NLRB puts new handcuffs on restaurants

A Burger King franchisee cannot prohibit employees from coming on the premises when they’re not working because the policy violates the staffers’ legal protections to push for unionization, the National Labor Relations Board ruled Monday.

The Board also decided that the 22-unit Michigan franchisee had violated federal law by prohibiting a team member from loudly complaining during a staff meeting about her wages, hours and working conditions. Those complaints can be aired anywhere in the restaurant, including the dining room.

The operator, EYM King of Michigan, was expressly directed to allow employees to make false statements or distribute false information about the business if the staffer doesn’t know content is erroneous.

The NLRB judge also ruled that intentionally mis-assembling food items wasn’t sufficient cause to send an angry kitchen worker home.

In all, the NLRB issued 11 cease-and-desist directives to EYM.

The decision by Administrative Law Judge Arthur Amchan was the latest action by the NLRB to be viewed as a ground-shaker by the business community and restaurants in particular. The agency recently decided that a Jimmy John’s franchisee couldn’t stop employees from posting notices directed at customers that the food was bad because of the low wages and morale-eating working conditions.

It also issued a decision to McDonald’s that the franchisor was a co-employer of all franchisees’ staffs, making it subject to lawsuits filed by the people on a franchise restaurant’s payroll.

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