Employer On Hook for $315k for Not Knowing Basic Labor Laws

A Dallas, Texas plastic surgery center had to pay $315,000 to settle charges that it unlawfully fired two employees and then sued one of them after she sought help from the National Labor Relations Board.

Specifically, the employer fired a medical technologist for discussing bonuses with other employees. This is “employer bonehead mistake #1.” For some reason companies just don’t know that employees are allowed to discuss wages, bonuses, and other terms and conditions of their employment with each other.

The employer fired another employee, for defending the medical technologist and for engaging in other activity protected by the National Labor Relations Act. Both employees filed charges with the National Labor Relations Board.

While their charges were pending with the NLRB, the company’s attorney sued one of the employees in court alleging she was negligent and had breached her fiduciary duties. This is “non-labor lawyer bonehead mistake #1.” As I expected, the Board found this lawsuit retaliatory.

In the end, the employer had to pay the two employees back pay, had to cover the employees’ legal fees, and agreed to inform current and former employees of their rights to join, form, or assist labor unions at their workplace.

Matt Austin is a Columbus, Ohio employment lawyer who owns Austin Legal, LLC, a boutique law firm with offices in central and northeast Ohio that limits its representation to employers dealing with labor, employment, and OSHA matters. You can email Matt at Austin@LaborEmploymentOSHA.com or call him at 614.285.5342.