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Upside of unions: No suing for wrongful termination

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Employment Law,Firing,Human Resources

In North Carolina, union employees have to use their contracts to pursue claims they were unfairly fired. They can’t do what at-will employees can do—sue for wrongful termination.

Recent case: Carl Sturdivant, who is black, worked as a unionized elevator mechanic. At one point, he won a race discrimination claim against his employer, resulting in reinstatement with pay.

When he was later fired for fighting with a co-worker, he filed a wrongful termination lawsuit, alleging he had been discharged because of his race.

But the court tossed out Sturdivant’s claim, explaining that wrongful termination lawsuits in North Carolina are only for employees who aren’t covered by a union or other contract. (Sturdivant v. Kone, Inc., No. 3:09-CV-224, WD NC, 2010)

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