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Bypassing a CBA Results in Dismissal

Plantiff Fails to Exhaust All Options Under CBA
January 26, 2023

Plaintiff was employed by a school district as a head coach of the boys’ soccer team and paid a stipend through the Association’s CBA. After suspending plaintiff without pay for inappropriate discipline of a student, Plaintiff was asked to resign as head coach. After Plaintiff was not paid any of his coaching stipend, plaintiff filed a lawsuit under the Wage Payment Law seeking to recover wages plus liquidated damages and attorneys’ fees. We filed a motion to dismiss because plaintiff failed to exhaust administrative remedies by filing a grievance through the CBA procedures. The superior court judge, Judge Grasso Jones, entered an order dismissing the complaint with prejudice. In affirming Judge Grasso’s decision, the Appellate Division rejected Plaintiff’s argument that his claim for unpaid wages falls outside the parameters of the CBA grievance process, stating that the argument “flies in the face of our Legislature’s mandate governing the employment conditions of public employers and public employees. The Appellate Division held that the Plaintiff was barred from seeking damages by failing to exhaust remedies afforded under a labor union contract. 

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