Labor Lawyers in Texas
Texas Labor lawyers understand the challenges of Texas workplaces and how labor law can protect Texas employees from poor work environments. Under the National Labor Relations Act most private employees have the right to work together to improve work conditions or join a union. Employees in Texas have these rights even though Texas is a “right to work” state. Employers may not interfere with the right to participate in a union, petition co-workers to join a union, or the right of employees to cooperate to improve their conditions without joining a formal union. (Visit this page to learn more about what is labor law and how does it differ from employment law.)
When employers violate employee rights under the NLRB, employees are entitled to remedies under the law. Reaching these remedies can be challenging. They often involve administrative as well as judicial processes as well as complex federal law. Working with a Texas labor lawyer and employment lawyer can help navigate this legal maze.
Labor law in formal unions and informal cooperation between workers
When people think about labor law they often think about unions and collective bargaining agreements. This is for good reason. Most labor law issues involve unions and their collective bargaining agreements. That includes:
- Union elections
- Negotiating collective bargaining agreements
However, labor law also applies to informal efforts of employees to work together to improve workplace conditions and the terms of employment. That includes:
- Presenting requests to management to improve physical conditions in the workplace
- Clarifying work duties
- Asking for raises
- Changing work responsibilities
- Requesting benefits
An informal group of employees engaged in concerted activity can seek the same employee rights and compensation as a formal union.
Your right to unionize your workplace in Texas
Federal law protects your rights to join or form a union in your workplace. You have the right to bring an established union to your workplace through an election. That includes the right to advertise the union and solicit support from your co-workers. Your employer can limit certain activities in the workplace to prevent disrupting work but cannot completely eliminate any discussion of union activity or interfere with your solicitation or support for the union. Your employer is allowed to speak negatively about the union and state its position that it believes a union would not help the employees.
However, your employer cannot state outright or imply that bringing a union into the workplace would result in losing jobs or firing people to scare them from voting for union representation.
Right to cooperate to improve your job in Texas
In addition to supporting or joining an established union you also have the right to discuss work conditions with your co-workers and take steps collectively to improve work conditions and terms of employment, such as scheduling, pay, benefits and job duties. Your employer may not take any negative action against you or your job for discussing your job and work conditions with your co-workers. Your rights are protected away from work and online through social media.
Employers sometimes feel they have better odds terminating or otherwise retaliating against employees who work together but do not involve a union. A common thought is if a few employees have started working together it will only be a matter of time before other employees join or somebody contacts a union. So the employer will try to stop your efforts right from the start. This is not legal.
What does a labor attorney do? Remedies when employers violate these rights in Texas
If your employer interferes with these rights you are entitled to certain remedies under the law. You can obtain court orders and administrative orders that order your employer to respect your rights. If your employer takes severe action that affects your pay or benefits, especially in the case of termination, you have the right to request reinstatement to your job or compensation for lost pay and benefits.
Labor law violations often require filing complaints with your union and/or the National Labor Relations Board. Depending upon the specific problems you face there may be other agencies that require filing complaints. You may also have claims to take to court. Sorting out the right processes for your claims can be complicated.
If you believe your employer violated your labor law rights then you should contact an attorney right away. Many labor and employment law issues require you to complete specific acts in a limited time to pursue claims. Talk to an employment law attorney in your area right away. The sooner you contact a law firm skilled in these areas of law the less likely you will miss out on opportunities to defend your job due to procedural limitations.