The law we enforce gives employees the right to act together to try to improve their pay and working conditions, with or without a union. If employees are fired, suspended, or otherwise penalized for taking part in protected group activity, the National Labor Relations Board will fight to restore what was unlawfully taken away. These rights were written into the original 1935 National Labor Relations Act and have been upheld in numerous decisions by appellate courts and by the U.S. Supreme Court. Recent cases involving a range of industries and employees are highlighted on the map below; please hover over a pin for a summary or click and the full story will appear below.
RML Specialty Hospital Inc. (Employer) is a long-term acute care hospital in Chicago. It unlawfully suspended and discharged an employee for submitting a grievance concerning management’s treatment of employees who return to work from medical leave. Following a thorough investigation, the Chicago NLRB Regional Office issued complaint, and prior to hearing, the employee and the Employer reached a settlement agreement, which provided full backpay to the employee.
An employee began discussing his concerns with a co-worker regarding the Employer’s failure to accommodate their medical restrictions after they returned from their respective medical leaves. As the months passed and their working conditions did not improve, one of the employees spoke to his pastor. The pastor told him that he had recently heard a representative from ARISE Chicago, a workers’ rights center, speak at a conference about workers’ rights and suggested he go there and see if they could help. An ARISE representatives assisted these employees with drafting the grievances, which they presented to the Employer.
After submitting his grievance to the Employer, one employee was fired. The ARISE representative who assisted him with drafting the grievance had previously attended an NLRB outreach event hosted by Chicago Regional Office. He informed the employee that he had a right to act concerted with his co-worker, and the Employer could not retaliate against him. The ARISE representative helped him file a charge against the Employer.
Following an investigation of this charge, the Regional Director of the Chicago NLRB Regional Office determined that the employee had engaged in protected concerted activities with his co-worker and that there was reasonable cause to believe that the Employer terminated the employee in retaliation of his protected activity of filing the grievance. On behalf of the NLRB General Counsel, the Director issued a complaint calling for a hearing before an administrative law judge. Prior to the hearing, the employee and RML Hospital Inc. reached a settlement agreement providing the employee with his full backpay. The employee declined reinstatement to his old job.