Immigration Rallies Planned

April, 2006

A nationwide boycott, including workplace walkouts, is being planned for May 1, 2006.  The boycott and walkout is intended to call attention to current immigration issues around the country.  Because this could have a significant impact on your workplace, proactive preparation in advance is recommended. 

Before taking action against employees for walking out, it is important to understand the risks involved.  First, the National Labor Relations Act allows employees to engage in concerted activities over the terms and conditions of employment.  Several employees who were discharged after attending similar rallies earlier in the year have filed charges with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).  It is unclear what the NLRB will decide in these cases.  Second, employees that are disciplined or discharged may also make discrimination claims based on race or national origin.

There are several things you can do in order to minimize your risk associated with planned walkouts: 

  • Consider a proactive approach by communicating with your employees before the planned walkout.  Reaffirm your commitment to equal employment opportunity and emphasize the importance of compliance with your attendance policy.
  • Review your vacation, sick, attendance, call-in, and leave policies and apply them consistently and as you would with any other planned or unplanned absence.
  • Prepare an action plan for business operations should employees walk out, such as bringing in temporary staff to cover shifts.
  • If an employee requests time off for participating in the rally, express your understanding of their desire to participate, and that you will grant time off in accordance with company policy.

While these types of rallies can and are often intended to cause a disruption in the workplace, proper preparation, including consistent policy enforcement and setting reasonable expectations, will help employers minimize risk.

For further information about immigration-related walkouts, contact Cascade.


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