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On Feb. 6, 2024, ABC and the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace sent a letter to two congressional committees urging them to use their oversight authority to rein in the National Labor Relations Board and its general counsel for creating significant tension between federal antidiscrimination law and federal labor law. The letter was sent in light of a recent supplemental decision in the Services LLC v. Gerald Bryson case, in which the NLRB held that Amazon illegally fired a worker who was verbally attacking a co-worker while on strike.  

The CDW argues that the NLRB is deliberately creating conflicts between federal antidiscrimination and labor laws, trapping employers in an impossible position with regard to compliance and potentially exposing workers to harassment and discrimination in the workplace. The letter, addressed to the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee and U.S. House of Representatives Education and the Workforce Committee, emphasizes that union organizers and supporters can advocate and organize without creating hostile work environments for other workers.

“The NLRB and its general counsel are putting employers into an impossible situation,” said Kristen Swearingen, CDW chair and ABC vice president of political & legislative affairs, in a news release. “Due to their efforts to protect union organizers and unionization campaigns at all costs, they’re demanding employers tolerate ‘profane, vulgar, racist, and otherwise insulting language’ in the workplace despite the clear conflict this would create with employers’ legal obligation to create a safe workplace for their workers.

“Employers must be able to act when discrimination or harassment occur in the workplace in order to protect their workers, but the Board and its general counsel are recklessly ignoring that reality,” said Swearingen. “Congress should demand answers from the Board and general counsel on why they’re pursuing this illogical interpretation of the law and exposing employees to dangerous work environments.”