Women working the overnight shift at a plastics manufacturing plant discussed concerns about a new supervisor, who they later learned was a registered sex offender. They asked for a group meeting with Human Relations officials, but were instead called into individual meetings and disciplined. One employee was fired; others were demoted. Following an NLRB investigation, the employer settled the case by agreeing to restore all employees to their former positions with full backpay.
Soon after the supervisor started working the third shift at the Evco Plastics manufacturing plant, a group of female employees expressed concerns to each other about his aggressive attitude and preferential treatment of one of their co-workers. When an Internet search by one of the employees uncovered that the supervisor had a criminal history and was a registered sex offender, the women requested a group meeting with HR to talk about their concerns with the supervisor’s behavior and actions, which also included inappropriately touching some employees at work.
Instead, each employee was called individually into a meeting with management, with the offending supervisor present. The women were questioned about what they knew, who they heard it from, and who they had talked to about it. Based on what was said in these meetings, the employer issued written warnings to the employees, demoted two of them, reassigned one to a different shift, and terminated another -- all for having talked about the supervisor with each other.
Five of the employees filed charges with the NLRB Milwaukee Regional Office. Following an investigation, the regional director determined that the employees had engaged in protected activities and there was reasonable cause to believe they had been unlawfully interrogated about and retaliated against because of these activities.
After the NLRB notified Evco Plastics that a complaint would issue, the company settled the case by providing full backpay to all affected employees, eliminating written warnings from their records, and offering to return the employees to their former positions.