Unlawful Interrogations Under the National Labor Relations Act.


A recent case reminds employers of the importance of complying with the strict requirements regarding employee interviews in the context of defending against an unfair labor practice (ULP) charge.

Under the National Labor Relations Act, an employee’s right to engage in concerted activities regarding the terms and conditions of employment is protected, and a ULP charge may be filed when such rights have allegedly been violated. Under the well-established guidelines set forth in Johnnie’s Poultry Co., when interviewing an employee about protected activity in preparation for a ULP hearing before the National Labor Relations Board, “the employer must communicate to the employee the purpose of the questioning, assure him that no reprisal will take place, and obtain his participation on a voluntary basis.”

In the present case, Tschiggfrie Properties, Ltd., the employer interviewed an employee twice about a union campaign and his union-related conversation with another employee. In both interviews, the employer failed to provide the employee with assurances against reprisal, and it failed to inform him during the second interview that his participation was voluntary. Thus, the Board determined that the employer had violated the Act.