Can My Company Fire Me for Trying to Unionize? By Gregory Thyberg on March 25, 2024

workers standing in a warehouseUnionization can give workers more power to negotiate better benefits and higher wages so it may come as no surprise that many employers don’t want their workers to form a union. When workers take steps to unionize, employers may retaliate by terminating employment. When it comes to firing employers for trying to unionize, the law is clear: workplace retaliation is illegal

At Thyberg Law, employment law attorney Gregory A. Thyberg fights for workers’ rights in workplace retaliation cases in SacramentoCA. If you believe you were fired for trying to unionize, contact Thyberg Law to discuss your legal options.

What Is Workplace Retaliation?

Workplace retaliation refers to an employer punishing an employee for participating in legally protected activity, including trying to unionize. 

Firing an employee for trying to unionize is considered workplace retaliation. Workplace retaliation may also include demotion, salary reduction, discipline, shift reassignment, job reassignment, verbal abuse, physical abuse, or other negative action. 

Unionization Is Protected by Law

Employees have the right to form and join unions under federal law. The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) gives employees the right to form unions, join unions, engage in organized activities to improve working conditions, or not to participate in these activities. 

Because the right to unionize is protected by the NLRA, firing an employee or retaliating against them in the workplace for trying to unionize is against the law. 

Who Is Protected by the National Labor Relations Act?

Most private sector employees are protected by the NLRA. Those who are not covered by the law include government employees, independent contractors, agricultural laborers, and some supervisors. 

What Should You Do if You’re Fired in Retaliation?

When someone has been fired in Sacramento after joining a union or trying to organize one, their termination may have been in retaliation. However, employers sometimes have a legitimate reason unrelated to the union activity for firing an employee so speaking with a supervisor or human resources department regarding the termination is an important step to take before pursuing legal action. 

If an employer’s reasons for the termination aren’t acceptable, it’s important to speak with an employment law attorney. An attorney can help determine whether there’s a strong case for wrongful termination related to union activities. 

An attorney can help resolve the matter through legal action which may include filing a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). The NLRB investigates complaints and will determine whether any labor laws were broken. If the NLRB determines your firing was in retaliation or other labor laws were broken, they may require your employer to reinstate your job or pay damages for your termination. 

Schedule a Consultation at Thyberg Law

If you believe you were fired from your job in retaliation for participating in union-related activities, you may be entitled to get your job back or compensation for lost wages and other damages. To discuss your claim and what legal remedies may be available to you, we welcome you to schedule a consultation at Thyberg Law in Sacramento. 

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Thyberg Law

Since 1981, Gregory A. Thyberg has been providing legal services to clients throughout Sacramento. With a focus on employment law, he can help you find a solution when facing discrimination, harassment, or other workplace injustices. Mr. Thyberg is affiliated with organizations like the:

  • California Bar Association
  • San Francisco Trial Lawyer’s Association

If you're experiencing unlawful discrimination in the workplace, request a consultation with Mr. Thyberg or call (916) 204-9173.

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