Fired for Talking About Unions? That’s Illegal

Unions have been growing in popularity for the past year or more. In fact, more people view unions positively today than at any time since 1965. These workers are putting pressure on many employers to improve working conditions and offer better benefits.

This is excellent for workers, but some employers dislike the idea of having to negotiate with their employees. That can lead them to lash out and even fire people who talk about unionizing to prevent workers from organizing. For example, many workers at Amazon and Starbucks have accused their employers of anti-union tactics, such as firing organizers and closing stores. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has found their complaints about wrongful termination to have merit.

If that happens to you, you don’t need to accept the loss of your job. Organizing your place of employment is considered protected speech under the First Amendment. If your employer retaliates against you for discussing unions, they have violated your rights, and you can fight back. Here’s how. 

Your Rights to Talk About Employment and Unions

Despite what many employers imply, you have every right to discuss working conditions, wages, and unions. Talking about these issues is protected under the First Amendment, and your employer cannot bar you from having these discussions. 

Furthermore, organizing with your colleagues to improve your pay or working conditions is considered protected group activity under the 1935 National Labor Relations Act. Whether or not you choose to form or join a union, your employer cannot legally bar you from collective activity like this. 

Attempting to bar employees from protected concerted activity is considered a violation of your rights. So is retaliating against you for this behavior. Illegal anti-union retaliation includes doing any of the following because you participated in or discussed concerted activity:

  • Firing you
  • Cutting your hours
  • Demoting you
  • Cutting your pay
  • Refusing to promote you or grant a raise
  • Giving you poor performance reviews

If your employer does any of the above, its actions are unlawful. You have the right to take legal action against them to pursue the following:

  • Reinstatement at your previous position
  • Compensation for lost wages or benefits
  • Punitive damages to discourage future retaliatory acts

Standing Up to Employer Retaliation

No matter what protected action caused your employer to retaliate against you, its actions are unlawful. At Alexander Morrison + Fehr LLP, we specialize in representing workers harmed by their employers’ unjust actions. Our experienced California wrongful termination lawyers are available to help you seek justice for the losses you’ve suffered. Schedule your free consultation today to discuss your case and learn more about how a wrongful termination attorney can assist you with your workplace retaliation claim.