NLRB General Counsel Continues Push for Extraordinary Remedies

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On June 23, 2022, National Labor Relations Board General Counsel Jennifer Abruzzo released Memorandum GC 22-06, relating to her efforts “to secure full remedies” in settlements with the Board.  This follows on her prior memorandum of September 2021, in which she urged the Board’s regional attorneys to pursue aggressively a broad range of remedies in adjudicating unfair labor practices.

In her most recent memorandum, the general counsel cites the “excellent job” the regions have done in pressing for an expansive range of remedies in settlements.  She cites as examples a litany of extended damages her office has obtained, including:

  • Reimbursing fees for late car loan payments and late rent
  • Payment of monthly interest on the loan an employee took out to cover living expenses
  • The cost of baby formula due to the loss of a workplace breast pumping station
  • The cost of a retrofitting an employee’s car to make it usable in a new job
  • Having senior officials of the charged party read aloud the notice of settlement (or having a Board agent read the notice in the presence of those officials) and creating a video of the reading, to be distributed to employees at multiple facilities
  • Mailing the notice to all employees employed at any time within the previous year
  • Posting an Explanation of Employee Rights poster at the facility
  • Issuing letters of apology to reinstated employees
  • Training supervisors, managers and employees on employee rights under the National Labor Relations Act (“Act”)
  • Notification of employees’ right to talk about wage rates with coworkers to all those hired during the six months following execution of the agreement
  • Requiring that job application forms and recruitment ads include a statement of employee rights
  • Permitting union use of employer bulletin boards
  • Providing employee contact information to the union
  • Instituting bargaining schedules and bargaining progress reports
  • The employer’s paying the union’s bargaining costs during period of employer bad faith bargaining

Abruzzo’s memorandum indicates that the Board has not adopted some of the remedies that her office purports to have the authority to demand from employers, including training managers and supervisors.  She also notes that if an employer allegedly defaults on a settlement, the region should generally ask the Board to order the full remedies sought in the complaint originally, but sometimes it would better effectuate the purposes of the Act to seek the remedies in the settlement agreement.  The GC cites, for example, where an employee has waived reinstatement in exchange for front pay or where the Board has not adopted the particular remedy, as noted above.

The general counsel’s memorandum makes clear that her office will continue to press for aggressive, and at times untested, remedies in unfair labor practice cases.  Union and non-union employers should keep a close eye on developments in this evolving area of the law.

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