The layoffs of dozens of employees at the South Lebanon plant of Schott Pharma, a maker of pharmaceutical glassware, have resulted in the settlement of an unfair labor practice complaint one of the employees filed with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).
The complaint was filed by 26-year employee Ryan Putt after he and 41 other employees were let go in March 2023. According to its web page, Schott has about 240 employees in South Lebanon.
According to Putt’s attorney, Benjamin D. Salvina, Putt was offered severance pay only if he signed a written agreement promising not to discuss the terms of the severance package with anyone, and not to disparage Schott.
Those provisions are illegal, Salvina argued, and the NLRB agreed, based on its February 2023 ruling in a case called McLaren v. Macomb. The board’s decision held that employers may not offer severance agreements that require employees to broadly waive rights guaranteed under the National Labor Relations Act.
“The board found that trying to suppress the speech of employees and former employees violated [the law],” Salvina told LebTown.
Schott admitted the violations in a July 31 settlement agreement, a copy of which has been obtained by LebTown.
Salvina, who only represented Putt, believes that his complaint was the one of the first based on McLaren v. Macomb filed in the United States, based on a conversation with an NLRB official.
Under the terms of the settlement, Schott must post notices throughout the plant, notify current employees via email that the confidentiality and non-disparagement provisions are void, and give the same notice to former employees via regular mail.
Salvina said he is concerned that employees nationwide who are affected by the McLaren v. Macomb decision are unaware of their rights.
“I have been contacted by maybe seven or eight potential clients with these provisions in their severance agreements and none of them knew [that they were unenforceable.]”
While not referring to Schott, Salvina added that “based on how widely the NLRB’s decision was circulated, a lot of employers have, in my view, potentially been flagrantly violating this decision.”
Schott, through a spokesman, issued the following statement:
“SCHOTT has been a proud employer in Lebanon for the past 20 years, and we remain committed to the region. It was brought to our attention that long standing language that many companies have used in agreements was newly interpreted by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) earlier this year. Once we learned of the change, we worked swiftly with the NLRB and are collaboratively resolving the matter to a satisfactory result. SCHOTT remains committed to building a fair and equitable work environment, as well as ensuring that our practices comply with all laws and regulations.”
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