SW Legal studies in Business

Employer Bears Burden of Proving that Employees Are Supervisors Not Subject to Unionization
Description Supreme Court upheld an NLRB policy that states in the cases of dispute between an employer and a union about whether certain employees are supervisors, which means they cannot be represented by a union, the party advocating the supervisor designation status has the burden to prove that certain criteria of supervisor status are present.
Topic Labor Law
Key Words NLRA; Supervisors
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts A union petitioned the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to represent a unit of employees at a residential care facility, the facility objected to the inclusion of registered nurses in the proposed unit to be represented by the union. The facility argued that the nurses are supervisors under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) and, therefore, excluded from inclusion under the NLRA. The NLRB held that the burden of proving that the nurses are supervisors was on the facility and found that the facility had not demonstrated that the nurses are supervisors, so the nurses were included in the bargaining unit. The facility appealed to the court of appeals, which upheld the NLRB's decision. The facility appealed to the Supreme Court.
Decision

Affirmed. The NLRA does not expressly allocate the burden of proving supervisory status, but the NLRB has consistently placed the burden on the party claiming that an employee is a supervisor. That rule is reasonable and consistent with the NLRA, which makes supervisors an exception to the general class of employees. Certain criteria are used to determine supervisor status, including responsibility for directing other employees, the use of independent judgment in exercising authority, and they hold their authority on behalf of the employer.

Citation National Labor Relations Board v. Kentucky River Community Care, Inc., 121 S.Ct. 1861 (Sup. Ct., 2001)

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