NLRB Wants Former Employers to Pay for Job Search Expenses of Former Employees

National Labor Relations Board General Counsel Richard Griffin instructed NLRB Regional Offices to request employees be reimbursed for job search costs and work-related expenses they incur due to violations of the National Labor Relations Act. This order modified a 2011 order by then acting-general counsel Lafe Solomon.

Solomon wrote that the Board’s practice was to consider such amounts payable only to the extent they did not exceed the “interim earning” an employee managed to earn after an unlawful discharge or loss of employment. Under that practice, if an individual did not have interim earnings, the NLRB would not seek payment for expenses on behalf of the individual. Solomon instructed Regional Offices to calculate “search-for-work and work-related expenses” for such employees and to charge them against the offending company “regardless of whether the discriminate received interim earnings during the period.”

So assuming a grocery store in Ohio unlawfully discharged an employee, and that employee applied for a job at a grocery store in Hawaii and traveled to Hawaii for an interview, would the Ohio grocery store be required to reimburse the employee for his Hawaiian vacation job interview? And, would it matter if the applicant vacationer turned down a job offer? Or, if he purposefully bombed the interview so he wouldn’t receive a job offer? This rule, like so many from the Board recently, leave us with so many unanswered questions.

Matt Austin is a lawyer based in the Columbus, Ohio office of Roetzel & Andress, LPA who limits his practice to representing employers dealing with labor, employment, and OSHA matters. You can call Matt at (614) 723-2010 or email him at maustin@ralaw.com.

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