Ellen’s Stardust Diner, home of the world-famous singing servers in Times Square, New York City, settled a number of unfair labor practice allegations in late September 2017, just a week before a hearing on the issues was scheduled to go forward. The restaurant agreed to offer reinstatement to all thirty-one discharged employees, expunge the employee records of the alleged unlawful discharges, and post and mail notices to current and former employees. Thirteen employees have accepted offers of reinstatement. The settlement agreement provides that backpay for all discharged employees will be adjudicated through a compliance hearing.
A server and Stardust Family United, the union created by the servers, initially filed charges in September 2016. The charges alleged that Ellen’s Stardust Diner had surveilled employees while they were engaged in protected concerted activities, interrogated employees regarding their protected concerted or union activities, interfered with employee social media postings, disabled employee workplace messaging, maintained an overly-broad confidentiality provision, solicited employee signatures for a petition to remove Stardust Family United as a representative, and discharged thirty-one employees because of their protected concerted and union activities.
Throughout the investigation, the Employer asserted that it discharged thirty of the thirty-one employees after it uncovered theft by reviewing its point-of-sale records. The Employer turned over its findings to the Manhattan District Attorney’s office. In assessing the Employer’s reason for termination, the Region reviewed at least 26,000 pages of documents and concluded that the discharges were retaliatory.
The Region issued its complaint on April 26, 2017, and an amended complaint on August 21, 2017. Acting Regional Director Nicholas H. Lewis approved the settlement agreement on October 3, 2017. The compliance hearing is scheduled for November 6, 2017.
Established in 1935, the National Labor Relations Board is an independent federal agency that protects employers and employees from unfair labor practices, and protects the right of private sector employees to join together, with or without a union, to improve wages, benefits and working conditions. The NLRB conducts hundreds of workplace elections and investigates thousands of unfair labor practice charges each year.