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Unions have no separate duty to ferret out discrimination

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in Employment Law

Employers are obligated to make sure their employees don’t discriminate. However, unions have no similar duty to investigate and expose bias.

Recent case: Richard Arrieta and other employees of Yellow Transportation sued their union local and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, alleging they didn’t investigate claims that the company discriminated against black and Hispanic employees.

The union said it didn’t have an independent duty to investigate discrimination—although it also pointed out that it actually had tried to do so in this case.

The court tossed out the case. It reasoned that, even if the union had a duty (which it did not), it had tried to respond to complaints but was rebuffed by the very employees who claimed discrimination. The workers had refused to provide specifics. (Arrieta, et al., v. Local 745, et al., No. 3:08-CV-1722, ND TX, 2011)

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