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ALJ Says Nursing Home Violated NLRA

A New Jersey nursing home has found itself in hot water due to its actions in handling an employee strike. Administrative law judge with the National Labor Relations Board, the Honorable Michael A. Rosas, sided with employees by saying that Alaris Health at Castle Hill ("Alaris Health") committed unfair labor practices by failing to reinstate workers who went on strike.

Under the National Labor Relations Act, employees that strike due to an employer's unfair labor practices can neither be fired nor permanently replaced, and when the strike ends, are to be reinstated in their positions. This is different from an "economic strike," where workers are seeking higher compensation or better working conditions. In an "economic strike" workers can be permanently replaced for marching on the picket line. Employees alleged that Alaris Health refused to negotiate with their union's bargaining committee, reduced the hours of employees that went on strike, and conducted surveillance of striking workers. In his February 3 decision, Judge Rosas found undisputed evidence that indicated the strike was due to unfair labor practices and not an economic strike. Judge Rosas also criticized the nursing home's surveillance of the strike because the employees were not "violent" or "unruly" in their picketing.

The case is far from being set in stone. If Alaris Health appeals, the case will move to the National Labor Relations Board for consideration. After an appeal to the National Labor Relations Board, there can be appeals made to Federal District Court, which makes the process of certifying a ruling a long and arduous legal process.

The legal team at SFMS has substantial experience litigating employment matters. If you have any questions regarding this subject or this posting, please contact Alec Berin ([email protected]) or Chiharu Sekino ([email protected]). We can also be reached toll-free at (866) 540-5505.

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