Bass, Berry & Sims attorney Michael Moschel discussed the significance of the appeals court decision in MikLin Enterprises Inc. v. National Labor Relations Board regarding protected concerted activity for employees. In the case, the court upheld an earlier NLRB decision that found MikLin Enterprises violated sections of the National Labor Relations Act by terminating and disciplining employees who participated in protected concerted activity, as well as encouraging other workers to badger union supporters via social media. Unease between MikLin Enterprises, which owns and operates 10 Jimmy John's sandwich restaurant franchises, and employees attempting to unionize dates back to 2007 when a group attempted to organize employees at the 10 franchises. Michael explains that the 8th Circuit upheld the NLRB decision for two primary reasons: first, "the discipline was one incident that was part of a larger employer/union dispute over organizing and collective bargaining." Secondly, Jimmy John's had recently been the subject of media reports concerning customers who had been sickened from the norovirus. "Thus, the 'protected' speech was addressing a recent public health scare and was not simply a private matter between the company and its workers," added Michael.
The full article, "Caution Around Concerted Activities," was published by Human Resource Executive/HREOnline on May 25, 2016, and is available online.