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As a member of a labor union, can I file a lawsuit in state court for breach of contract if the termination was not based on

San Jose, CA |

just cause? My case does not require the interpretation of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) because the reasons used by the employer were mere pretext based on false allegations.

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Attorney answers 4


If your claim is for breach of contract then your remedies are typically confined to the grievance process, which culminates in arbitration. If you are alleging that an unlawful discriminatory motive such as race or religion was the basis for your termination then you can file with the DFEH or EEOC and, upon obtaining a "right to sue" letter, file a lawsuit in civil court.

This answer is a general interpretation of the law and is not fact specific to your case. Likewise it does not create an attorney-client relationship. You should seek an attorney for a review of your specific facts and documents.


If your beach of contract arises from the Collective Bargaining Agreement, you must first follow the procedures set forth in the CBA. If there is some other contract between you and your former employer, which is unlikely, you should talk to an attorney about your issues. If you believe that you have been treated in a manner which is otherwise protected by the law, for example discrimination, you should also consult with an attorney and have them analyze your issues. There are many fine attorneys on this site or you can check the following link for the California Employment Lawyers Association.


You are not a party to the collective bargaining agreement. The CBA is between the employer and the union. Only those parties can take steps to enforce it. Speak with your union immediately about filing a grievance because time limits are very short.

@MikaSpencer * * * PLEASE READ: All legal actions have time limits, called statutes of limitation. If you miss the deadline for filing your claim, you will lose the opportunity to pursue your case. Please consult with an experienced employment attorney as soon as possible to better preserve your rights. * * * Marilynn Mika Spencer provides information on Avvo as a service to the public, primarily when general information may be of assistance. Avvo is not an appropriate forum for an in-depth response or a detailed analysis. These comments are for information only and must not be taken as legal advice. Legal advice must pertain to specific, detailed facts which are impossible to gather on a public web site like Avvo. * * * No attorney-client relationship is created based on this information exchange. * * *


You don't enjoy rights to sue (as distinct from grievance rights under the union contract) simply because you contend that the employer's defense will be based on "pretext." Pretext is a contention that is at issue (and likely to be determined by the fact-finder) in any challenge of your termination -- by grievance or by legal claim.

Whether you have a right to bring a legal action can be a challenging judgment call. But, because you should not even contemplate taking that action without a lawyer, consult with a lawyer in the first instance about whether you have a claim that can be brought as a legal action. Act immediately -- time windows are very short.

No legal advice here. READ THIS BEFORE you contact me! My responses to questions on Avvo are never intended as legal advice and must not be relied upon as if they were legal advice. I give legal advice ONLY in the course of a formal attorney-client relationship set forth in a written document executed by the client and by me or a member of my firm. Exchange of information through Avvo's Questions forum does not establish an attorney-client relationship with me. My law firm does not provide free consultations. Please do not call or write to me with a “few questions” that require me to analyze the specific facts of your history and your license application and prescribe for you how to get a State license. I can give advice, make recommendations and answer specific questions only after reviewing the evidence and documents applicable to a specific client and following a personal meeting in my office in which the relevant facts can be developed and analyzed. My law firm presently accepts cases involving State and federal licenses and permits; discipline against State and federal licenses; and disciplinary and academic challenges to universities, colleges, boarding schools, and private schools. We take cases of wrongful termination or employment discrimination only if the claims involve peace officers, universities or colleges.

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