On December 15, 2022, the National Labor Relations Board held that employers who interrogate employees when defending an unfair labor practice complaint must first provide what are known as Johnnie’s Poultry warnings.
This Miranda type warning must be given prior to any questioning and must: “communicate to the employee the purpose of the questioning, assure him that no reprisal will take place, and obtain his participation on a voluntary basis; the questioning must occur in a context-free from employer hostility to union organization and must not be itself coercive in nature; and the questions must not exceed the necessities of the legitimate purpose by prying into other union matters, eliciting information concerning an employee’s subjective state of mind, or otherwise interfering with the statutory rights of employees.” See Johnnie’s Poultry Co, 146 N.L.R.B. 770, 775 (N.L.R.B. 1964).
The Board’s decision re-enforces the interrogation standard that employers must follow when questioning employees about an unfair labor practice complaint and recognizes that failure to strictly follow these safeguards is a violation of the law. The Board specifically rejected court decisions that held that the Board lacked the statutory authority to make an employer automatically liable if they do not inform employees of all the Johnnie Poultry warnings. It reasoned that its holding promotes the National Labor Relations Act by balancing an employer’s interest in defending an unfair labor practice complaint and an employee’s right not to be subjected to intimidation, restraint, and coercion when exercising their rights under the NLRA.
Employees now have more protection under the National Labor Relations Act in light of this decision and the decision issued by the Board earlier this week expanding allowable damages for an unfair labor practice. See our latest Blog: Recent Development- NLRB Expands Recoverable Damages for Unfair Labor Practices. 2022 has been a good year for employees’ rights under the National Labor Relations Act.
If you believe your employees’ rights have been violated, do not delay in seeking out an employment attorney, like those at Sass Law Firm, who have experience in the National Labor Relations Act as well as other workers’ rights under federal and state law.