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Walkout By Workers to Protest Firing of Supervisor Not Protected Activity
Description Appeals court reversed finding of NLRB that a walkout by most workers at a restaurant in protest of a popular manager being fired was a protected concerted activity. Dismissal of supervisory personnel is almost always a managerial decision not subject to concerted activity by employees.
Topic Labor Law
Key Words Protected Concerted Activity
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts Gorrell, an assistant manager popular with employees, was fired at the beginning of an evening shift at the restaurant where she worked. Most employees then walked off the job in protest of her dismissal. Until police arrived to disband the employees under threat of arrest, they stood in front of the restaurant, telling customers to go elsewhere. The restaurant was left a mess during one of its peak times. The employees, who asked to return, were told that they had quit by walking off the job, and were not allowed to return. Employees filed an unfair labor practice charge with the NLRB. It held that the employees were engaged in protected concerted activity and ordered the restaurant to rehire the workers, cover any of their losses, and erase any negative entries from their personnel records. Restaurant appealed.
Decision Reversed. "Although the line between an employer's business practices and its employment practices can be difficult to draw, it is generally accepted that the hiring and firing of supervisory personnel is a managerial action unrelated to the terms and conditions of the work of non-supervisory employees." "In summary, we reject the Board's contention that concerted activities can take any form and reassert the approach adopted by the majority of the courts which have confronted the issue...."
Citation Bob Evans Farms, Inc. v. NLRB, --F.3d-- (1998 WL 877671, 7th Cir.)

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