Often times, the same set of underlying facts will give rise to both a contractual dispute between an employer and a union and an unfair labor practice charge. In these instances, an arbitrator usually decides the contract dispute, while it is the National Labor Relations Board’s responsibility to determine the merit of the alleged unfair labor practice.
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Less than two months ago, on July 29, 2014, the National Labor Relations (NLRB) made an announcement that it intends to hold franchisors legally responsible for unfair labor practices committed by its franchisees.  A recent Fifth Circuit opinion follows this trend by potentially expanding the number of discrimination and harassment suits corporate parent franchisors may face for discrimination and harassment committed by franchisees. EEOC v. Simbaki, Ltd.

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In October 2010, the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) raised the eyebrows of employers and observers when its Hartford, Connecticut Regional Office issued an unfair labor practice complaint against an employer after it allegedly terminated an employee for posting unflattering statements about her supervisor on Facebook.  The NLRB and the company settled the complaint in February 2011, on condition that the company revise its rules so they do not improperly restrict employees from discussing their wages, hours and working conditions with coworkers and others while not at work.  The employer also agreed that it would not discipline or discharge employees for engaging in such discussions.

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