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Learn about employers’ right to lock employees out of the workplace, including limitations on that right.


A lockout is an economic weapon available to employers. In a lockout, the employer prohibits employees from coming to work until the employer allows them to return. The NLRA allows lockouts in some circumstances.

Lockouts are sometimes referred to as being either defensive or offensive. In a defensive lockout, an employer locks out employees to protect the employer’s business or to minimize damages or losses in anticipation of a strike. In an offensive lockout, an employer locks out...