Retaliation after filing a charge against your employer

You have the right to join with coworkers to address conditions at work.

If you believe your rights have been violated by your employer, you should contact the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) as soon as possible. You will be able to speak with an NLRB agent and ask about possible violations. Your employer won’t be told about your inquiries. If you choose, you may file an unfair labor practice charge saying that your employer violated your rights, or the rights of other workers. An organization or friend/relative can also file a charge on your behalf. There is no cost to file an unfair labor practice charge, and you don’t need a lawyer. After a charge is filed, a copy of the charge is sent to the employer.

It is illegal for your employer to retaliate against you for filing charges or participating in an NLRB investigation or proceeding. Your employer may not discharge or otherwise discriminate against you for:

  • announcing an intent to file a charge,
  • providing information or giving sworn statements to a Board agent investigating a charge,
  • refusing to disclose the identity of a charge-filing coworker,
  • talking to coworkers about future testimony, or
  • refusing to testify voluntarily on their behalf.
In response to union organizing an employer can't...

We’re here to help.

The NLRB is a Federal agency that protects your right to join together with other employees to improve your wages and working conditions, with or without the help of a union. For assistance, please call:

1-844-762-NLRB (1-844-762-6572)

Spanish assistance is available.

Callers who are deaf or hard of hearing who wish to speak to an NLRB representative should send an email to An NLRB representative will email the requestor with instructions on how to schedule a relay service call.

Additionally, you may not be discharged or otherwise discriminated against because your employer suspects or believes, correctly or not, that you filed or were about to file a charge.

You have the same rights as all covered employees under the National Labor Relations Act regardless of your immigration status, including protection against retaliation. This includes retaliation based on your immigration status, such as threats to call immigration authorities. NLRB staff will not ask about your immigration status to prove violations of the National Labor Relations Act.

Additional resources

Need more information?
The elaws (Employment Laws Assistance for Workers and Small Businesses) Advisors are a set of online tools developed by the U.S. Department of Labor to help employees and employers understand their rights and responsibilities under Federal employment laws.