Certain rights exist to employees under federal and state law that for the purpose of improving work conditions through seeking union representation. This is often known as “concerted activity” and the law protects employees against retaliation by employers who engage in such acts.
The federal law, the National Labor Relations Act of 1935, 29 U.S.C. §151, et seq., guarantees basic rights of private sector employees to organize into trade unions, engage in collective bargaining for better terms and conditions at work, and take collective action including striking if necessary.
The State of Florida has a comparable state law under Chapter 447 of the Florida Statutes. It should also be noted that Florida, under its Constitution’s Article I, Section 6, states:
The right of persons to work shall not be denied or abridged on account of membership or non-membership in any labor union or labor organization. The right of employees, by and through a labor organization, to bargain collectively shall not be denied or abridged. Public employees shall not have the right to strike.
Generally, when two or more employees act together to improve their terms and conditions of employment there is protected concerted activity. However, on rare occasions, it is possible for conduct to be so egregious, or so disruptive to the employer’s operations, that it may be unprotected. In certain situations, employees have a right to advocate regarding terms and conditions of employment even where there is no union involved and may seek to form a union. Sometimes this involves employee conversations off site, such as through social media, for which protection may also exist against retaliation.
At Wilson McCoy, P.A. we have experience in handling cases on behalf of employees, including analyzing whether protected concerted activity has occurred. If you would like to know more about your rights in your particular circumstance as a public sector employee, please contact us at 407-803-5400 or [email protected], for an analysis of your situation and to schedule a consultation.