Job loss takes an incredible toll on a person. It takes time to find a new job – especially when someone had no intention to leave their current role. During this time, individuals can incur sizable fees, penalties and costs they cannot cover without a paycheck.
Employers who wrongfully terminate workers for unionizing should be liable for covering these expenses, according to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).
More relief for wronged workers
The agency ruled that it can now seek additional fees and penalties from companies that terminate workers for unionizing or labor activism.
According to the new ruling, some of the costs for which companies can be liable after wrongful discharge of an employee include:
- Health care costs
- Lost housing
- Lost cars
- Child care costs
- Immigration-related costs
- Certain legal fees
- Lost investment income
These represent the considerable expenses individuals can take on after being fired, demoted or otherwise penalized. And when that employment action is wrongful, employers should be responsible for covering them.
Financial repercussions of retaliation
Too often, companies will fire workers for engaging in unionization efforts. However, this is illegal, and companies face legal consequences for wrongful termination and retaliation.
Employers are already responsible for covering costs associated with reinstatement and lost wages for the employee. However, labor activists argue that these expenses represent a fraction of what it takes to actually make a person whole after retaliation. And they are little more than a “slap on the wrist” for employers.
With the recent ruling, employers will face higher penalties, and employees will recover more for financial harm stemming from an illegal termination.
Protecting protected activity
Workers have rights protecting them from employer retaliation when they engage in certain activities, including:
- Requesting an accommodation
- Rejecting sexual advancements
- Reporting discrimination or harassment
- Making a claim for workers’ compensation
- Being involved in union organizing campaigns
Unfortunately, the fear of job loss or financial damages is a primary reason behind people’s hesitation to engage in these protected activities. After all, employers might still fire a worker, even if it’s illegal to do so.
Should this happen, employees can take legal action. Doing so can stop wrongdoing, punish an employer and get workers the financial relief they deserve.