Q. We recently notified employees that we will be cutting pay due to difficult economic times. Then we received an anonymous letter expressing concerns about this decision. It suggested alternatives to pay cuts, such as eliminating our employer 401(k) match. We determined that the letter was written by one employee and edited by another. Can we terminate them?
A. If the employees are not managers, their letter writing likely would be considered concerted protected activity under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). Under Section 7 of the NLRA, nonmanagement employees are entitled to join together for the purpose of collective bargaining or other mutual aid or protection. Because the letter was written by more than one person and addressed terms and conditions of employment, it would be protected concerted activity and any action taken against the employees would be unlawful.
Megan L. Anderson is an attorney with Gray Plant Mooty’s Employment Law Practice Group in Minneapolis. Concentrating her practice in employment law counseling and litigation, she regularly advises employers and provides training on a variety of employment law issues. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or (612) 632-3004.