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Labor and Employment Law

University of Michigan Law School

Employment contracts

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Mandatory Employment Arbitration: Keeping It Fair, Keeping It Lawful, Theodore J. St. Antoine Jan 2010

Mandatory Employment Arbitration: Keeping It Fair, Keeping It Lawful, Theodore J. St. Antoine

Articles

President Obama's election and the Democrats' takeover of Congress, including what was their theoretically filibuster-proof majority in the Senate, have encouraged organized labor and other traditional Democratic supporters to make a vigorous move for some long-desired legislation. Most attention has focused on the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA). As initially proposed, the EFCA would enable unions to get bargaining rights through signed authorization cards rather than a secret-ballot election, and would provide for the arbitration of first-contract terms if negotiations fail to produce an agreement after four months. The EFCA would apply to the potentially organizable private-sector working population ...


The Future Of American Labor And Employment Law: Hopes, Dreams, And Realities, Theodore J. St. Antoine Jan 2009

The Future Of American Labor And Employment Law: Hopes, Dreams, And Realities, Theodore J. St. Antoine

Articles

In many respects the US is a deeply conservative country. Unique among the major industrial democracies of the world, it imposes the death penalty, provides no national health insurance, fixes a high legal drinking age, and subscribes to the doctrine of employment at will. Perhaps not surprisingly, its labor movement is also one of the most conservative on earth, eschewing class warfare and aiming largely at the bread-and-butter goal of improved wages, benefits, and working conditions. Yet American employers have generally never been as accepting of unionization as their counterparts in other countries (Bok 1971; Freeman and Medoff 1984). Over ...


Will The Tax Man Cometh To Coach Rodriguez?, Douglas A. Kahn, Jeffrey H. Kahn Aug 2008

Will The Tax Man Cometh To Coach Rodriguez?, Douglas A. Kahn, Jeffrey H. Kahn

Articles

There has been much in the news recently about coaches of major college sports teams moving to a new school and incurring an obligation to make payment to their old school under a buyout provision in their contract. The most recent example is the highly publicized move of Richard Rodriguez from West Virginia University to the University of Michigan. Coach Rodriguez had a contract with his former employer that required him to pay $4 million dollars to West Virginia if he left for another coaching position. After a suit was filed, it was reported that the parties agreed that the ...


Mandatory Arbitration: Why It's Better Than It Looks, Theodore J. St. Antoine Jan 2008

Mandatory Arbitration: Why It's Better Than It Looks, Theodore J. St. Antoine

Articles

"Mandatory arbitration" as used here means that employees must agree as a condition of employment to arbitrate all legal disputes with their employer, including statutory claims, rather than take them to court. The Supreme Court has upheld the validity of such agreements on the grounds that they merely provide for a change of forum and not a loss of substantive rights. Opponents contend this wrongfully deprives employees of the right to a jury trial and other statutory procedural benefits. Various empirical studies indicate, however, that employees similarly situated do about as well in arbitration as in court actions, or even ...


Tax Consequences When A New Employer Bears The Cost Of The Employee's Terminating A Prior Employment Relationship, Douglas A. Kahn, Jeffrey H. Kahn Jan 2007

Tax Consequences When A New Employer Bears The Cost Of The Employee's Terminating A Prior Employment Relationship, Douglas A. Kahn, Jeffrey H. Kahn

Articles

The next few months will be busy ones for moving companies that have NCAA basketball coaches as customers. In the past few months, several men's college basketball coaches have accepted jobs at different schools. Several of those coaches, who were still under contract at their former institution, had buy out provisions that allowed them to terminate their relationship for a set price. John Beilein is a prominent example of this since his buy out price was so high. Last season, Beilein was the head basketball coach at West Virginia University where he was under contract with the school until ...


The Changing Role Of Labor Arbitration (Symposium: New Rules For A New Game: Regulating Employment Relationships In The 21st Century), Theodore J. St. Antoine Jan 2001

The Changing Role Of Labor Arbitration (Symposium: New Rules For A New Game: Regulating Employment Relationships In The 21st Century), Theodore J. St. Antoine

Articles

A quarter century ago, in a provocative and prophetic article, David E. Feller lamented the imminent close of what he described as labor arbitration's "golden age." I have expressed reservations about that characterization, insofar as it suggested an impending shrinkage in the stature of arbitration. But Professor Feller was right on target in one important respect. Labor arbitration was going to change dramatically from the autonomous institution in the relatively self-contained world of union-management relations which it had been from the end of World War II into the 1970s. When the subject matter was largely confined to union-employer agreements ...


Gilmer In The Collective Bargaining Context, Theodore J. St. Antoine Jan 2001

Gilmer In The Collective Bargaining Context, Theodore J. St. Antoine

Articles

Can a privately negotiated arbitration agreement deprive employees of the statutory right to sue in court on claims of discrimination in employment because of race, sex, religion, age, disability, and similar grounds prohibited by federal law? Two leading U.S. Supreme Court decisions, decided almost two decades apart, reached substantially different answers to this questionand arguably stood logic on its head in the process. In the earlier case of Alexander v. Gardner-Denver Co., involving arbitration under a collective bargaining agreement, the Court held an adverse award did not preclude a subsequent federal court action by the black grievant alleging racial ...


Contract Reading' In Labor Arbitration, Theodore J. St. Antoine Jan 2000

Contract Reading' In Labor Arbitration, Theodore J. St. Antoine

Articles

A quarter century ago, I used the phrase "contract reader" to characterize the role an arbitrator plays in construing a collective bargaining agreement. This phrase has almost invariable been misunderstood to refer to reading or interpreting the contract. When I spoke of the "contract reader," it was in the context of judicial review of an award. My point was this: When a court has before it an arbitrator's award applying a collective bargaining agreement, it is as if the employer and the union had signed a stipulation stating: "What the arbitrator says this contract means is exactly what we ...


Mandatory Arbitration Of Employee Discrimination Claims: Unmitigated Evil Or Blessing In Disguise?, Theodore J. St. Antoine Jan 1998

Mandatory Arbitration Of Employee Discrimination Claims: Unmitigated Evil Or Blessing In Disguise?, Theodore J. St. Antoine

Articles

One of the hottest current issues in employment law is the use of mandatory arbitration to resolve workplace disputes. Typically, an employer will make it a condition of employment that employees must agree to arbitrate any claims arising out of the job, including claims based on statutory rights against discrimination, instead of going to court. On the face of it, this is a brazen affront to public policy. Citizens are being deprived of the forum provided them by law. And indeed numerous scholars and public and private bodies have condemned the use of mandatory arbitration. Yet the insight of that ...


Why Mandatory Arbitration May Benefit Workers, Theodore J. St. Antoine Jan 1997

Why Mandatory Arbitration May Benefit Workers, Theodore J. St. Antoine

Articles

Would employees-including union employees-be better off with mandatory arbitration, even of statutory employment claims? The answer to this important question should depend less on abstract notions about the importance of statutory claims and the sanctity of the right to a jury trial, and more on a pragmatic assessment of what is likely to be best for the great majority of workers. Employing this type of analysis, which would take into account an overworked, underfunded Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, backlogged court dockets and other practical problems, my view is that most employees might well be better off with mandatory arbitration, provided ...


The Twilight Of Employment At Will? An Update, Theodore J. St. Antoine Jan 1987

The Twilight Of Employment At Will? An Update, Theodore J. St. Antoine

Articles

A 55-year-old white male, who has spent thirty years working his way up to a responsible middle-management position in his company, is asked for his resignation. No reason given. Even though the employee could demonstrate that he still is qualified to perform his duties, the employer's action in dismissing him would be quite unexceptionable under the conventional American common law doctrine of employment at will. The situation could be even more disturbing. If the employment-at-will principle were allowed its full scope, an employee would have no recourse even if he knew he was being discharged because he had refused ...


Integrity And Circumspection: The Labor Law Vision Of Bernard D. Meltzer, Theodore J. St. Antoine Jan 1986

Integrity And Circumspection: The Labor Law Vision Of Bernard D. Meltzer, Theodore J. St. Antoine

Articles

Bernard Meltzer has testified under oath that he "rarely take[s] absolute positions." The record bears him out. While his colleagues among labor law scholars often strain to demonstrate that the labor relations statutes and even the Constitution support their hearts' desires, the typical Meltzer stance is one of cool detachment, pragmatic assessment, and cautious, balanced judgment. The "itch to do good," Meltzer has remarked wryly, "is a doubtful basis for jurisdiction" -or, he would likely add, for any other legal conclusion. In this brief commentary I propose to examine the Meltzer approach to four broad areas of labor law ...


The Revision Of Employment-At-Will Enters A New Phase, Theodore J. St. Antoine Jan 1985

The Revision Of Employment-At-Will Enters A New Phase, Theodore J. St. Antoine

Articles

The most significant development in the whole field of labor law during the past decade was the growing willingness of the courts to modify the traditional doctrine of employment-at-will. Applying either tort or contract theory, or both, judges in some thirty jurisdictions declared their readiness to blunt the worst rigors of the rule that an employment contract of indefinite duration can be terminated by either party at any time for any reason. These dramatic breakthroughs evoked almost universal acclaim from disinterested commentators, primarily on the grounds of simple justice. Now we may be entering a new phase of consolidation, refinement ...


Legal Barriers To Worker Participation In Management Decision Making, Theodore J. St. Antoine Jan 1984

Legal Barriers To Worker Participation In Management Decision Making, Theodore J. St. Antoine

Articles

Collective bargaining lies at the heart of the union-management relationship. It is the end and purpose of the whole effort to protect employees against reprisals when they form an organization to represent them in dealing with their employers. Collective bargaining is grounded in the belief that industrial strife will be checked, and the workers' lot bettered, if workers are given an effective voice in determining the conditions of their employment. My thesis is that federal law, even while placing the force of government behind collective bargaining, has so artificially confined its scope that the process has been seriously impeded from ...


Judicial Review Of Labor Arbitration Awards: A Second Look At Enterprise Wheel And Its Progeny, Theodore J. St. Antoine May 1977

Judicial Review Of Labor Arbitration Awards: A Second Look At Enterprise Wheel And Its Progeny, Theodore J. St. Antoine

Articles

Logic, so the cliche goes, is not the life of the law. But logic is very much like the DNA of the law-the structural principle without which all is sprawl and muddle. In the last ten years a controversy has raged over the role of the labor arbitrator in issuing awards, and the role of the courts in reviewing and enforcing those awards. This controversy has largely taken the form of a continuing debate among scholars and practicing arbitrators at the annual meetings of the National Academy of Arbitrators. With due respect to the thoughtful and experienced persons who have ...


A Touchstone For Labor Board Remedies, Theodore J. St. Antoine Jan 1968

A Touchstone For Labor Board Remedies, Theodore J. St. Antoine

Articles

Fashion dictates what lawyers argue about, and law professors write about, more than we may care to admit. In labor law, especially, the styles change with a rapidity that would impress a Paris couturier. During the past decade the spotlight has moved from union democracy to labor contract enforcement to the union organizing campaign. Today the "in" topic is National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) remedies. Yet if any subject deserves immunity from the vagaries of fashion, this is the one; for all rights acquire substance only insofar as they are backed by effective remedies. Coke said it long ago: "[W ...


Inducing Breach Of Agreement By Employees Not To Join A Labor Union, In Order To Compel Unionization Of Plaintiff's Business, Horace Lafayette Wilgus Jan 1918

Inducing Breach Of Agreement By Employees Not To Join A Labor Union, In Order To Compel Unionization Of Plaintiff's Business, Horace Lafayette Wilgus

Articles

In Hitchnan Coal & Coke Compazy v. John Mitchell, et al., (Dec. 10, 1917), 38 Sup. Ct. 65, the novel question was presented to the Supreme Court of the United States, as to whether or not members of a labor Union could be enjoined from conspiring to persuade, and persuading, without violence or show of violence, plaintiff's employees, not members of the Union,-and who were working for plaintiff not for a specified time, but under an agreement not to continue in plaintiff's employment if they joined the Union, this agreement being fully known to defendants,-secretly to agree ...