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NLRB Rules On Employee Insubordination:
​This comes from my friend and colleague Al Torrence. The NLRB recently ruled that an employer violated the National Labor Relations Act for firing an employee for a profane outburst during a disciplinary meeting. The Act protects employees who engage in protected activity such as discussing the terms and conditions of work. NLRB acknowledged that an employee can lose the protections of the Act if the activity is too egregious.
 
To determine whether the employee’s conduct is too egregious, the Board considers four factors: a) the place of the discussion; b) the subject matter of the discussion; c) the nature of the employee’s outburst; and d) whether the outburst was, in any way, provoked by the employer’s unfair labor practices.
 
The majority of the board found the outburst was protected speech because the outburst occurred in a closed-door meeting in a manager’s office away from other employees; the subject matter of the discussion concerned the employee’s compensation; and that the outburst was provoked by the employer’s labor practices. The unfair labor practice was the employer’s supervisor telling the employee to quit if he didn’t like the compensation policy. The majority also noted that the employee had never had a similar outburst. One member dissented. The dissent opined that the decision sanctions employees to engage in profane and insubordinate conduct towards management.
 
I personally represent employers faced with labor and employment law issues. Call today if I can be of assistance to you. Referrals are always appreciated.
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