Can You Fire An Employee for Anti-Union Statements ?
In Teamsters Local 726 v. Village of Glenwood, Ill. State Labor Relations Board General Counsel Op. S-CA-96-145, 13 PERI P 2023 (April 24, 1997), the discharged public works employee had been instrumental in organizing his coworkers and obtaining union representation for them.
During the organizing period, the public works director had made negative comments about unionizing but subsequently made comments that welcomed or were indifferent to the existence of a union.
The discharged employee also had been disciplined a number of times for various incidents of misconduct, some of which predated his union activity but others of which were contemporaneous with it.
Incidents for which he was disciplined included falsification of information regarding a punching-out requirement, plowing up sod while snowplowing streets, leaving a truck unattended overnight with the key in the ignition, and backing a truck into a pickup truck (causing $ 1,400 in damage).
He also was warned shortly before his termination that any further disciplinary problems would result in his dismissal.
The general counsel in Village of Glenwood found no prima facie case had been established.
She held that anti-union animus could not be inferred from any pattern of conduct, or from any shifting explanations or inconsistency in the reasons given for the discipline.
She asserted that the only circumstance from which an inference of animus could be drawn was the timing of the discipline, but added that coincidence of timing alone is insufficient to support such an inference.