Procedural Posture

Plaintiff appealed from judgment of Superior Court of Los Angeles County (California) entered in favor of defendant employer in wrongful termination suit after defendant’s demurrer was sustained without leave to plaintiff to amend.

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Overview

Plaintiff was a long-time employee and high-level supervisor for defendant when he was terminated, allegedly due to a reduction in workforce but according to plaintiff because he testified unfavorably to defendant during an employee’s grievance proceeding. The trial court sustained defendant’s demurrer on the ground that plaintiff’s complaint was preempted by the National Labor Relations Act, 29 U.S.C.S. § 141 et seq., and exclusive primary jurisdiction was thus vested in the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). The court affirmed, because plaintiff’s action arguably involved an unfair labor practice. The state court contract claims were also preempted, as the evidence in state court would not have been distinctly different than that presented to the NLRB.

Outcome

Judgment was affirmed. Plaintiff’s action was preempted by federal labor law because it arguably involved unfair labor practice, i.e., that defendant terminated plaintiff for giving testimony favorable to an employee during an arbitration held pursuant to a collective bargaining contract.