National Labor Relations Board (NLRB)
The National Labor Relations Board ("NLRB") is a federal agency that seeks to protect employee's rights to organize and remedy unfair labor practices. The NLRB's power is derived from the National Labor Relations Act ("NLRA") 29 U.S.C. §§151-169 enacted by Congress in 1935.
One the main complaints I see filed with the NLRB are employee allegations of retaliation against employees who "organize" with other employees to discuss wages and employer practices, which is a violation of the NLRA.
NLRB cases are usually settled, with the NLRB agent acting as a pseudo-mediator. The process of these cases are as follows:
A case with the NLRB is called a Charge, which is usually filed by an employee against their employer. A Charge may be filed while the employee is still working or after their employment has ended.
The NLRB must first determine (1) Jurisdiction over the employer and (2) merit of the Charge. The NLRB begins by seeking financial information of the employer to determine if the employer engages in enough interstate commerce to be subject to the jurisdiction. At the same time, the agent will usually conduct informal interviews with the charging employee, any voluntary witnesses for the parties and management of the employer.
While the NLRB agent is doing the initial investigation he/she will advocate for settlement. Any settlement agreement must be done through or approved by the NLRB, unless the employee withdraws his/her Charge. The NLRB requires in every settlement agreement that an employer post in an area for all employees to see a notice regarding the Charge and the fact it was settled.
If the parties cannot settle the NLRB will finalize the Charge into a Complaint and set it for hearing. An employer must file a timely response.
A hearing is a trial before an administrative law judge. The parties will be able present evidence in the form of witnesses and documents.
The NLRB will issue a decision/ ruling that of either (1) dismissal, (2) remedial order or (3) other disposition back to the administrative judge for further action.
The NLRB Process, is a chart provided by the NLRB outlining its procedures in handling charges and complaints.
Be aware some laws award attorneys' fees to prevailing employees but not to prevailing employers. Consult with an attorney to understand the risks and stringent requirements employers are held to in employment and labor cases in California. I provide a free 15 minute consultation to assist you in figuring out your next defense steps.