A Limited Definition of Concerted Activity

By Daniel Saeedi, Rachel L. Schaller

Apr. 1, 2019

Alstate Maintenance LLC staffs Kennedy International Airport with tipped baggage handlers.

Two managers from Lufthansa asked a group of Alstate skycaps to assist a VIP soccer team with their baggage. A skycap stated to his Alstate manager, in front of others, “We did a similar job a year prior and we didn’t receive a tip for it.”

The skycaps initially refused to help with the baggage but ended up pitching in. Alstate terminated the skycap. An unfair labor practice was filed alleging Alstate terminated the skycap for engaging in concerted activity. The National Labor Relations Act provides employees the right to engage in “concerted activities” for purposes of their “mutual aid or protection.”

Protection for engaging in concerted activity extends to all employees. In a 3-1 vote, the NLRB held the termination did not violate the NLRA and adopted a more limited definition of “concerted activity.”

In finding the skycap’s comment was not concerted activity, the NLRB held concerted activity must involve “bring[ing] a truly group complaint regarding a workplace issue to management’s attention. … [I]ndividual griping does not qualify as concerted activity solely because it is carried out in the presence of other employees and a supervisor and includes the use of the first-person plural pronoun.”

Alstate Maintenance LLC, 367 NLRB No. 68 (2019).

IMPACT: All social media and other communication-related employment policies should recognize no adverse employment actions will be taken against employees for engaging in concerted activity.

Also in Legal Briefings: Public Sector Employers and Age Discrimination


blog workforce

We build robust scheduling & attendance software for businesses with 500+ frontline workers. With custom BI reporting and demand-driven scheduling, we help our customers reduce labor spend and increase profitability across their business. It's as simple as that.

Book a call
See the software

Related Articles

workforce blog


Minimum Wage by State in 2022 – All You Need to Know

Summary The federal minimum wage rate is $7.25, but the rate is higher in 30 states, along with Washing...

federal law, minimum wage, pay rates, state law, wage law compliance

workforce blog


California’s push for a 32-hour workweek explained, and how to prepare

Summary: California is considering a 32-hour workweek bill for businesses with over 500 staff 4 day wee...

32 hour workweek, 4 day workweek, california, legislature, overtime

workforce blog


A business owner’s guide to restaurant tipping law

Business owners in the restaurant industry are in a unique position when it comes to employee tips. As ...

restaurants, tip laws, tipping