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Have a Legal Question?
Employees have a legal right to fight for better working conditions. Indeed, that was the primary reason that unions were initially formed. Of course, you do not need to be a member of a union to have a right to make efforts to improve the conditions at your workplace. The National Labor Relations Act of 1935 gives all employees the rights to engage in ‘concerted activities’. Here, the experienced Chicago employment law attorneys at Goldman & Ehrlich discuss what concerted activities mean in the modern world.
Five Examples of Concerted Activities:
- Attempting to start a union
Employees have a legal right to attempt to form a union or to support general union activities in their workplace. An employer cannot in anyway threaten you or your job for your attempt to participate in labor organizing efforts.
- Circulating a petition for better workplace conditions
Beyond any type of unionization, employees also have a right to circulate petitions to their co-workers and discuss their overall working conditions. Employers cannot discipline an employee as a ‘troublemaker’ simply because they have complaints regarding their hours, their pay or their overall working conditions.
- Refusing to work in unsafe conditions
All employees have a right to refuse to work in dangerous or unsafe conditions provided that the condition would be considered unsafe by a reasonable person. If an employer attempts to force workers to put their health and safety at an unreasonable risk, legal action can and should be taken.
- Talking to government officials about workplace concerns
Workers can bring their complaints to local, state and federal government officials. The right to petition the government regarding workplace conditions can never be abridged by employers. Employers are forbidden from trying to control the political actions of workers.
- Talking to the media about workplace concerns
Workers also have a right to bring their complaints to the media, including making posts on social media. For example, if an employee makes a Facebook post complaining about unfair wages and benefits, their employer cannot take adverse action against them on the grounds that they are bad-mouthing the company. Employees have a right to make their voice heard on that issue.
The Bargain Employers and Employees Share
The NLRA puts legal obligations on both employers and employees. While employers cannot take any adverse action against workers on the grounds that they engaged in a protected concerted activity, employees cannot lie about their company. If a worker says something that is egregiously offensive, maliciously false or simply down talks their company on grounds that have nothing to do with labor rights, then that worker will lose their legal protections.
At Goldman & Ehrlich, our dedicated employment law attorneys have deep experience and a dual perspective. By representing both employers and employees, we have a full view of all the legal challenges you will face. For help with your case, please call us today at 312-332-6733. From our office in Chicago, we represent clients throughout Northern Illinois, including in Lake County and Dupage County.