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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 117460
Experience:  20+ Years of Employment Law Experience
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My son has been in the grocery chain for 26 years, he was

Customer Question

My son has been in the grocery chain for 26 years, he was 1st with Farmer Jacks and after they folded he jas been with Krogers since 2007, in the last few months he has been harassed by the store manager to the point he stepped down from his night crew leader position to a clerk and thought that would stop the harassment but it didn't he was written up 3 times in the last few months but the major incident that has him on suspension happened over the labor day weekend, he not in charge at this point and he works mid-nights the bosses left the store and didn't leave the key to open the back door so the trucks could come in with their merchandise, none of the managers phone numbers were visible so he panicked and went home, he lives about 15 minutes away to get the main manager's phone number, when he called her at 2 am she didn't respond stating it was too late, I thought a manager of a night crew should be 24/7 but he didn't punch out so he is suspended presently pending termination because his union rep told him to contact 211/the food bank and to file for unemployment and they haven't even had the meeting yet, is this something that a labor law attorney could support him on, I am at work but my email address her is***@******.*** or my personal email is Norma_mailey
JA: Have you documented this or discussed it with HR?
Customer: My son tried to follow proper protocol by speaking with the store union rep and he told him he was leaving town and for him to contact the United Way Food Bank and file for Unemployment, then my son called the union rep's voice and he told him the same thing, I thought the union reps wee suppose to represent the employees, so I don't think anything was formally filed, the union rep's boss said they were aware of the grievance but if there is no paper work involved, how can there be a filed grievance. Should be contact HR?
JA: Is the employment agreement "at will," union, full time or part time?
Customer: I am not sure, I will have to check with my son because I know if there is an at will agreement a person can be fired without explanation and that is what it seems like is happening.
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: no
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 11 months ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.
The union is the sole bargaining agent between employees and management. So, initially, your son must go through his union and the contractual grievance process. As far as the union rep telling him to file for unemployment and contact the food bank is not meaning that they refuse to help him. If he is claiming he is suspended without good cause, he has legal rights to collect unemployment (he would have to pay it back if he wins his grievance and the employer has to pay him back pay) and he has a right to go to the food bank to help him until this matter is resolved.
Your son has rights under the contract to file a grievance about this situation and technically he was not off the clock if he was going to search for manager phone numbers because they did not have proper access needed to do their job and the managers had the key. So he has a defense to their allegations in that no manager was available and they did not leave the keys required to do the job your son was there to do.
The union has to file a grievance and if they refuse your son can file an unfair labor practice and breach of contract claim against the union for not properly representing him in accordance to the terms of the union contract.