Labor lawyer Adam Kielich understands the challenges of Dallas and Fort Worth workplaces and how labor law can protect Texas employees from poor work environments. Under the National Labor Relations Act most private employees have the right to work together to improve work conditions or join a union. Employees in Texas have these rights even though Texas is a “right to work” state. Employers may not interfere with the right to participate in a union, petition co-workers to join a union, or the right of employees to cooperate to improve their conditions without joining a formal union.
When employers violate employee rights under the NLRB, employees are entitled to remedies under the law. Reaching these remedies can be challenging. They often involve administrative as well as judicial processes as well as complex federal law. Working with Fort Worth and Dallas labor lawyer and employment attorney Adam Kielich can help navigate this legal maze.
What is labor law?
Labor law generally includes laws that relate to unionization, union activity and other concerted activities by employees in the workplace. Labor law mostly applies to the National Labor Relations Act and the Railway Labor Act. Two federal laws that apply in Texas. Many people refer to all labor and employment law as labor law. The distinction is not really important to the practice of labor or employment law. Both labor law and employment law deal with the employer-employee relationship albeit in a different way. It does not really matter whether you think a claim under the National Labor Relations Act is labor or employment law but it can be helpful to understand the distinction commonly made by attorneys, judges and legal documents.
Difference between employment law and labor law
The key difference between employment law and labor law is the component of the employer-employee relationship addressed by each. Employment law, such as wrongful termination, sex discrimination and overtime pay, address workplace situations between individual employees and the employer. The wrongful termination of one employee or the employment discrimination suffered by one employee. Sometimes these claims are handled in a class action; but the class action is a grouping of individual wrongful acts by the employer.
Labor law, on the other hand, deals with the employees as a group and the group’s relationship to the employer. For example, rather than an individual employee asking for a raise, labor law looks at instances where a group of employees seek a raise for the entire group. The group of employees might be a formal union, the entire workforce, or just a small group of workers. No matter the size of the group, labor law protects the right of workers to cooperate to improve their jobs.
Labor law in formal unions and informal cooperation between workers
When people think about labor law they often think about unions and collective bargaining agreements. This is for good reason. Most labor law issues involve unions and their collective bargaining agreeements. That includes union elections, grievances, negotiating collective bargaining agreements, strikes and so forth. Congress enacted the National Labor Relations Act primarily with formal unions in mind. However, labor law also applies to informal efforts of employees to work together to improve workplace conditions and the terms of employment. That includes presenting requests to management to improve physical conditions in the workplace, clarify work duties, ask for raises, etc. Almost anything a formal union would do could apply to an informal group of employees working together.
Your right to unionize your workplace in Dallas and Fort Worth
Federal law protects your rights to join or form a union in your workplace. You have the right to bring an established union to your workplace through an election. That includes the right to advertise the union and solicit support from your co-workers. Your employer can limit certain activities in the workplace to prevent disrupting work but cannot completely eliminate any discussion of union activity or interfere with your solicitation or support for the union. Your employer is allowed to speak negatively about the union and state its position that it believes a union would not help the employees.
However, your employer cannot state outright or imply that bringing a union into the workplace would result in losing jobs or firing people to scare them from voting for union representation. When employers violate your protected right to unionize the workplace in Dallas or Fort Worth you should contact Dallas labor lawyer Adam Kielich right away to discuss your rights and remedies.
Right to cooperate to improve your job in Fort Worth and Dallas
In addition to supporting or joining an established union you also have the right to discuss work conditions with your co-workers and take steps collectively to improve work conditions and terms of employment, such as scheduling, pay, benefits and job duties. Your employer may not take any negative action against you or your job for discussing your job and work conditions with your co-workers. For example, that means your employer may not take corrective action or fire you for sharing your pay rate with co-workers. Your right to discuss work conditions with co-workers is not limited to the employer’s business location. Your rights are protected away from work and online through social media.
Employers sometimes feel they have better odds terminating or otherwise retaliating against employees who work together but do not involve a union. A common thought is if a few employees have started working together it will only be a matter of time before other employees join or somebody contacts a union. So the employer will try to stop your efforts right from the start. This is not legal. If this happens to you then you should contact Fort Worth and Dallas labor lawyer Adam Kielich and The Kielich Law Firm to discuss your rights and how to best protect your job.
Remedies when employers violate these rights in Texas
If your employer interferes with these rights you are entitled to certain remedies under the law. You can obtain court orders and administrative orders that order your employer to respect your rights. If your employer takes severe action that affects your pay or benefits, especially in the case of termination, you have the right to request reinstatement to your job or compensation for lost pay and benefits. Labor law violations often require filing complaints with your union and/or the National Labor Relations Board. Depending upon the specific problems you face there may be other agencies that require filing complaints. You may also have claims to take to court. Sorting out the right processes for your claims can be complicated. Working with an attorney familiar with both labor and employment law like Adam Kielich can help make that process easier.
Labor Arbitration in Dallas and Fort Worth
Dallas labor lawyer Adam Kielich and The Kielich Law Firm can also represent you in a labor arbitration under a union contract in a grievance or wrongful termination claim. For more information about arbitration, visit the arbitration & mediation page.
How Fort Worth and Dallas Labor Lawyer Adam Kielich and The Kielich Law Firm can help
If your employer violated your protected rights to work together with your co-workers to improve your work conditions, you have options available to protect your job and compensation. Fort Worth and Dallas labor lawyer Adam Kielich can represent you in protecting these rights. Contact my office today to discuss your case.