What is considered protected concerted activity under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA)?

Author: Melissa Gonzalez Boyce, XpertHR Legal Editor

Under Section 7 of the NLRA, union and non-union employees are permitted to engage in protected concerted activity - efforts by employees to improve working conditions and terms of employment even when no union activity or collective bargaining is involved. To be considered protected under the NLRA, the activity by two or more employees (or one employee acting on behalf of a group) must be engaged in for employees' mutual aid or protection, such as activity to improve working conditions or to bring truly group complaints to the attention of management or the National Labor Relations Board. Activities considered protected under the NLRA include discussions about working conditions and wages between co-workers, wearing of union insignia and filing of grievances about work issues.

If the employee(s) engages in reckless or malicious behavior such as threatening or engaging in violence, sabotaging work equipment or lying about a product, an otherwise protected activity may lose its protected status.