California HR

News Notes: Big Defamation Award Against Union Tossed Out

The federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has overturned a nearly $1 million award to a dry cleaning firm and its owner for allegedly defamatory statements made by a union during a collective bargaining dispute. While meeting to discuss ongoing wage negotiations, the union president informed union members that the company president was hiding money in a holding company. The employer claimed the statement was false. But in overturning the verdict, the court said most statements made during a heated labor dispute are merely rhetorical. The court also stressed the importance of allowing open discussions during negotiations.