Question: I placed a help wanted ad in the local paper. I got a resume via fax from the local union organizer. As I already knew this person’s affiliation with being a union organizer, I basically ignored his request for an interview as I have no interest in unionizing our company. I have since received another fax requesting an interview. Can I contact this person and tell him I am not interested in hiring him or speaking with him (because of his union motives), or is this in some way discriminating against this individual? I feel as though our company is being intimidated and harassed.
Answer: Your question raises important issues under the federal law protecting employees from discrimination based on their union affiliation, the National Labor Relations Act. Under this law, it is an “unfair labor practice” for an employer to fire or refuse to hire someone based solely on his/her union affiliation. Under the facts you present, an important initial question is whether, on the face of this person's resume, he is a qualified job candidate. If he is not qualified, then it should not present a legal problem. If he is, and you fail to treat him as you would other qualified applicants (he is, in fact, an “applicant” at this point since you've received faxes from him), you run the risk of being charged with an unfair labor practice under the NLRA.
This response is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion, nor is this column a substitute for formal legal assistance. For help with particular legal needs, members are invited to consult with ACCA’s LegalTools Counsel, Brooke Duncan III of Adams and Reese LLP. Mr. Duncan can be reached at 504-585-0220 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.