Must an employer reinstate an employee returning from a strike?

Author: Jed L. Marcus, Bressler, Amery & Ross, P.C.

It depends. The answer depends on the nature of the strike and whether the employer has hired a replacement. In the event of an economic strike, that is, a strike triggered because the employees are unhappy with the employer's contract offer, an employer may hire permanent replacements. Permanent replacements need not be let go at the end of the strike. A striker may be recalled only when an opening become available.

Where the strike is an unfair labor strike, that is, a strike triggered by an employer's unfair labor practices, or where the employer locks out the employees, the employer may hire only temporary replacements. When the strike is over, the replacements must be released and the strikers returned to their jobs.