U.S. Supreme Court

Were fired pro-union workers at Starbucks entitled to reinstatement? SCOTUS considers proper standard

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A case of seven fired Starbucks workers has reached the U.S. Supreme Court. Photo from Shutterstock.

A case of seven fired Starbucks workers has reached the U.S. Supreme Court, which agreed Friday to decide what kind of standard that courts should use when deciding a request for reinstatement by the National Labor Relations Board.

The NLRB had alleged that the Memphis, Tennessee, workers were fired in 2022 for their pro-union activities, while Starbucks said the employees were fired for allowing a news crew into a closed store, Law.com reports.

The New York Times, SCOTUSblog and Reuters also have coverage.

Starbucks contends that courts considering NLRB requests for preliminary injunctions should apply a “traditional, stringent four-factor test.” According to the cert petition, the test considers the possibility of irreparable injury to the moving party if relief is not granted, the possible harm to the nonmoving party if relief is granted, the likelihood of the moving party’s success on the merits, and the public interest.

Four federal appeals courts use the four-part test, while five others use a “vastly different, easily satisfied two-prong test,” according to Starbucks.

The more lenient standard requires the NLRB to show “reasonable cause” to think that employers engaged in an unfair labor practice, and that the relief sought is “just and proper,” the cert petition says.

The case is Starbucks Corp. v. McKinney.

The SCOTUSblog case page is here.

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