Labor and Employment Law - Uncertainty over Burden of Proof for Mixed Motive Employee Discharge

By Eisenmann, Megan E. | Suffolk University Law Review, Spring 2008 | Go to article overview

Labor and Employment Law - Uncertainty over Burden of Proof for Mixed Motive Employee Discharge


Eisenmann, Megan E., Suffolk University Law Review


Labor and Employment Law--Uncertainty Over Burden of Proof for Mixed Motive Employee Discharge--Hospital Cristo Redentor, Inc. v. NLRB, 488 F.3d 513 (1st Cir. 2007)

In 1977, the United States Supreme Court espoused a framework to determine whether impermissibly discharging an employee due to his or her union activities constitutes an unfair labor practice. (1) This framework requires that the employee first prove that his or her labor union activities were a substantial, motivating factor in the discharge; then the burden of proof shifts to the employer to show that the employee's union participation was immaterial to the discharge. (2) In Hospital Cristo Redentor, Inc. v. NLRB, (3) the Court of Appeals for the First Circuit analyzed whether the Hospital Cristo Redentor (Hospital) impermissibly fired its employee for his union involvement. (4) Once the General Counsel of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB or Board) showed the employee's union activity was a motivating factor in his discharge, the Hospital bore the burden of proof to demonstrate that they would have fired the employee regardless of his participation in the labor union. (5) The court determined that the Hospital violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) by firing an employee in retaliation for his union activities. (6)

Carlos Garcia Santiago started working for the Hospital as a registered nurse in February 1995. (7) In 1998, the NLRB allowed a union to exclusively negotiate for a group of registered nurses. (8) After becoming a union delegate in 1999, Santiago received his first disciplinary warning from his supervisor. (9) Between 1999 and 2000, the Hospital issued a series of disciplinary warnings to Santiago noting attitude problems, specifically cautioning him to cease calling other employees' attention to poor working conditions. (10)

In March 2001, Santiago received another warning about his attitude after failing to follow Hospital protocol when correcting a mistake on a patient's chart. (11) On April 23, 2001, Santiago received further warnings regarding his conduct. (12) Apparently due to this series of warnings and Santiago's absence from a shift while he attended a family member's medical emergency, the Hospital suspended and eventually discharged Santiago on October 19, 2001. (13)

An administrative law judge for the NLRB Division of Judges determined that the Hospital had committed an unfair labor practice by violating sections 8(a)(1) and 8(a)(3) of the NLRA. (14) The NLRB affirmed this finding. (15) On appeal to the First Circuit, the Hospital alleged that the NLRB's finding was unsubstantiated. (16) The First Circuit held that the Board's decision was supported by the facts and that the Hospital did not prove it would have dismissed Santiago irrespective of his participation in a union. (17)

Precedent concerning the mixed-motive employer originated in Mount Healthy City School District Board of Education v. Doyle. (18) In Doyle, the Court described the employee's burden of proof to show that his constitutionally protected activity was a substantial, motivating factor of his discharge. (19) If the employee can show that his or her protected activity was a motivating factor, the burden then shifts to the employer to prove that it would have reached the same decision and fired the employee regardless of the protected involvement. (20)

The NLRB adopted the Doyle test in a subsequent case, Wright Line, (21) in which it found that the employer had not satisfied its burden of proof. (22) The Board's use of Doyle's burden-shifting framework continued and has become known as the Wright Line test. (23) Although the First Circuit rejected the Wright Line burden-shifting approach, the Supreme Court upheld the Wright Line test for all future mixed-motive cases in NLRB v. Transportation Management Corp. (24) The Court noted that the General Counsel's burden of proof is a burden of production, not persuasion, that shifts the burden of proof to the employer when satisfied. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Labor and Employment Law - Uncertainty over Burden of Proof for Mixed Motive Employee Discharge
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.