If I file charge with NLRB against former employer, an employer can retaliate against me?

Asked over 1 year ago - Lakewood, WA

I am about to file a charge with local NLRB,When I asked NLRB attorney if I would be protected against any type of retaliation?She read the handbook to me and said this
"It is illegal for an employer or union to retaliate against employees for filing charges or participating in NLRB investigations or proceedings."
It does not say if former employees are protected or not?
I am worried about lawsuit claiming that I damaged their business because I talked bad about them not only to my colleagues but also outside people.(These people were employees of the stores at which we were sent to do our work).
I talked bad about them 18 months ago, when they found out they did talk to me about that but not action was taken against me, now can they suddenly bring lawsuit because of NLRB charge?

Additional information

I have to clarify...I said I talked bad about them (english is no tmy first language) no...actually I asked one of the managers at big chain store out of curiosity as to why my former employer is allowed to send their emplyees to work in their stores even though that work can be done by store employees themselves.
I was just curious and I added in my opinion that store employees should do that work themselves as they are more familiar with their stores and policies compared third party companies/ employees.

Attorney answers (2)

  1. Benjamin T G Nivison

    Contributor Level 12

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    Answered . In addition to the things pointed out by my colleague's response, Washington law provides an additional safeguard against retaliation by lawsuit for a person's reporting to governmental agencies. Washington has an "Anti-SLAPP" law, which stands for Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation. If a person or entity sues in retaliation for a person engaging in protected speech -- which includes reporting to governmental agencies like the NLRB -- the sued person has specific remedies available under the law to get the case dismissed quickly, get an award of attorneys' fees and costs, and get an award of a $10,000 statutory penalty in his or her favor. Lawsuits for defamation (libel/slander) and tortious interference (hurting a business because of certain actions or speech) are most commonly the areas in which SLAPP litigation takes place.

    You should not be intimidated into not filing a good faith complaint with a governmental entity. Protections exist in the law for you if you do make that good faith complaint. If you have engaged in actual wrongful conduct, however, these protections will not eliminate possible liability for that conduct. That determination will hinge on the facts of what you said to whom, when, and where. Consulting with a lawyer can help you sort that out.

    The relevant provisions of Washington's Anti-SLAPP law are at RCW 4.24.500 - RCW 4.24.525. I've provided a link to the first of these laws below. You can click through the others at the top of the page that opens when you click on this link. I hope that this information is helpful to you. Good luck!

    Benjamin Nivison is an attorney licensed to practice law in Washington State. This communication does not create... more
  2. Jared N Hawkins

    Contributor Level 13

    2

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Keep in mind that retaliation in terms of employment usually constitutes taking a negative employment action against an employee because they have filed a complaint, complained of discrimination, etc. The law protects you from that type of improper retaliation. If, however, your former employer (FM) has a legitimate claim against you (for defaming them) that they could have brought against you 18 months ago there is nothing barring them from bringing a legitimate action against you now.

    Key principles are that its not retaliation if they are pursuing a legitimate claim; it is retaliation if the are taking an illegal action in response to a legitimate claim by you.

    Providing this general response does not create an attorney client relationship.

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