Tuesday, October 9, 2012

It Couldn't Happen To A Nicer Group -- The SEIU

I hope I am not the only one to see the irony in this case -- Batarse v. SEIU, 2012 DJDAR 13523. 

Mr. Batarse interviewed for the position as a union rep for the SEIU.  In interviews he was asked why he was no longer practicing law.  He responded by saying he resigned due to personal matters and due to issues with his law partners.  I don't know about you, but that response is like waiving a red flag.  Doesn't anyone at SEIU have a clue?  They hired him anyway.

His boss, Ms. Sanchez, swore like a sailor. Batarse complained about Sanchez.  Seriously, didn't he know that vulgarity is common fare in the union world?  In fact, there are plenty of court cases that make reference to vulgarity used by union thugs (... oops did I really say that?  I meant to write representatives) and how vulgarity is not sufficient cause to terminate the employment of a union member.  He complained that Sanchez was discriminating against him due to his race and gender. 

After complaining the SEIU fired him and was replaced by a Hispanic worker.  Can you imagine the complaints that would come from the union if an employer fired a union member after he complained of unlawful discrimination?  Funny how the SEIU sings another song when the shoe is on the other foot! 

Turns out someone at the SEIU did some snooping.  The union determined that Batarse didn't have law partners, and therefore lied in the recruiting process.  He made other false statements.  Turns out Batarse was in some hot water with the state bar, and had disciplinary charges pending against him.  So he resigned.  He did not disclose any of this to the SEIU.  (Did the SEIU even ask?  Looks like the SEIU could use some HR help.) 

Batarse eventually lost the case.  He failed to comply with the legal process.  And he failed to provide the evidence necessary to show that the SEIU decision to terminate was not credible. 

I learn a lot from this case.  First and foremost is to hire right.  Conduct background checks.  Ask specific questions.  Verify answers. 

Second, don't fire someone soon after (s)he complains of discrimination.  SEIU won this case.  I wonder, however, whether the result would have been different had a lawyer represented him.  (Batarse handled the case himself.  Probably prime evidence of why he had trouble with the state bar.) 

Third, keep vulgarities and other offensive words out of the workplace.  While the employer might win a case involving vulgarity, it gives rise to a claim and litigation. 

You gotta love this case.  Union.  Swearing.  Inability to get along.  And a lawsuit.  It couldn't have happened to a nicer group of people!

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