New York -- The U.S. National Labor Relations Board has filed a formal complaint charging that Wal-Mart Stores violated labor laws in 14 states by taking action against striking and protesting workers.
The NLRB said the retailer illegally fired, disciplined or threatened more than 60 employees in 14 states for participating in legally protected activities to complain about wages and working conditions.
A complaint issued by the NLRB's general counsel's office said Wal-Mart representatives appeared on national news broadcasts and threatened to retaliate against workers if they went on strike. It also alleged they disciplined and fired workers for engaging in legally protected protest activity.
The complaint involves more than 60 employees, 19 of whom were allegedly fire as a result of their participation in the protests. Sixty-three Wal-Mart supervisors and one corporate officer are named in the board’s complaint.
"We believe that our actions were valid. We take our obligations very seriously. We look forward to sharing our side of the facts in these cases with a judge," said Brooke Buchanan, a spokeswoman for chain in an Associated Press report.
Wal-Mart has until Jan. 28 to respond to the complaint. The case will then go before an administrative law judge. If Wal-Mart is found liable, it could be required to award workers back pay, reinstatement and reverse any disciplinary action. The retailer could also try to work out a settlement as the case goes forward.