Responding to Employee “Strikes”

MSEC has received several calls from members regarding employee “strikes” planned for this week, next week, and for various future dates. These planned work absences purport to further the interests of immigrants, women, and other groups.

In some cases, strike participation could find protection under the National Labor Relations Act. However, because the Trump administration is the apparent target of these strikes, and not particular employers, most of the planned call-offs will likely not fall within the definition of protected conduct. Nonetheless, members need not make that determination themselves, as MSEC labor attorneys are available for consultation.

In the event of a strike or unusual number of call-outs due to “sickness,” members should apply their attendance and call-out procedures uniformly, requesting doctors’ notes and insisting on notification prior to the beginning of shifts in accordance with handbooks and other policies.

Employers who learn of employees’ undocumented status as a result of strike participation may have constructive knowledge giving rise to certain obligations under the Immigration and Nationality Act. Should such a situation arise, please contact MSEC for instructions.

Members should strongly consider contacting MSEC before imposing discipline, particularly when there are questions regarding whether particular conduct is protected or whether attendance, time off, or other policies have been enforced consistently.