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Section 10(c) of the Taft-Hartley Act, 29 U.S.C.S. § 160(c), expressly provides that no order of the National Labor Relations Board shall require the reinstatement of any individual as an employee who has been suspended or discharged, or the payment to him of any back pay, if such individual was suspended or discharged for cause. There is no more elemental cause for discharge of an employee than disloyalty to his employer. It is equally elemental that the Taft-Hartley Act seeks to strengthen, rather than to weaken, that cooperation, continuity of service, and cordial contractual relation between employer and employee that is born of loyalty to their common enterprise.
Technicians employed by a broadcasting company were discharged when, during the pendency of a dispute between the company and the union of which the technicians were members, they distributed handbills attacking the quality of the company's television programming. The National Labor Relations Board refused to order their reinstatement, holding that the employer was not guilty of an unfair labor practice in discharging them, since, in view of the indefensible character of their activities, the discharges had been for cause, within 10(c) of the amended National Labor Relations Act, providing that the Board shall not order the reinstatement of an employee discharged by his employer for cause. The Court of Appeals, although refusing to order reinstatement of the technicians, remanded the cause to the Board on the ground that the Board had failed to state whether the technicians' activities were unlawful as distinguished from indefensible.
Did the discharge of certain employees by their employer constitute an unfair labor practice, within the meaning of §§ 8 (a)(1) and 7 of the Taft-Hartley Act, justifying their reinstatement by the National Labor Relations Board?
The Court reasoned that nothing could be further from the purpose of the Taft-Hartley Act than to require the employer to finance the employees' attack on the employer who continued to pay their salaries. The fact that a labor dispute existed contemporaneously did not help the employees. The Court believed that the handbills attacked the employer's policies without any relation to the labor controversy.