A recent NLRB Board Decision is a reminder to employers that employees have a legal right to seek support from co-workers regarding workplace concerns. The case involved an employee who was disciplined (in her opinion unfairly) for violations of the employer’s dress code. The employee approached a co-worker to ask his advice about how to respond to the discipline. Shortly thereafter, the co-worker told HR about his conversation and complained that the employee was disrupting his work. HR then terminated the employee.
The Board found that the employee was discharged in violation of the NLRA because she was engaged in concerted activity when talking to her co-worker and that the employee’s discussion was for the purpose of mutual aid or protection because the employee was seeking a coworker’s advice on the best way to the address the employer’s discriminatory and arbitrary application of its dress code – a policy applicable to all employees. The fact that the co-worker did not share her concerns (and later complained about the conversation to management) was not dispositive.
The Decision is here: https://www.nlrb.gov/case/25-CA-132398