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Employees file retaliation complaint against candy store

Since July 2013, a few employees at Dylan's Candy Bar on Manhattan's Upper East Side have been contesting their hourly pay rates and working hours. Recently, two employees were terminated from the luxury candy shop after allegedly supporting those protesting the company's policies.

According to the complaint filed by the two former employees with the National Labor Relations Board, the two men were fired in retaliation for their participation in the protest. Both were terminated in early February. The first employee claims he was fired because the management of the candy shop did not like his Facebook post in support of a previously fired coworker.

The second worker alleges that management fired him under the pretext that he had provided insufficient documentation of an illness. Disputing his boss's allegation that he failed to call in sick due to strep throat, he asserts that he texted his manager about his illness the day before his shift and sent a photo of his prescription.

With several of the candy shop's former workers, the plaintiffs protested outside the store last year. They also created an online petition that requested full-time work rather than only part-time and an increase in hourly pay from less than $10 to $13.99.

The two employees affirmed that they filed a complaint to guarantee that the company does not retaliate against other employees.

New York employees have rights they can exercise whenever they experience unfair labor practices in terms of wages and hourly pay, working conditions and retaliation. Employees who protest unfair labor practices are also protected under employment law.

Employers should know that disciplinary actions against employees who participate in labor disputes are very often considered acts of employment retaliation. Retaliating against an employee can have legal consequences, particularly if that worker files a complaint against the company.

Source: DNAinfo New York, "Workers Claim Retaliation after Being Fired from Dylan's Candy Bar," Gustavo Solis, Mar. 3, 2014

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