It is illegal for a private-sector employer to prohibit employees from discussing or taking action together regarding their wages, benefits, or working conditions under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). For example, workers who were fired for:

· discussing their salary with other employees
· circulating a petition protesting a new pay system
· taking cell phone photos to document the employer’s perceived unfair enforcement of a dress code

were ordered reinstated with back pay after they filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

Most recently the NLRB has begun to consider whether communications on Facebook about work related matters are protected activity under the law. Whether such protection exists depends on whether the activity is “concerted” — the employee is acting or communicating with other employees (at least one other) — and that the activity or discussion relates to the terms or conditions of their employment.

Many employees are unaware of the protection they have under this law. To address this, the NLRB issued a rule this year requiring that private employers post a notice at the workplace explaining employee rights under the NLRA. The notice must be posted no later than January 31, 2012. The poster can be viewed at

If you believe you have been terminated or disciplined for discussion or activity with others related to your employment or that your employer has a work rule that violates these NLRA protections, Hawks Quindel attorneys can review the facts of your case and provide you with guidance regarding your rights under the NLRA or other relevant state and federal law.

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Barbara Zack Quindel