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NLRB: Starbucks can't fire cursing, pro-union worker
Seattle Post-Intelligencer ^ | 6/17/2014 | AUBREY COHEN

Posted on 06/18/2014 4:03:28 AM PDT by markomalley

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 first time, on May 14, 2005, Agins was angry that an assistant manager did not come to help him right away when the shop got busy. When the manager did come to help, Agins said it was "about damn time," noisily shoved a blender in the sink, said "this is (BS)" and told the manager to "do everything your damn self." Agins was suspended for several days and Starbucks wrote a warning, which Agins said he never received.

Then, on Nov. 21, Agins and several other employees came to the shop while off duty to protest a prohibition on wearing union pins while at work. While there, an off-duty assistant manager from another Starbucks asked Agins about the protest in a way that an NLRB judge deemed was "meant to be confrontational."

Agins believed the assistant manager had previously made derogatory remarks to Agins' father about the father's support for the union. The confrontation escalated, and Agins told the assistant manager: "You can go ... yourself, if you want to ... me up, go ahead, I'm here."

The assistant manager on duty (the same one Agins had cursed at before) admonished Agins, but did not call the police or ask him to leave. On Dec. 12, Starbucks fired Agins, saying he "was insubordinate and threatened the store manager" while also mentioning his union support.

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.

In the new ruling, a three-member panel representing the full NLBR relied on a different precent, 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.

The panel said Starbucks treated other employees more leniently for "similar or worse misconduct" in the presence of customers, and noted there was no evidence that the off-duty assistant manager who provoked Agins received any discipline for the incident. It added that Starbucks could not even say who decided to fire Agins and "presented an exaggerated version of Agins' actions on Nov. 21," and noted that the NLRB judge in the case credited Agins' testimony that he never received a warning regarding the May 14 incident (meaning it couldn't be considered in evaluating the firing).

The board ordered Starbucks to offer Agins his old job or a substantially equivalent position, compensate him for any loss of earnings and other benefits, and remove from its files any references to the unlawful firing.

Responding to the ruling Tuesday Starbucks spokesman Zack Hutson said: "We've received the board's decision and we're evaluating it to determine next steps. We aim to create a welcoming environment in our stores, and we do not tolerate partners cursing in the presence of customers, whether or not they are affiliated with a union"


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Extended News; Government
KEYWORDS: nlrb; starbucks; unions
So now an employer cannot fire an employee for disrespect, insubordination, or laziness. Gotta love it. /sarc
1 posted on 06/18/2014 4:03:28 AM PDT by markomalley
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To: markomalley

Starbucks should appeal this ridiculous decision to the courts; the problem with the NLRB is that it is stacked with pro-union types and “professors” who never did a real day’s work in their life, nor had to deal with anyone working for them.


2 posted on 06/18/2014 4:09:01 AM PDT by laconic
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To: markomalley

> So now an employer cannot fire an employee for disrespect, insubordination, or laziness. Gotta love it. /sarc

You know the patients run the asylum in Obamaland. Common sense, justice, honor, integrity....they don’t exist there.


3 posted on 06/18/2014 4:09:06 AM PDT by jsanders2001
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To: markomalley
Leaving aside the fact that this is not a legitimate NLRB due to the President's illegal appointment, what would you expect a government entity founded at the behest of unions to protect unions to do?

It's a kangaroo court for any employer.

4 posted on 06/18/2014 4:09:07 AM PDT by wideawake
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To: markomalley

The day that the government or some damn union tells me that I can’t fire an employee is the day that I shut the business down completely.

Wyatt’s Torch. It glows so lovely in the night.


5 posted on 06/18/2014 4:09:31 AM PDT by LegendHasIt
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To: markomalley

Fantasy thought: Maybe the customers should fire this idiot and refuse to be “served” by him. In the real world, Starbucks customers probably would applaud his actions.


6 posted on 06/18/2014 4:11:01 AM PDT by Truth29
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To: markomalley

I’m an employer. I’d tell the NLRB to go pound sand. I determine who works in my business, not them. I’ve fired employees for insubordination. The NLRB does not write the paycheck...the employer does.


7 posted on 06/18/2014 4:11:12 AM PDT by Tudorfly
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To: markomalley

I bet someone in every work place in the country has said those words at some point. Big deal!!


8 posted on 06/18/2014 4:13:17 AM PDT by Sacajaweau
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To: LegendHasIt
I was a scab. I had three little kids and the money was needed. But it wasn't even that. May dad told me how unions work. Only the big boys were protected.

And when the dudes where I worked smiled at their raises, so did I because I got the same raise. I called them idiots for paying the big, fat union guys who in actuality were only advisory...and weren't the ones who signed the paycheck.

9 posted on 06/18/2014 4:18:09 AM PDT by Sacajaweau
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To: Tudorfly

amen


10 posted on 06/18/2014 4:19:05 AM PDT by Skooz (Gabba Gabba we accept you we accept you one of us Gabba Gabba we accept you we accept you one of us)
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To: wideawake

‘zackly.


11 posted on 06/18/2014 4:26:06 AM PDT by Eric in the Ozarks (Rip it out by the roots.)
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To: markomalley

Can we respond to law enforcement like this now?


12 posted on 06/18/2014 4:28:53 AM PDT by MeneMeneTekelUpharsin (Freedom is the freedom to discipline yourself so others don't have to do it for you.)
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To: laconic

I bet senior management at Starbucks were big supporters of Obama and more generally left-wing rats. Well Obama and the left are big supporters of organized labor and a unionized work environment. So Starbucks management the NLRB made a decision, Suck it up! Live with it; this is the work environment you have supported for years.


13 posted on 06/18/2014 4:29:48 AM PDT by Maine Mariner
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To: Maine Mariner

I also believe that they were supporters of Obama.


14 posted on 06/18/2014 4:30:55 AM PDT by sport
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To: markomalley
We are fast approaching the stage of the ultimate inversion: the stage where the government is free to do anything it pleases, while the citizens may act only by permission; which is the stage of the darkest periods of human history, the stage of rule by brute force."

Ayn Rand....

15 posted on 06/18/2014 4:40:42 AM PDT by unread (Rescind the 17th. Amendment...bring the power BACK to the states...!)
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To: wideawake
It's a kangaroo court for any employer.

Obamacare, with its capricious rules, and actions like this by the NLRB are some of the reasons businesses are so reluctant to hire additional employees.

16 posted on 06/18/2014 4:50:55 AM PDT by Flick Lives ("I can't believe it's not Fascism!")
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To: markomalley

Star*ucks?


17 posted on 06/18/2014 4:51:20 AM PDT by Wolfie
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To: markomalley

Write him up for every chicken sh—, non-union related misstep. Fill his file with dozens of infractions, none of which remotely relate to union activity. Then fire him.


18 posted on 06/18/2014 4:54:54 AM PDT by muir_redwoods (When I first read it, " Atlas Shrugged" was fiction)
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To: Tudorfly
I determine who works in my business, not them. I’ve fired employees for insubordination. The NLRB does not write the paycheck...the employer does.

The sad part is all Government agencies and employees believe that you only own and run your company at their pleasure.

The Government does not believe you really own anything nor do they think you have any rights or liberties. They think the money you earn is all theirs and they let you have some and that anything they want done as policy within your company is their right to command. They think you and every businessman is actually their slave and we all must do their bidding.

That is what we are up against. The Government is full-blown Communist, it is just couched in different terms and the Press is complicit, so we have very few on the side of our Founding Fathers and the Constitution.

19 posted on 06/18/2014 4:55:24 AM PDT by OldMissileer
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To: markomalley

Buck the NLRB and fire him..

Or if you want cut his hours back to 1 hour a week. at 4AM on a sunday. he can clean the bathrooms and scrub the dumpster.


20 posted on 06/18/2014 4:58:01 AM PDT by cableguymn (It's time for a second political party.)
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To: markomalley

They don’t condone partners cursing in the presence of customers? Partners? That’s what clerks are called now? A partner is an owner.


21 posted on 06/18/2014 5:04:23 AM PDT by FrdmLvr ("WE ARE ALL OSAMA, 0BAMA!" al-Qaeda terrorists who breached the American compound in Benghazi)
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To: markomalley

If the manager did not document it in official discipline papers at the time, it did not happen. I know because I have had about a dozen-and-a-half EEOC complaints lodged against me. I have never lost.


22 posted on 06/18/2014 5:09:44 AM PDT by jim_trent
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To: markomalley
On one level it's kinda funny....an uber liberal organization that defies the 2A, that supports libs, is now confronted with a challenge to its operations.

what if all SB employees started acting this way?

Comical, yet a sad reflection of the "change" that has come to Amerika.

23 posted on 06/18/2014 5:11:37 AM PDT by ealgeone (obama, borderof)
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To: muir_redwoods
Write him up for every chicken sh—, non-union related misstep. Fill his file with dozens of infractions, none of which remotely relate to union activity. Then fire him.

Businesses don't have idle people standing around with the time to do all this…..and they shouldn't have to.

24 posted on 06/18/2014 5:16:08 AM PDT by C. Edmund Wright (www.FireKarlRove.com NOW)
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To: ealgeone

yeah, in that way, like the Duke lacrosse case - liberal on liberal crime so to speak.


25 posted on 06/18/2014 5:16:48 AM PDT by C. Edmund Wright (www.FireKarlRove.com NOW)
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To: markomalley

Maybe, if Starbucks sends him to college..........


26 posted on 06/18/2014 5:20:14 AM PDT by Daveinyork
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To: C. Edmund Wright

Agreed but if you’re up against the NLRB and a politicized Dept. of Labor you have to take extraordinary measures.


27 posted on 06/18/2014 5:20:23 AM PDT by muir_redwoods (When I first read it, " Atlas Shrugged" was fiction)
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To: muir_redwoods

Well yes, I guess I never look at a story like this as a “what to do about THIS situation” story - to me, this is just ironically karmic and fraught with schadenfreude in the macro - a far left lib company being bitten on the ass by other far left libs.

They reap what they have sewn. Glad they’re stuck with the guy,


28 posted on 06/18/2014 5:27:08 AM PDT by C. Edmund Wright (www.FireKarlRove.com NOW)
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To: muir_redwoods

And then the record is going to be checked for what was done for everybody else... and you get slammed for “a pattern of anti union hostility.”

Maybe bribing him to go would be the best thing.


29 posted on 06/18/2014 5:36:59 AM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (Embrace the Lion of Judah and He will roar for you and teach you to roar too. See my page.)
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To: markomalley

Another reason to love and respect unions and the NLRB.


30 posted on 06/18/2014 5:41:25 AM PDT by Enten (I don't have islamophobia...I do have islamonausea)
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To: markomalley

I used to wonder why so much of our annual evaluations were based on playing well with others, until we did contract work for a government agency.

it was the war of all against all. No one wanted to be the chump who did work, so everyone did what they had to do to avoid it. Petty grudges and vendettas made the place run.

Worst of all, the worst of the worst were promoted out. I saw that twice.


31 posted on 06/18/2014 5:47:15 AM PDT by St_Thomas_Aquinas ( Isaiah 22:22, Matthew 16:19, Revelation 3:7)
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To: St_Thomas_Aquinas

I was briefly in the belly of such a “beast.” A state Medicaid office.

I was too eager... they looked for excuses and ultimately canned me. And they might have terrorized the guy who recommended they hire me because I have not been able to get a peep out of him since, even privately. Poor fellow, he wanted excellence... I was offering it. Nope, does not fly!


32 posted on 06/18/2014 5:51:36 AM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (Embrace the Lion of Judah and He will roar for you and teach you to roar too. See my page.)
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To: markomalley

If I ran that Starbucks, I would be cutting back employee hours. I wouldn’t fire the thug for union activity, for insubordination, for embarrassing the company in front of customers, or for any other reason. I’d simply cut back his hours to my peak hour each day - purely because I needed fewer workers. If he quit on his own, I’d be okay with that. If he did his job and scrubbed the restrooms to my satisfaction for his hour, I’d be okay with that too.


33 posted on 06/18/2014 6:01:42 AM PDT by Pollster1 ("Shall not be infringed" is unambiguous.)
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To: markomalley

Why is it that Union members are more often than not a mirror image of State Penitentiary members?


34 posted on 06/18/2014 6:03:57 AM PDT by Roman_War_Criminal (Bible Summary in a few verses: John 14:6, John 6:29, Romans 10:9-10)
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To: C. Edmund Wright
Well yes, I guess I never look at a story like this as a “what to do about THIS situation” story - to me, this is just ironically karmic and fraught with schadenfreude in the macro - a far left lib company being bitten on the ass by other far left libs.

They reap what they have sewn. Glad they’re stuck with the guy,

Excellent points.

35 posted on 06/18/2014 6:11:29 AM PDT by Col Freeper (FR: A smorgasbord of Conservative Mindfood - dig in and enjoy it!)
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To: FrdmLvr

The “partner” line struck me also. Who the heck is making up this new english vocabulary? My wife and my son are “partners” in our business. The other employees are employees. No more, no less. If they do a good job and we make money they get extra because they earned it.


36 posted on 06/18/2014 6:22:16 AM PDT by certrtwngnut
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To: cableguymn

You misspelled buck.


37 posted on 06/18/2014 6:24:08 AM PDT by certrtwngnut
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To: markomalley

Union or not (and I’ll take not every day of the week) any employee that acts like that can expect to be fired.


38 posted on 06/18/2014 6:25:35 AM PDT by ThunderSleeps (Stop obarma now! Stop the hussein - insane agenda!)
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To: markomalley

I used to wonder why so much of our annual evaluations were based on playing well with others, until we did contract work for a government agency.

it was the war of all against all. No one wanted to be the chump who did work, so everyone did what they had to do to avoid it. Petty grudges and vendettas made the place run.

Worst of all, the worst of the worst were promoted out. I saw that twice.


39 posted on 06/18/2014 6:33:26 AM PDT by St_Thomas_Aquinas ( Isaiah 22:22, Matthew 16:19, Revelation 3:7)
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To: Tudorfly

Put him on the schedule—split shifts, low hours, only the rush, and let him quit.


40 posted on 06/18/2014 6:38:04 AM PDT by Smokin' Joe (How often God must weep at humans' folly. Stand fast. God knows what He is doing.)
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To: Sacajaweau
And when the dudes where I worked smiled at their raises, so did I because I got the same raise. I called them idiots for paying the big, fat union guys who in actuality were only advisory

It's because of those 'idiots' that you received a pay raise...And then you mock them???

41 posted on 06/18/2014 6:50:13 AM PDT by Iscool
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To: FrdmLvr
A partner is an owner.

Yeah, right- like a "Peoples' Republic" is a free society, or a homosexual union is a marriage! Calling a thing by a name does not make it so.

42 posted on 06/18/2014 7:07:21 AM PDT by JimRed (Excise the cancer before it kills us; feed & water the Tree of Liberty! TERM LIMITS NOW & FOREVER!)
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To: markomalley

document, document, document.


43 posted on 06/18/2014 7:22:54 AM PDT by themidnightskulker
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To: certrtwngnut

ya.. shoulda started with an F.. darn keyboard..


44 posted on 06/18/2014 7:22:58 AM PDT by cableguymn (It's time for a second political party.)
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