The National Labor Relations Act protects workers’ rights to unionize as well as protects non-supervisory employees from retaliation if the worker engages in what is often referred to as “protected concerted activities” for the mutual aid and benefit of the workforce. Some examples of protected concerted activities include but are not limited to employees discussing their wages with each other or complaining to each other or to management collectively about the working conditions. Generally, this law applies to both workplaces that are unionized and non-unionized.
Traditionally, if an employer covered by this law retaliates or interferes with these rights, then an employee was entitled to recover only lost wages and benefits (i.e. back pay) and/or reinstatement to their position (in the cases of termination or demotion).
On December 13, 2022, the National Labor Relations Board, the federal agency responsible for enforcing the NLRA, in Thryv, Inc. and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 1269 (Cases 20-CA-250250 and 20-CA-251105) made a historical ruling recognizing that workers subject to violations of the NLRA are entitled to make whole relief to include all direct or foreseeable money damages suffered by the worker(s) for the unfair labor practice.
These new damages that are recoverable include:
- Increases in health insurance premiums and copays
- Investment growth on losses to 401(k) retirement benefits
- Attorney’s fees and costs (if directly incurred because of the unfair labor practice)
This new development is a win for the employee because now if an employer violates the NLRA, the employer will have to pay the employee for all damages caused and to make him or her whole. If you believe you have a claim under the NLRA, seek legal advice immediately as these claims are subject to a six-month deadline from the adverse employment action to file an unfair labor practice with the NLRB. At Sass Law Firm, the attorneys represent employees in unfair labor practices before the NLRB and work hard to get relief for our clients.