Labor organizing is an important, legally protected practice that is critical for helping workers to enforce their rights. Unfortunately, employers are often loath to allow employees to freely organize, and may take extreme (and potentially illegal) steps to prevent employees from unionizing. But what should you do if you get fired for organizing a labor union at your workplace?
The Law Under the NLRA
As Steven Sack discusses in his new book, Fired!, “Under the federal NLRA (National Labor Relations Act) and state laws, employers are forbidden from penalizing workers who decide collectively to discuss common grievances and form and participate in a labor union.” Essentially, this means that every employee has the right to organize and collectively bargain, and employers cannot legally punish employees for exercising this right. Unfortunately, employers will often ignore the law to punish labor organizers, reprimanding them or firing them for exercising their legal right to organize and collectively bargain.
Why Employers Hate Labor Organizing
Many employers despise labor organizing, and choose to punish labor organizers, because employees that collectively bargain have much more power to negotiate their salaries and benefits. Not only that, but if they form a union, an employer can be bound to a union contract that will force them to maintain those gains for their employees or face potential litigation. Employees can also seek enforcement against employers for violating their labor rights, through agencies like the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and the New York State Department of Labor, among others.
How Employers Punish Labor Organizing
When employers choose to punish labor organizers, they can take a variety of steps from the subtle to the overt. On the subtle side of things, employers may simply choose not to award raises or benefits to labor organizers, or may refuse to grant requests for time off for people who engage in labor organizing. If they choose to be more blatant, they may formally reprimand employees for engaging in labor organizing, or may outright fire them for trying to organize a union. It is illegal, but some employers are willing to risk legal penalties and lawsuits to keep their employees from unionizing.
What You Should Do
If you are an employee and want to engage in labor organizing, or if you have suffered professional consequences as a result of exercising your legal rights to organize and collectively bargain, you should speak to an employment law attorney as soon as possible. They can advise you on your rights and help you to explore what options may be available to you. The sooner you call, the sooner they can get to work on your case.
Steven Mitchell Sack, the Employee’s Lawyer, is a New York employment lawyer with more than 41 years’ experience handling the many aspects of employment law. His new book, “Fired!: Protect Your Rights & FIGHT BACK If You’re Terminated, Laid Off, Downsized, Restructured, Forced to Resign or Quit,” is available in hardback, and contains valuable advice on dealing with employment and labor law issues. To purchase the book, feel free to contact Steven Sack at 917-371-8000 or visit the website at legalstratpub.com. To inquire about a legal matter, please feel free to contact attorney Steven Sack at 917-371-8000 or email@example.com.