SW Legal studies in Business

Union Salts May Lie to Obtain Employment
Description Appeals court held that a salt, who was sent to seek employment in order to gain access to a workplace to assist efforts to unionize the workers, could not be discriminated against for his salting activities, nor could he be fired for giving false information on his job application that did not affect his qualifications to do the job.
Topic Labor Law
Key Words Salting; False Statements
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts Salting is when a union inserts an organizer into an employer's workforce in the hope that the salt will be able to organize the workers. Salts do not intend to remain with the company after the organizing effort. Starnes, a salt sent into a heating and air-conditioning contracting company, was fired when the company discovered he was a salt. The union complained to the NLRB, which ordered the company to stop discriminating against salts and ordered Starnes reinstated with back pay. The company appealed, contending that Starnes had provided false information about his employment history on his job application, which should be grounds for termination.

Affirmed. Under the National Labor Relations Act, an employer may not discriminate against salts. The fact that Starnes lied about his background to get a job was not material so long as it did not relate to his qualifications to do the job in question. An Indiana state law that prohibits making false statements to obtain employment is invalid because it conflicts with the purpose of the federal law.

Citation Hartman Brothers Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc. v. NLRB, 280 F.3d 1110 (7th Cir., 2002)

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