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Region 22 Wins $750,000 in Backpay for Four Unlawfully Discharged Employees of H&M International Transportation, Inc.

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On November 9, 2021, four former employees of H&M International Transportation, Inc. (H&M) received backpay totaling $750,000, resulting from a 2016 National Labor Relations Board Decision and Order finding that they were unlawfully suspended and terminated in retaliation for their concerted complaints regarding newly imposed work rules and health and safety issues.

H&M provides railroad terminal services at facilities throughout the United States. The four employees in this case loaded and unloaded cargo trains at the H&M’s Croxton Intermodal Terminal in Jersey City, New Jersey.

The 2016 Board Decision and Order was enforced by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals in 2018.  The employer was ordered to offer reinstatement to four discriminatees and make them whole for loss of earnings and other benefits; compensate them for adverse tax consequences; file a report allocating the backpay award to the appropriate calendar year; expunge their unlawful suspensions and discharges from their files and notify them in writing that this was done; and post a Notice to Employees informing them of their rights under the National Labor Relations Act.

Thereafter, the Region commenced its compliance effort, which involved vigorously enforcing the Court’s order. On July 27, 2021, the Employer agreed to a Compliance Stipulation approved by Region 22. In the Stipulation, H&M offered the four employees reinstatement, expunged all references to the unlawful suspensions and discharges from their files, paid each employee a lump-sum backpay award totaling $750,000, and posted a Notice to Employees. The employees all waived reinstatement.

Region 22 Director Suzanne Sullivan said: “This case truly exemplifies the dedication and perseverance of the NLRB’s staff in realizing the Act’s mission to provide protections to employees who, through lawful concerted activities, seek to improve their working conditions. The favorable Board ruling and court judgment were the result of exceptional investigatory and litigation efforts, well-informed decision-making, and the overall hard work of NLRB employees in Region 22, Headquarters and the Compliance Unit, including Attorneys Robert Mulligan and Nancy Slahetka, Deputy Regional Attorney Julie Kaufman, Compliance Officer Rhonda Fricke and Compliance Supervisor David Turner.”

Established in 1935, the National Labor Relations Board is an independent federal agency that protects employees, employers, and unions 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. Region 22 serves areas in New Jersey from its Regional Office in Newark.