An appellate court ruled in favor of employee claims under the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”) and against MikLin Enterprises, Inc. doing business as Jimmy John’s (“Jimmy John’s”). The ruling came after a group of employees who put up posters were fired “for being the leaders and the developers” of the posters. The posters were placed in general public areas both in stores and in other public places within two blocks of the store. The posters suggested that, because Jimmy John’s employers were not permitted paid sick leave, the customers eating at those restaurants risked becoming sick from food prepared by sick employees. The National Labor Relations Board held that Jimmy John’s violated the NLRA by firing or disciplining employees who engaged in protected concerted activity and for removing protected material from public places and bulletin boards, among other violations. The Eighth Circuit ruled that the Board’s decisions were supported by substantial evidence and granted the Board’s application for enforcement and denied Jimmy John’s petition for review. See MikLin Enterprises, Inc. v. NLRB, No. 14-3099 (8th Cir. 2016).
The National Labor Relations Act protects workers from being fired or disciplined for discussing or complaining about work conditions with fellow employees. Although the Act generally governs union activities or efforts to form a union, Section 7 of the Act applies to non-union work places as well. It provides: "Employees shall have the right . . . to engage in other concerted activities for the purpose of collective bargaining or other mutual aid or protection."