NLRB expands relief for wrongly fired workers

The National Labor Relations Board ruled Thursday that a Colorado-based supermarket chain must fully compensate workers found to have been unlawfully terminated.

In its 3-1 decision, the board said King Soopers's back pay policy was inadequate. The board said the company, which is owned by Kroger, should have to compensate employees they’ve discriminated against for union activities. That compensation should include the expenses they incur while searching for work or taking a temporary job.

ADVERTISEMENT

NLRB expects companies to mitigate losses for unlawful discharges, but they have never before required employers to compensate employees for the expenses they incur while searching for work.

Labor advocates hailed the board's decision, saying it will greatly expand the type of monetary relief a worker found to be unlawfully terminated can recover.

“This is entirely new ground in the 81-year history of the National Labor Relations Act,” Mark Neuberger, an attorney in Foley & Lardner’s labor and employment practice, said in statement. “Previously all an employee could recover was the pay they would have earned had they not been fired minus any interim earnings.” 

Now, Neuberger said employees can claim all sorts of job search expenses, including travel, relocation and training expenses.

“Employers will have to wait and see if the appellate courts can pull the board back into the corral,” he added.