All workers need to understand that they are protected against workplace retaliation. This includes retaliation for taking part in union activity. It is against the law for an employer to take steps to retaliate against an employee just because of participation in a union. If an employee has been wrongfully retaliated against for union activity, he or she is protected under the National Labor Relations Act, NRLA, and may file a claim or may take legal action against the employer.
Laws Protecting Against Retaliation
Pennsylvania is an employment-at-will state. This means that employers and employees generally have the right to terminate employment for no reason. Still, there are some laws that provide protection for employees if they are wrongly retaliated against in the workplace.
The Pennsylvania Labor Relations Act, PLRA, is in place to encourage resolutions between private sector employers and employees involved in collective bargaining agreements. The Public Employee Relations Act, PERA, extends to the public sector. These relations are governed by the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board.
In situations in which state laws do not apply, the National Labor Relations Act, NLRA, is in place to keep employers from terminating or otherwise retaliating against employees who participate in union activities. Employee rights are also upheld by Pennsylvania common law. Through the years some important cases have been decided that provide a legal basis for protection of employees from retaliation by employers.
How to Take Action
If you were retaliated against by your employer for taking part in union activities, there are a couple of ways you can take action.
- File a Claim Under PLRA, PERA or NLRA: Employers cannot take discriminatory actions against an employee for joining a union, participating in union meetings, becoming a union leader, negotiating a contract, or picketing. Employees who have been discriminated against can file a claim with the state or federal agencies.
- File a Wrongful Termination Lawsuit: Another option may be to file a lawsuit against the employer. In order to bring a claim, the employee must meet criteria. You must have been an employee and have been discharged from employment or have a right or privilege of employment removed. The ability to file a lawsuit depends on the type of union activity and other circumstances surrounding the situation.
How an Employment Attorney Will Help
As a union employee, your employer cannot take some types of actions against you simply for your participation. You are protected against wrongful termination and other discriminatory actions. The laws pertaining to retaliation in union activity in Pennsylvania can be complex. An experienced employment attorney will evaluate your case, answer your questions and determine the best options that are available.
You may be entitled to a resolution that could include reinstatement, payment of back pay, and removal of related items from your employee file. You may also be able to collect punitive damages that were incurred as a result of your wrongful termination.
If you were terminated due to participation in union activity you may have a legal case. Contact our skilled legal team at HKM Employment Lawyers Attorneys, LLP to discuss your case today.