- Employers offered to reinstate more than 6,000 workers to resolve National Labor Relations Board charges in fiscal year 2021, the agency announced Nov. 1. It also obtained $56.8 million from businesses, mostly in back pay.
- The numbers represent "a dramatic increase" from the previous year; in 2020, NLRB obtained $39.3 million and was responsible for 978 reinstatement offers, according to the Board.
- "Workers should know they have the right to act collectively to improve their workplace conditions," said General Counsel Jennifer Abruzzo in a statement, "and the NLRB will forcefully defend their right to do so by seeking full make-whole remedies for them."
The Board enforces the National Labor Relations Act, which protects workers from retaliation based on protected concerted activity.
Such activities can include traditional organization efforts but protections also can, under certain circumstances, extend to any collective effort to improve working conditions, such as discussing pay or encouraging co-workers to speak up about safety concerns.
Importantly, the NLRA applies even at non-unionized workplaces, and the Board actively enforces its requirements against such employers. The agency doesn’t have the authority to assess penalties, but it can "seek make-whole remedies, such as reinstatement, backpay, and consequential damages for discharged workers," it explained in a statement. "Recently, the General Counsel issued a memorandum to all Regions advising them to seek a variety of remedies to ensure that victims of unlawful conduct under the National Labor Relations Act are truly made whole for losses they have suffered."
To remain off the Board's radar, experts previously told HR Dive employers should keep up with agency positions and create a strong, positive work culture. It also can be helpful to invite the discussion of — and quickly address — any employee concerns.