Starbucks cannot fire a union activist employee who cursed at a manager in front of customers, the National Labor Relations Board has ruled for the second time.
Joseph Agins was active in trying to unionize four Manhattan Starbucks coffee shops between 2004 and 2007. According to the NLRB ruling, he twice cursed during arguments with managers.
The NLRB initially ruled that Agins was engaging in protected activity on Nov. 21, 2005, and his conduct in the confrontation was not bad enough to override those protections.
But the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the board "improperly disregarded the entirely legitimate concern of an employer not to tolerate employee outbursts containing obscenities in the presence of customers," rather than on a factory floor or in a backroom office. It sent the case back to the board.Hoping the board has become wiser in the interim?
In the new ruling, a three-member panel representing the full NLBR [sic] relied on a different precent [sic], which says a company cannot fire an employee if the firing was motivated in part by union activity and the company does not prove it would have fired the employee even without the union activity.Because capital is evil. Everyone knows that, just ask Thomas Piketty.