Thursday, July 21, 2011

Employee Must Use Dispute Resolution Available Under Labor Agreement Before Filing Suit

In Kivisto v. National Football League Players Association (11-10543), the Eleventh Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of a lawsuit against the National Football League Players Association’s (NFLPA).
“Employees claiming breach of a collective bargaining agreement...are bound by that agreement’s terms providing a method for resolving disputes between them and their employer.” Mason v. Continental Group, Inc., 763 F.2d 1219, 1222 (11th Cir. 1985). When an employee asserts an arbitrable grievance, but has not attempted to utilize the dispute resolution available to him under the agreement, his independent suit must be dismissed. Id.
The third footnote in the opinion is interesting, especially as the NFL and NFLPA are likely to resolve their labor dispute today:
We note that after the district court entered its order, the NFLPA renounced its collective bargaining rights and no longer regulates NFL agents.
(emphasis supplied).


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