Unfair Labor Practice Charges

An employer, a union or an individual can file unfair labor practice charges with the Board’s regional office for the region in which the unfair labor practice has occurred. The charging party must file and serve its charge within six months after the unfair labor practice occurs.

All charges filed with the regional office are investigated to determine whether there’s reasonable cause to believe the NLRA has been violated. The Board and/or its agents may:

  • Examine and copy “any evidence of any person being investigated or proceeded against that relates to any matter under investigation or in question.”
  • Issue subpoenas on the application of any party to the proceeding requiring the attendance and testimony of witnesses or the production of any evidence.
  • Administer oaths and affirmations, examine witnesses and receive evidence.
  • Obtain a court order to compel the production of evidence or the giving of testimony.

If the regional director determines that the charge lacks merit, it will be dismissed unless the charging party decides to withdraw the charge. A dismissal may be appealed to the General Counsel’s office in Washington, D.C.

If the regional director finds reasonable cause to believe a violation of the NLRA was committed, the director will seek a voluntary settlement to remedy the alleged violations. If these settlement efforts fail, a formal complaint is issued and the case goes to hearing before an NLRB administrative law judge (ALJ). The ALJ issues a written decision, which may be appealed to the NLRB for a final agency determination. That final determination is subject to review in the federal circuit courts of appeals.

Section 8(a) of the NLRA lists the unfair labor practices of employers and section 8(b) lists those of labor organizations. Section 8(e) lists an unfair labor practice that can be committed only by an employer and a labor organization acting together. You can find all references to sections of the NLRA at 29 U.S.C. sections 157-160.