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Employee can’t sue union under California FEHA law

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Human Resources

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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