Quite a few news reports discuss recent employee walkouts across the country in protest of new federal policies, such as the recent “Day Without Immigrants” protests.
Employers are obviously concerned about how these protests might affect their business operations and what they should do. In some news reports, employers showed support for employees who choose to protest. But in other reports, employers found that the protest activity was cause for disciplinary action.
The situation can be tough to navigate.
If an employee doesn’t show up at all or walks out in the middle of a shift, this will certainly create a mess for employers, the customers they are trying to serve and the work that needs to get done. Employers want to be able to ensure productivity and maintain attendance policies.
Despite these legitimate concerns, employers should exercise caution before taking disciplinary action against an employee who fails to show up to work because of a protest. In some, but not all, circumstances, the employee’s behavior may be legally protected.
If you have concerns that employee walkouts will disrupt your ability to operate, the best course of action is to seek advice of counsel.
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