In a recent case, the First District Court of Appeals Division 5 in California issued an opinion in an appeal involving a dispute between an employer and an employee. The plaintiff is a former organizer for the defendant, the National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW). The plaintiff contends that she was wrongfully terminated by the NUHW under numerous statutes, including the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). The defendant filed a motion for summary judgment, and the trial court issued a written order granting NUHW summary judgment and dismissing all the causes of action in the plaintiff’s complaint.
Facts of the Case
As an employee of the NUHW, the plaintiff was hired in September 2015 as an internal organizer. The NUHW employs external organizers, who encourage non-unionized employees to join the union, and internal organizers, who develop and organize members to be active participants in the union. Although the plaintiff had some union experience, she did not have experience organizing union members in hospitals or organizing workers in technical job classifications. Nevertheless, she was assigned as an internal organizer to two hospitals in Sonoma County, Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital (SRMH) and Petaluma Valley Hospital (PVH).
During the trial, the plaintiff’s former supervisor testified that the plaintiff initially performed well. When she was hired, NUHW was negotiating with SRMH for a successor contract, and the plaintiff was able to communicate with Spanish-speaking union members and organize them to support the contract. The contract was ratified, and the plaintiff was given a positive skills assessment.