Standing up for employee rights and working together with other employees can be a very beneficial process to be involved in. Being part of a union can help ensure that certain rights are protected and even restored if they were unlawfully taken away. The National Labor Relations Board or the NLRB help enforce the laws that protect the rights for employees to act together in an attempt to improve their pay and working conditions.
And while there are known rights for union members, this does not always prevent employees from being fired, suspended or penalized for taking part in the protected group activities of a union. However, the NLRB have drafted, passed and enforces the laws that ensure employees are not penalized for protected concerted activity.
Protective concerted activity is considered to be the lawful act of employees acting together. In order to determine if specific actions or gatherings are protected, certain details are assessed. First, the activity must be concerted. This means that two or more employees were acting together for the betterment of their work situation. A single person acting could be considered concerted if he or she is acting on behalf of others.
The activity must seek to benefit other employees. In other words, the improvements being sought must benefit more that just the employee or employees taking action. Additionally, the action cannot be a personal gripe because that is not a protected. Finally, the activity must be carried out in a proper way. If it is done in a reckless or malicious manner, this may cause the concerted activity to lose its protection.
A concerted activity can mean huge stride for employees and this action is protected for a reason. However, just because an employee or employees believe it is a protected activity, this does not always mean it will be deemed that way. Therefore, employees should take the time to carefully plan these activities, ensuring their protection remains.
Source: Nlrb.gov, "Protected Concerted Activity," accessed May 21, 2017