Tuesday, June 26, 2012

6th Circuit Holds Substantial Evidence Supports NLRB's Conclusion That Charge Nurses Were Not Supervisors

A very common issue under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) is whether an employee is employed as a "supervisor" as supervisors are excluded from the right to unionize and bargain collectively under the NLRA.  In Frenchtown Acquisition Co., Inc. v. NLRB, Case Nos. 11-1418/1499 (6th Cir. June 20, 2012), the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit was presented with the issue of whether "substantial evidence supports the National Labor Relation Board's conclusion that the charge nurses emploted at Frenchtown's long-term-care and rehabilitation services facility are not supervisors under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA)." 

The U.S. Supreme Court in NLRB v. Kentucky River River Community Care, Inc., 532 U.S. 706 (2001) developed a three-part test for determining supervisory status.  The NLRB has developed its own intepretations of the SCOTUS' ruling in Kentucky River and using that test and interpretation, found the charge nurses in Frenchtown to not be supervisors for purposes of the NLRA though the party asserting supervisory status bears the burden of proving that status by a preponderance of the evidence. 

The opinion provides an excellent analysis into the fact-intensive inquiry of supervisory status and is worth the read.

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