor organizing efforts. It could also include monitoring email, phone calls, or social media to keep track of organizers. With few exceptions, this kind of spying is an illegal form of intimidation when used to prevent labor organizing.
- Interrogating employees on their activities
- Sometimes an employer will go beyond spying on their employees and go to interrogate them about their labor organizing activities. They may place pressure on employees to talk about what they have been doing, or they may try to force them to talk about their co-workers who are involved in unionization efforts. Aside from collecting information about workers, this also puts pressure on organizers and makes them feel they have done something wrong by exercising their labor rights.
- Threatening employees who try to organize
- Some employers will dispense with any subtlety and simply threaten employees who try to organize a labor union. These threats typically involve threats of professional consequences, including formal reprimand, reduced pay, or a loss of benefits. In extreme cases, some employers may even resort to physical threats to discourage labor organizing at their company, which would not only be a violation of labor law, but also potentially a criminal offense.
- Promising rewards for not supporting a union
- Rather than trying to monitor or intimidate employees, some employers will try to convince employees not to join unions by promising them rewards. These rewards could come in the form of increased pay or benefits, bonuses, or increased sick or vacation days. They could also condition promotions on refusing to support a labor union, which would be a significant violation of labor laws.
- Retaliating against employees
- Finally, some employers will illegally retaliate against employees for exercising their labor rights by trying to organize a union. Often, employers will devise fake problems to reprimand employees to justify their retaliation against them, cutting their wages, slashing their benefits, or even firing them outright. Other times, employers will outright punish employees for their unionization efforts, without any pretext to justify their actions. Either way, it is a violation of an employee’s labor rights.
If you have gotten into a legal dispute with your employer, it is important that you seek the guidance of an experienced New York employment lawyer who can protect your legal rights and advocate on your behalf. Steven Mitchell Sack, the Employee’s Lawyer, is a New York employment lawyer with more than 40 years’ experience handling the many aspects of employment law. To schedule an appointment with New York City employment lawyer Steven Mitchell Sack, call (917) 371-8000 or visit his contact page.