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Ask Legalease Your Own Question
Legalease
Legalease, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 16288
Experience:  13 years experience in employment law, unions, contracts, workers comp law
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Can your employer put a coworker with a higher title that is

Customer Question

can your employer put a coworker with a higher title that is in the same union as I am who is covered under the same bargaining as I am in charge of my work location and then accuse me legally of insubordination in a hearing for not doing what that coworker who is in the same union as I told me to do
Submitted: 21 days ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Legalease replied 21 days ago.

Hello there -

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What the employer can and cannot do to employees in a union environment is directly set forth in the union contract between the employer and the union. This is not something that is covered under state or federal laws unless you believe that you are being discriminated against due to your race, gender, age (over 40), disability, religion or sexual orientation in which case you could bring a claim against the company for discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) whether you are a union member or not.

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If you were not a member of a union, you would not have any legal protection for a situation such as you describe because the employment laws only give you legal recourse if you are discriminated against. If not, you are what is called an "employee at will" -- which means that you can be hired, fired or promoted or demoted all at the will or the whim of the employer -- for any reason or no reason at all. The only time that a non union employer must give a reason for termination is if you applied for unemployment benefits -- if the employer does not have a valid reason for the termination then the terminated employee is deemed a layoff and can collect unemployment benefits.

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In your case, what the employer did may very well be against the terms of the union contract between your employer and your union and under those circumstances your recourse is to file a grievance with your union steward so that these things can be hashed out with your union and the company up to and including an arbitration hearing if necessary. If you believe that your union is not adequately representing you, then you should contact the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and file a complaint against the union. The NLRB is the US government agency that oversees unions in the United States and they will take complaints for inadequate representation of a union member and investigate the complaint and depending upon the outcome, you may be able to receive compensation from the union if they are found to not be representing you adequately or appropriately.

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While I realize it is not exactly what you were seeking to hear, it is the legal truth of the matter and I do hope that this explanation helps. My suggestion is to get your union vigorously involved and insist upon the company following the union contract when it comes to this situation regarding levels of workers and union seniority issues. Please let me know if you have further questions. If not, can you please press a positive rating above in the star rating section so I will be given credit for my time assisting you today. I am not given any credit at all for answering your question today unless you press a positive rating above. THANK YOU VERY MUCH

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MARY