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Labor board says Walmart violated employee rights

The National Labor Relations Board said that it is prepared to proceed with legal action against Walmart for violation of employees' rights. The NLRB's announcement came after the federal agency found merit in charges filed on behalf of Walmart employees at multiple stores in 14 states, not including Indiana. The charges claimed the retailer engaged in wrongful discharge and other retaliatory conduct against workers who engaged in legally protected protests, strikes and other concerted activity.

The specific charges against Walmart include claims that the retailer used national news broadcasts and employee communications to threaten workers with adverse employment actions if they participated in strikes and protests in connection with Black Friday sales on Nov. 22, 2012. The charges further allege that the retailer then made good on its threats by disciplining or discharging the employees who engaged in such strikes or protests.

The NLRB said that it will issue complaints against Walmart unless it reaches settlements with the impacted workers. In the meantime, the retailer came under more scrutiny this holiday season when it moved up its Black Friday sales to 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day, sparking calls for a new round of protests.

The National Labor Relations Act, which is enforced by the NLRB, makes it unlawful for an employer to retaliate against a worker who engages in protected, concerted activity, such as lawful strikes and protests. In order to succeed in a claim of unlawful retaliation, an employee must show that he or she engaged in the lawful activity and suffered adverse action as a result. In defending wrongful discharge cases, employers might claim that they took the adverse action for other, lawful reasons, requiring workers to proffer evidence that the employers' stated reasons were pretexts for unlawful retaliation. An employment law attorney might help the worker demonstrate the necessary facts to prove illegal conduct.

Source: Yahoo, "Wal-Mart violated employees' rights: government", November 18, 2013

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