What Is Union Affiliation Discrimination?

Union affiliation discrimination is a form of bias when an employer discriminates against employees or job applicants based on their association with a labor union or their exercise of rights under labor laws. This type of discrimination can range from subtle biases during the hiring process to overt acts of retaliation against employees engaged in union activities.  

Common examples of union affiliation discrimination include:

  • Refusal to hire: Employers may unlawfully refuse to hire applicants because of their past or current affiliation with a labor union. This discrimination can occur during the application process or when employers consider promotions within the company.
  • Retaliation: Employees who engage in union activities, like organizing or participating in collective bargaining, may face retaliation from their employers. This retaliation can take different forms, including termination, demotion, or workplace harassment.
  • Unequal treatment: Employers may treat unionized employees differently from their non-unionized counterparts. This could involve assigning more burdensome tasks, denying benefits, or providing fewer opportunities for advancement.
  • Interference with rights: Employers may attempt to interfere with employees’ rights to organize, bargain collectively, or engage in other protected activities under labor laws. This interference could include threats, intimidation, or surveillance to discourage union participation.

Protection Against Union Affiliation Discrimination

Federal labor laws protect employees against union affiliation discrimination, ensuring that they can exercise their rights without fear of retaliation. The primary statute addressing this issue is the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), which safeguards employees’ rights to engage in concerted activities for mutual aid or protection.

Under the NLRA, employers are illegally prohibited from interfering with, restraining, or coercing employees into exercising their rights to organize and bargain collectively. This includes discrimination or retaliation based on union affiliation or participation in union activities. Additionally, the NLRA prohibits employers from dominating or interfering with the formation or administration of labor organizations.

Employees who believe they have been subjected to union affiliation discrimination can file unfair labor practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), the federal agency responsible for enforcing the NLRA. If the NLRB finds merit in the charges, it can take various actions. The NLRB can order the employer to cease and desist from discriminatory practices, reinstate unlawfully terminated employees, and provide back pay or other remedies.

What Steps Can Employers Take to Prevent Union Affiliation Discrimination?

Preventing union affiliation discrimination requires proactive measures by employers to foster workplace cultures that respect employees’ rights and promote fair treatment. Some strategies that employers can implement include:

  • Training sessions for managers and supervisors on labor laws can help raise awareness and ensure compliance.
  • Establishing clear policies prohibiting discrimination based on union affiliation and outlining consequences for violating them can deter unlawful behavior.
  • Encouraging open dialogue between management and employees can help address concerns and grievances before they escalate into legal actions. Employers should create channels for employees to voice their concerns without fear of retaliation.
  • Regularly reviewing employment practices and policies to promote compliance with labor laws and promptly addressing any allegations of discrimination or retaliation can minimize risks and foster a positive workplace environment.

Contact Our South Jersey Employment Lawyers at the Law Offices of Leo B. Dubler, III, LLC for Claims Related to Union Affiliation Discrimination

For experienced legal guidance and representation in matters related to union affiliation discrimination, contact our skilled South Jersey employment lawyers at the Law Offices of Leo B. Dubler, III, LLC. Call 856-235-7075 or submit our online form for a free consultation. Located in Mount Laurel and Atlantic City, New Jersey, we serve clients in South Jersey, including Cherry Hill, Burlington County, and Camden County.