WASHINGTON – The National Labor Relations Board determined that OK Foods had legitimate non-discriminatory reasons for firing two employees from the company’s plant in Heavener, Okla. The unidentified workers claimed they were fired for their union activities.

The board’s Office of the General Council explained the decision in a redacted letter addressed to Agee, Van Atta & Owens law firm in Nashville. The board found that, although there was evidence of union activity at the plant, one worker was fired for sleeping on the job.

“… there is credible basis for the Employer to discharge [employee] rather than deciding to issue … a final warning for sleeping on the job based on the fact [employee] was not sleeping in … work area; was not on break or in a break area when found sleeping; did not nod off for a moment but rather was asleep for a prolonged period of at least 30-35 minutes; and a high-level supervisor directly observed [employee] sleeping for an extended period.”

The second petitioner was fired for poor performance that led to multiple machine malfunctions. The board found that the second employee had a history of poor performance before efforts to unionize workers were underway.

After a final warning, the employee “incurred additional work-related problems” that could have led to termination, but the company opted for additional discipline.

“But in May 2015, when multiple machines malfunctioned and [the employee] did not have a good explanation, the employer was within its right to terminate [the employee].

“There was no evidence of disparate treatment …” the board concluded.