In Focus: Some ‘Day Without Immigrants’ Protesters Fired

By Allen Smith, J.D. Feb 24, 2017

Protests over President Donald Trump's immigration policies occurred in the Feb. 16 "day without immigrants" action. While some businesses shut their doors in a show of solidarity with the protesters, other employers terminated participants in the walkouts.

Terminations Follow Protest

Restaurants, day care centers and other businesses reportedly discharged workers after they missed work to participate in the "day without immigrants" protest. (NBC News)

Show of Support

Other businesses closed their doors during the "day without immigrants" protest to show their support for employees. Busboys and Poets restaurant in Washington, D.C., for example, closed all six of its locations, even though this would cost "tens of thousands of dollars," according to its owner. "As an immigrant myself, I have to speak up," he said. (Eater)

Text Message Dismissals

But 12 employees at a restaurant in Catoosa, Okla., were reportedly fired by text messages. The owner said the firings followed company policy for no-shows. (The Atlantic)

[SHRM members-only HR Q&A: What is considered job abandonment?]

Enforcement of Policies Lawful

Businesses can enforce their typical absence rules if their workers participate in general walkouts that have nothing to do with a company's employment conditions. But companies should exercise caution in those rare circumstances where participation constitutes protected concerted activity. (SHRM Online)

Businesses Defend Terminations

Companies that fired protesters defended their decisions. Many employers had warned employees that if they missed work they would be discharged. (CNN)

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