Articles Posted in Education Law

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This case concerned an employment discrimination dispute between Portland State University (PSU) and Portland State University Chapter of the American Association of University Professors (the Association). Those entities entered into a collective bargaining agreement that included a dispute resolution process for alleged violations of the agreement. That dispute resolution process included a "Resort to Other Procedures" (ROP) provision that permitted PSU to decline or discontinue a grievance proceeding if an Association member brought a claim regarding the same matter in an agency or court outside of PSU. PSU invoked that provision to halt a grievance proceeding after an Association member filed discrimination complaints with two outside agencies. The Association subsequently filed a complaint with the Oregon Employment Relations Board (ERB), alleging in part that PSU had engaged in an unfair labor practice by discontinuing the contractual grievance proceeding. ERB concluded that PSU's invocation of the ROP clause constituted unlawful discrimination. It therefore declined to enforce the ROP clause and ordered PSU to submit to the grievance process. On PSU's appeal, the Court of Appeals determined that ERB erred by applying the wrong legal standard in ordering PSU to submit to the grievance process, and it therefore reversed and remanded the case for ERB's reconsideration. The Association sought review of that decision. Upon review, the Supreme Court reversed the Court of Appeals's decision, concluding that ERB correctly held that the ROP clause at issue in this case imposed a form of employer retaliation for protected conduct that reasonably would impede or deter an employee from pursuing his or her statutory rights. "The resulting harm is neither theoretical nor trivial, but qualifies as a substantive difference in treatment. The ROP provision is therefore facially discriminatory . . . Accordingly, ERB properly declined to enforce that illegal contract provision. " View "Portland St. Univ. Ass'n of Univ. Professors v. Portland St. Univ." on Justia Law