Unfair labor practices are laid out in the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) and concern a set of unlawful actions that employers and labor unions can be prosecuted for.

Refusing to bargain or hear arguments from a labor union, for instance, is an unlawful action for an employer to take against his or her employees.

National Labor Relations Act 

Section eight of the National Labor Relations Act delineates unfair labor practices that employers or labor unions sometimes engage in.

If, for instance, an employer attempts to disrupt the forming or administration of a labor union, then that employer might open himself up to investigation by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), which enforces the National Labor Relations Act and protects workers’ rights.

Unlawful Employer Actions 

If an employer discriminates or blocks an employee from filing a charge to the National Labor Relations Board, then that would constitute an unfair labor practice.

A very common unlawful labor practice that is routinely investigated by the National Labor Relations Board concerns an employer outright refusing to negotiate with a labor union that legally represents a cadre of employees.

An employer preventing his or her employees from engaging in collective bargaining or activities that result in mutual aid for the employees are prohibited under section eight of the National Labor Relations Act.

Taking away the employees right not to participate in labor unions is also an unfair labor practice under the National Labor Relations Act. Of course, the same goes for an employer promising job termination or loss of benefits should an employee join or extend his vote for a labor union.

Unlawful Actions by Labor Unions 

The National Labor Relations Act bars labor unions from engaging in some types of secondary boycotts, paying exorbitant dues to join the union, or featherbedding.

Featherbedding refers to “make work” programs in which an employer hires more people than is absolutely necessary to carry out a job.

The National Labor Relations Act also bars hot-cargo agreement – i.e., agreements that essentially blackball an employer that doesn’t work with unions.

Hiring agreements run by employers that require employees join a labor union before gaining or continuing employment constitutes an unfair labor practice.

Even if the employer doesn’t actually restrain his employees from participating in labor unions, the employer might be acting unlawfully if his actions are reasonably intended to create barriers for employees joining or voting for labor unions.

Filing Charges and Legal Remedies 

When employers are found guilty of engaging in one or more unfair labor practice, the National Labor Relations Board may step in and force the employer to stop his unlawful actions.

Monetary compensation could come into play if an employee is injured as a direct result of an employer’s unfair labor practices.

Compensation for lost wages or even reinstatement might be possible outcomes for an employee who successfully files a case with the National Labor Relations Board.

In an interesting wrinkle to how section eight of the National Labor Relations Act is legislated and enforced an employer will typically not be forced to compensate an employee for payments that s/he would have made if s/he had continued earning a normal salary.

Missed mortgage payments or loan repayments, for instance, that resulted from losing a job or a few week’s pay following an unfair labor practice do not have to be repaid by the guilty employer.

If found guilty by the National Labor Relations Board, an employer might have to post a note to other employees informing them of the unfair labor practice.

If you’re in need of a lawyer for legal support because of unfair labor practices, consider retaining the help of RegularLink member Scott Dallas.