On September 1, 2023, the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit (the Court) issued a “writ of body attachment”, directing the United States Marshals Service to take two corporate officials of Haven Salon + Spa in Muskego, Wisconsin into custody until they comply with the Court’s order. The officials, Timothy and Carley Dillett, repeatedly failed and refused to comply with an enforced Board order.
In 2021, the Board found that Haven Salon + Spa violated the National Labor Relations Act (the Act) when it discharged an employee for raising concerns about the adequacy of the company’s COVID-19 safety protocols during the height of the pandemic. In raising those concerns, the employee had engaged in protected concerted activity within the meaning of the Act. The Board’s order required Haven Salon + Spa to offer the employee reinstatement, expunge references to the discharge from its files, provide records relevant to calculating backpay to the Board, post a notice of employee rights at its facility, and file a certificate of compliance with the Board’s Region 18 office in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Court enforced the Board’s order later that year.
After Haven Salon + Spa failed to fully comply with the Court-enforced order, the Board filed a motion to hold Haven Salon + Spa in contempt, which the Court granted in February 2023. The Court’s contempt order imposed escalating daily fines on Haven that could be forgiven in full if it complied with the Board’s order within a week’s time.
But Haven Salon + Spa still did not comply, so the Board filed another motion with the Court in August 2023 to liquidate the fines, add the Dilletts as additional respondents in contempt, and issue a writ of body attachment. The Board argued that the Dilletts, as Haven Salon + Spa’s corporate officials, were responsible for the company’s noncompliance with the Court’s orders. In its motion, the Board also pointed to evidence suggesting that the Dilletts had deliberately evaded service of those orders on multiple occasions.
The Court granted the motion in full and ordered Haven Salon + Spa to pay the Board over $30,000 in fines and attorney’s fees. The U.S. Marshals Service for the Eastern District of Wisconsin took the Dilletts into custody on September 12th for a same-day hearing at which they committed to a United States Magistrate Judge that they would promptly comply with the Court’s orders.
“I applaud Agency staff and the Seventh Circuit for their efforts to seek compliance with the Board’s order,” said NLRB General Counsel Jennifer Abruzzo. “This case demonstrates the Agency’s vigorous pursuit of justice. Employers should be on notice that they can face steep consequences if they continue to skirt the law, including being taken into custody until they comply. Violators of the Act should promptly comply with Board orders in order to quickly remedy their unlawful activities and dissipate the adverse effects that they had upon workers.”
“I greatly appreciate the hard work of the Region 18 staff who investigated the case, prepared for trials, and persuaded all available remedies to ensure the employer complied with the enforced Board orders,” said Region 18 Regional Director Jennifer Hadsall. “This case is a strong example of the NLRB’s commitment to pursue all available remedies for victims of unfair labor practices under the Act and vigorously pursue legal action to ensure violators comply with Board orders.”