Employees sometimes don’t agree with the way their union resolves complaints. But that doesn’t mean they can sue the union under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). They must use federal law as the basis for their lawsuits.
Recent case: Pamela, a member of the Office and Professional Employees International Union, didn’t think it did a good job representing her in a dispute with her employer. She sued under FEHA, claiming discrimination.
But her case was dismissed because claims over union representation are a matter of collective bargaining agreement interpretation. (Hardine v. Office and Professional Employees International Union, No. 10-56667, 9th Cir., 2012)
Final note: One advantage of a union workplace is that employee disputes can be solved without litigation. This decision shows courts are comfortable with that and don’t want to open additional lawsuit avenues.
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