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Workers advocacy groups have called for a national “Day Without Immigrants,” encouraging immigrant employees to skip their work day or walk out on their shifts as a broad-based protest to the Trump administration’s immigration policies. Advocacy groups supporting the walk out have encouraged employees to walk out on Friday, February 17. How should employers’ respond to unscheduled absent employees tomorrow?

It is important for employers to keep the National Labor Relations Act regulations at the forefront of their planning. If an employee’s absence is based on a broad based, governmental action, it is unlikely that the employee’s action is protected. If an employee’s absence is a protest of his/her specific working conditions and/or the business situation of the employee is largely dependent on employing immigrants in some way, then it would be more likely that the National Labor Relations Act would protect the employee’s actions. Overall, employers should carefully and consistently apply their attendance policies, with a careful eye on the NLRA protections offered employees. Union organized businesses should, as well, consult their collective bargaining agreements for no strike/no protest language that will guide actions. Finally, as this area is fact and situational specific, we encourage employers to discuss these labor questions with their labor relations/employment counsel. For more information or assistance with questions, please contact Ashlie Kuehn at ashliekuehn@hessemartone.com.