H. R. 2311
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
June 11, 2013
Mr. Grayson introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Education and the Workforce
To protect employees from retaliation in the workplace based on actions taken to protest or try to improve working conditions.
This Act may be cited as the
In this Act—
the term employer means any entity that—
employs employees; and
whose annual gross revenue when added to the annual gross revenue of its parent corporation and all of its affiliated corporations exceeds $5,000,000 (exclusive of excise taxes at the retail level that are separately stated);
the term employee means the common-law employees of an employer;
the term parent corporation means any corporation that owns or controls at least 51 percent of the voting shares or other equity in the employer or an affiliated corporation; and
the term affiliated corporation means any corporation that shares a common parent corporation with an employer.
Prohibition on retaliation against employees
No employer, or any of its agents, may discharge or cause to be discharged or in any other manner discriminate against or take or threaten any adverse action, including changes in working assignments or conditions, any employee because the employee—
disseminated any message on the employer's property or elsewhere, including through images, handbilling, picketing, work stoppages, or gathering in groups to protest conflicts with employers or to help persuade employers to change working conditions, provided the employees do not have a representative for the purpose of collective bargaining and the employee's actions—
were not taken during work time, except during a lawful work stoppage;
were peaceful; and
did not destroy or damage property of the employer or block entrances or exits of the employer or otherwise impede the operations of the employer or the work of other employees; or
planned any of the actions described in paragraph (1), or assisted, encouraged, or supported another employee in engaging in any such actions.
Presumption of unlawful acts
Any adverse action described in section 3, levied against an employee engaging in lawful actions within 90 days of the date of the employee's activity, shall be presumed unlawful and may only be rebutted by clear and convincing evidence proving adverse actions were taken for lawful reasons.
Private right of action
Any employee who believes that he or she has been discharged, disciplined, or otherwise discriminated against by an employer or any of its agents, whether the agent was operating within the scope of employment or without, in violation of section 3 (or any class of such employees) may bring an action in a court of competent jurisdiction against either the employer or the offending agent, in an individual capacity, for any of the following:
to enjoin such violation;
to recover any pay, backpay, damages, or other amounts as settlement, plus an amount equal to three times the amount of such backpay and damages and reasonable attorneys' fees and expenses; or
to recover civil penalties of $1,000 per violation, per affected employee, per day.
An action brought under subsection (a) may not be brought later than 3 years after the affected employee knows or should have known of the violation.
Restriction on employer of an employee found to be in violation of this Act
No employer may provide for an employee's defense, backpay, damages, or settlement if that employee is found to be in violation of section 3 of this Act.
Rule of construction
This Act shall be liberally construed to effectuate its purposes. If any court finds any provision or application of this Act to be invalid or inoperative, in whole or in part, the remaining provisions of this Act shall remain in effect.
This Act shall take effect 30 days after the date of enactment of this Act.