Jun. 18 2012

NLRB Launches Webpage Describing Protected Concerted Activity

Topics: Employee Hiring, Discipline & Termination, Social Media, Union-Management Relations

The increasingly activist NLRB furthered its efforts today by launching a new webpage describing, with examples, the meaning of "protected concerted activity."  According to the NLRB press release, the webpage "describes the rights of employees to act together for their mutual aid and protection, even if they are not in a union."  The webpage recounts stories of a dozen or so complaints involving protected concerted activity, ranging from an employee who was fired after discussing wages with a coworker to employees who were fired after discussing grievances with a newspaper reporter.  The press release emphasizes that "more than 5% of the agency's recent caseload" involves non-union concerted activity.  NLRB Chairman Mark Gaston Pearce stated, "We think the right to engage in protected concerted activity is one of the best kept secrets of the National Labor Relations Act, and more important than ever in these difficult economic times. Our hope is that other workers will see themselves in the cases we’ve selected and understand that they do have strength in numbers.”  The NLRB press release, including a link to the new webpage, is here.  The NLRB's new webpage is the latest in the agency's reliance on the Section 7 right to engage in protected concerted activity as a means to regulate employer policies and practices in non-union work environments.  As we have posted several times in the past few months, the NLRB has relied on Section 7 to strike down class action waivers in employment arbitration agreements and to declare a host of social media policies and social media related terminations unlawful.  There surely will be more to come from the NLRB in the coming months, and we will post such developments here.

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Robin Largent represents employers, including major food and retail companies, in all types of employment litigation: wrongful termination, retaliation, breach of contract, wage and hour (California Labor Code) and unfair competition. She also regularly counsels and advises California employers on issues of compliance with California and federal employment laws.
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