Employers: Choose Your Poison!

Just when you thought your Employee’s Handbook protected you from legal difficulties arising from one employee’s harassment of others, along comes the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).  This case involved a unionized workforce that was locked out of the employer’s premises while the expired collective bargaining agreement was being negotiated.
The company hired non-union temporary employees to cross the picket lines to work in place of the union workers.  This naturally resulted in some unpleasant comments including outright racist comments by one union guy that was caught on security recordings.  The company fired him and the NRLB reinstated him.  This article has details.
It almost seems as though this is a turf war between competing protections offered by two different federal agencies: the NLRB who is lenient with regard to what it calls “concerted activity” on the part of unionized employees, and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission who seeks to eliminate the poisonous atmosphere resulting from personal harassment.
If you have a unionized workforce, the NRLB’s decision will make you think about creating a decision matrix that includes guidance in determining the least bitter pill to swallow.
If you don’t have a union, don’t be too ready to dismiss this tale. When the interests of competing bureaucracies collide there is very little room for employers to step aside to avoid being crushed.


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