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Wrongful termination claim pre-empted by NLRA.

THE NATIONAL L ABOR RELATIONS ACT (NLRA) can pre-empt a supervisor's wrongful termination claim, the 6th Circuit ruled Jan. 12 in Lewis v. Whirlpool Corporation.

Timothy Lewis brought a wrongful termination suit against his employer, Whirlpool Corporation, which he claims fired him for refusing to discharge employees for union activities when he was a supervisor. Lewis claimed that Whirlpool, which was non-union, asked him to "build a case" for the dismissal of two employees who had initiated pro-union activities, such as encouraging employees to wear pro-union shirts and meet with union representatives. When he refused, Lewis was transferred to a less desirable post and eventually fired, he alleges, in retaliation.

The district court dismissed the case based on lack of subject matter jurisdiction, agreeing with Whirlpool that the claim was pre-empted by the NLRA. On appeal, Lewis argued that, as a supervisor, he was not covered by the NLRA. The court disagreed, noting that, when terminated for refusing to commit unfair labor practices, a supervisor does have a viable NLRA claim. Additionally, the court found that Lewis not only could have filed a charge with the National Labor Relations Board, he did file a complaint, and he withdrew it when it became clear that it would be unsuccessful.
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Title Annotation:6TH CIRCUIT
Author:Roberts, Kayleigh
Publication:InsideCounsel
Date:Mar 31, 2011
Words:208
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