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Marsha411JD, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 19687
Experience:  Licensed Attorney with 29 yrs. exp in Employment Law
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I work NYC five star hotel. Every department in the hotel

Customer Question

I work for a NYC five star hotel. Every department in the hotel has joined the labor union (HTC local 6) however, I was told that my department was unable to join within a certain time frame because of "special negotiations". I was recently told that they would be eliminating my position and I have until the end of the first quarter to find a new job. They are replacing my position with contract workers. Everyone else in my department has quietly moved on. How can I be the only one (1 person literally) out of 350 employees not able to be protected by the union and be forced out of the company? This company is ranked in the top 100 companies to work for by Fortune but for some reason I disagree. Thank you.
Submitted: 7 months ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Marsha411JD replied 7 months ago.


Thank you for the information and your question. I am unclear though as to why you would say you are the only one effected by the decision to no unionize your Department. Were you ever the only employee? If not, than this wasn't a decision only effecting one person, but instead a department. It is unusual, but not unheard of. Having not been privy to the bargaining agreement or the negotiations, I can't tell you why or even if this is even the case. If you think you were covered under the BA and are being told the wrong information, you can either file a complaint with the parent union organization (headquarters) or even with the NLRB. But again, it would be lawful to exclude departments or certain types (job titles) of employees when negotiating a contract. They may have known of the change over to contact employment when the negotiations were conducted, which would make sense that they excluded a department that would be outside contract labor.

Please feel free to ask for clarification if needed. If none is needed, then if you could take a moment to leave a positive rating in the box above, I will receive credit for assisting you today. Thank you

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
The entire department (5 people) were told we were not eligible to unionize and we should all look for different jobs or we would be laid off or eliminated, I am the last one left and unable to find alternative employment. It seems like fraudulent inducement to hire someone knowing beforehand that you will be eliminating their position. I would have never left my old company had I known I was doomed from the beginning with the new one. Now they are trying to get rid of me before the stipulation of me not being able to join the union expires. Please help!
Expert:  Marsha411JD replied 7 months ago.

Thank you for your reply. I can certainly understand your dismay and upset with the situation, however, employment is always "at will" in NYS, as in most states, unless there is a BA that applies. That means that there is not a claim for fraud in the inducement for an employer hiring an employee, even if it can be proved that they knew that down the line they might eliminate that employees job. In other words, there is no legal duty to divulge that fact. There could be a very few slim cases in employment that would warrant a fraud in the inducement, but those would be very unusual and would involve cases where the employer was trying to get information or intellectual property from the employee with a view toward taking that information and then terminating them. Very narrow circumstances.

Unfortunately, I didn't write the laws and cannot control what your union and this company have contracted for. Your options, other than the ones the employer is giving you, are the ones I mentioned before. You can certainly sit down with a local employment law attorney who can explore the facts with you but, based on the information you have provided, there doesn't appear to be any legal recourse beyond what I mentioned. If the entire department you worked in were all in a specific protected class under employment discrimination laws, there could be a claim that the union and the employer targeted you all for discriminatory treatment. That is a long shot, but if that is the case, you can file a complaint with the State human rights commission.

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