By: Bruce Buchanan, Sebelist Buchanan Law PLLC

The Division of Advice for the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) reviewed the actions of EZ Industrial Solutions, LLC in relation to their employees’ participation in the “Day Without Immigrants” national protest on February 16, 2017 and EZ’s response - threatening to suspend employees on February 15, 2017, thereafter discharging eighteen employees on February 17 in retaliation for their support of the “Day Without Immigrants” national protest, and threatening to report discharged employees to “immigration services.” The Division of Advice concluded both actions were in violation of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). In this article, I will focus on the threat related to immigration.

After EZ fired employees for engaging in the national protest and filed a charge with the NLRB, its Assistant Manager had breakfast with one of the discharged employees. The Assistant Manager inquired about the employees’ charge, the identification of the lawyer helping them, and where they went for help. The employee did not respond. The Assistant Manager then advised the employee that the owners of EZ had good lawyers and that “they wanted the employees to go to court so they could throw them out by immigration.” The employee responded that the owners were bad for wanting to hurt the employees in that way.

The Division of Advice concluded the Assistant Manager’s threat regarding the employees’ immigration status in response to their charge filed with the NLRB violated Section 8(a)(4) of the NLRA. “Preserving and protecting access to the Board is a fundamental goal of the Act, as reflected in Section 8(a)(4).” The Assistant Manager’s explicit warning that the employees were placing their immigration status in jeopardy if they took EZ to court violated Section 8(a)(4) because such a blatant threat about deportation would dramatically affect the employees’ willingness to continue to seek protection under the NLRA.

After the Division of Advice’s decision, EZ agreed to settle the matter with the NLRB. This is the second recent NLRB case where labor law and immigration law have interacted. Thus, when determining immigration compliance issues, it’s helpful to seek the input of your labor and employment attorney.