Magazine article HRMagazine

Can We Fire an Employee for Sharing His Pay Increase with Coworkers and Destroying Morale?

Magazine article HRMagazine

Can We Fire an Employee for Sharing His Pay Increase with Coworkers and Destroying Morale?

Article excerpt

Probably not. Under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), employers are prohibited from taking adverse action against employees who participate in a "protected concerted activity," which can be defined as any discussion aimed at improving the terms and conditions of their employment. Such conversations might be about wages, benefits and workplace safety. These rights apply to most union and nonunion employees in the private sector. That said, the NLRA does exclude some workers from this protection, including public employees, agricultural and domestic workers, and supervi sors (with limited exceptions), to name a few.

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) enforces the NLRA and defends employees whose rights may have been violated. In determining whether a certain activity is protected, the board considers three questions:

* Is the activity concerted?

* Does it seek to benefit other employees?

* Was it carried out in a reckless or malicious manner?

What this means is that, were you to fire the employee for sharing his increase-and his conversation was later found to be protected under the act-the NLRB could require you to reinstate the worker and/or provide back pay. …

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