A Dallas plastic surgery center has agreed to pay $315,000 to settle charges that it unlawfully fired two employees and then sued one of them in state court after she sought help from the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).
According to the NLRB, Advanced Facial Plastic Surgery Center fired a medical technologist for discussing bonuses with other center employees. Under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), employees have the right to discuss wages and other terms and conditions of employment with their co-workers.
The medical technologist filed a charge with the NLRB office in Fort Worth. After investigating the matter, the board issued a complaint and scheduled a trial before an administrative law judge.
The medical practice subsequently axed another employee, a surgical consultant who had defended her co-workers in a meeting and engaged in other NLRA-protected activity. She, too, filed an NLRB charge, and the board issued a second complaint. Then it consolidated the two cases.
While the employees’ charges were pending, the center’s attorney filed a lawsuit in state court naming the surgical consultant as a defendant and alleging that she had been negligent and breached fiduciary duties. The NLRB later deemed that lawsuit baseless, unsupported in law and retaliatory.
The case went to trial, but in a face-saving move, the parties settled before the judge handed down a decision.
Under the agreement, the center agreed to drop its retaliatory state lawsuit and lift its unlawful ban on wage discussions among center employees.
The two employees will receive back pay and have their legal costs covered. The center also agreed to inform current and former employees of their rights in the workplace.