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NLRB v. Transp. Mgmt. Corp. - 462 U.S. 393, 103 S. Ct. 2469 (1983)

Rule:

If an employer fires an employee for having engaged in union activities and has no other basis for the discharge, or if the reasons that he proffers are pretextual, the employer commits an unfair labor practice. He does not violate the National Labor Relations Act, 29 U.S.C.S. §§ 151 et seq., if any antiunion animus that he might have entertained did not contribute at all to an otherwise lawful discharge for good cause.

Facts:

Acting on unfair labor practice charges filed by an employee of respondent, Transportation Management Corp. (TMC), petitioner National Labor Relations Board found that TMC had discharged the employee, a busdriver, for his union activities, in violation of §§ 8(a)(1) and 8(a)(3) of the National Labor Relations Act. The Board applied its rule that the General Counsel has the burden of persuading the Board by a preponderance of the evidence that an antiunion animus contributed to TMC's decision to discharge the employee, and the employer can avoid the conclusion that it violated the Act by proving by a preponderance of the evidence that the employee would have been fired for permissible reasons even if he had not been involved in protected union activities. The Board concluded that TMC failed to carry its burden of persuading the Board that the employee's discharge would have taken place, even if he had not been engaged in protected union activities, because of his practice of leaving his keys in the bus and taking unauthorized breaks. The Court of Appeals refused to enforce the Board's order, based on its view that it was error to place the burden on TMC and that the General Counsel carried the burden of proving not only that a forbidden motivation contributed to the discharge but also that the discharge would not have taken place independently of the employee's protected conduct.

Issue:

Did the Court of Appeals err in refusing to enforce the order?

Answer:

Yes

Conclusion:

The Court granted certiorari and determined that the appellate court had erred in refusing to enforce the order because the order was supported by substantial evidence on the record when considered as a whole as required by 29 U.S.C.S. § 160(f).

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