- Ellen’s Stardust Diner has settled a lawsuit with the National Labor Relations Board after employees filed claims alleging unfair labor practices at the Manhattan-based eatery. Stardust Family United, a union representing the restaurant's servers, filed a lawsuit in September 2016. The employer settled the dispute a week before a hearing on the allegations was scheduled to proceed.
- The restaurant was charged with: illegally surveilling employees when they participated in protected concerted activities; interrogating employees about their protected concerted or union activities; interfering with employees' social media posts; disabling employee messaging; having an overly broad confidentiality policy; seeking employees' signatures to remove union representation; and firing 31 workers for engaging in protected concerted and union activities.
- In the settlement, the diner agreed to offer reinstatement and back pay to all fired employees and expunge the employee records of the alleged unlawful discharges.
The diner and its employees have been embroiled in conflict recently, including theft allegations that workers say were retaliation for a wage and hour lawsuit.
But regardless of other conflicts, employers must remember that the National Labor Relations Act protects workers' right to engage in concerted activity. The Board, which enforces that law, holds itself out as "an independent federal agency that protects employers and employees from unfair labor practices, and protects the right of private sector employees to join together, with or without a union, to improve wages, benefits and working conditions."
Employers may soon see a shift in some of the Board's legal interpretations, but the Act still prohibits employers from retaliating against workers who engage in activities protected by the law.