California Labor &
Employment Law Blog
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'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 has a regular presence in California state and federal courts and has been lead defense counsel and appellate counsel for large and small California employers in litigation (and arbitration) ranging from individual discrimination and harassment claims to complex wage and hour representative and class actions. She also leads the firm’s appellate practice, having substantial experience and success handling appeals, writ petitions, and amicus briefs in both state and federal court on issues such as class certification (particularly in the wage and hour arena), manageability and due process concerns associated with class action trials, exempt/non-exempt misclassification issues, meal and rest break compliance, trade secret/unfair competition matters, and the scope of federal court jurisdiction under the Class Action Fairness Act.
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