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Is Kentucky a “right-to-work” state?

On Behalf of | Jun 6, 2023 | Business Litigation

Employers have various resources to keep their businesses running, including their employees. They must comply with federal and state employment laws that protect workers, such as “right-to-work” laws.

In “right-to-work” states, employees can refuse to join unions and pay their fees. Kentucky belongs to this category, making it unlawful to force employees to become members. However, all employees still receive union-negotiated benefits, such as vacation time adjustments and other benefits.

What should I do as an employer?

Employers have vital roles when it comes to complying with these local laws. They could vary per state, posing challenges with tracking employee activities, their details and union involvement.

Firstly, employers should observe union organizers and prevent any forceful invitations that could violate “right-to-work” laws. Also, these employees should receive their wages properly without union-related deductions. Employers should also have procedures to address complaints related to these matters.

Additionally, employers must treat all employees equally regardless of their union membership. Nonmembers must still receive the same privileges and protections given to union members. They could have slight differences based on the circumstances, making it essential for employers to learn about their local “right-to-work” policies.

Limitations of “right-to-work” laws

These laws exist to protect all employees when receiving benefits or exercising their rights, including refusing membership. However, these provisions do not guarantee employment for potential candidates. Still, it is an essential topic during the hiring process to make it clear that union membership is not a requirement. It is a crucial step because some states allow mandatory membership for all employees.

With proper collaboration and avenues for discussion, unions could help employers address employment concerns unfamiliar to them. Nevertheless, employers might require sound legal advice to tackle these matters in compliance with the relevant employment laws.