Key Points

  • When a union files an unfair labor practice charge against an employer, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) will commence an investigation into the alleged violation. One of the first things the NLRB agent will do is directly contact the employer unless the agent has been informed that the employer is represented by counsel. It is highly advisable that legal counsel be retained upon receipt of an unfair labor practice charge since the employer will be required to provide the NLRB with a detailed position statement and information regarding potential witnesses at this early stage.
  • An employer will be asked for its cooperation in the scheduling of witnesses and furnishing of all relevant documents. The NLRB agent will also seek meetings with witnesses to take confidential affidavit testimony. An employer may refuse to cooperate with the NLRB but such a decision should be made after close consultation with legal counsel.
  • An employer and union will be urged to reach a mutually satisfactory settlement in the form of non-board adjustments, informal settlements and formal settlements. If the parties are unable to reach a settlement or the union refuses to withdraw the charge, the NLRB director may issue a complaint against the employer and the case will proceed to trial before an NLRB Administrative Law Judge.

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