National Labor Relations Board v. Kentucky River Community Care, Inc.

532 U.S. 706 (2001)

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National Labor Relations Board v. Kentucky River Community Care, Inc.

United States Supreme Court
532 U.S. 706 (2001)

Facts

Kentucky River Community Care, Inc. (Kentucky) (defendant) operated a mental-healthcare facility staffed by about 110 employees, including six registered nurses (RNs). When a union (plaintiff) sought to represent all the facility’s employees, Kentucky asserted that RNs were supervisors under the National Labor Relations Act and thus not employees by definition. RNs were primarily responsible for dispensing patient medication and other tasks relating to patient care. During certain shifts, RNs also had the responsibility to serve as “building supervisors.” In that capacity, RNs had to ask for volunteers to work an understaffed shift. RNs also occasionally asked other employees to perform routine tasks but had no authority to take corrective action if the employee refused. RNs had no authority to hire, fire, promote, discipline, or make any other employment decision. The National Labor Relations Board (the board) found that RNs were not supervisors based on the board’s position that any independent judgment exercised by RNs in directing employees to perform tasks was merely the judgment the RNs ordinarily exercised in the performance of their profession. The Sixth Circuit reversed. The Supreme Court agreed to review the matter.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Scalia, J.)

Concurrence/Dissent (Stevens, J.)

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