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Justices: Voluntary associations must comply with Wage Payment Statute

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The Indiana Supreme Court Tuesday ordered more proceedings on a fired union employee’s complaint seeking payment for unused vacation time. The justices held that she is entitled to accrue vacation pay unless there was an arrangement or policy to the contrary, which is in dispute in this case.

In Commissioner of Labor on the Relation of Stephen R. Shofstall, Edward C. Posey, and Deborah N. Posey v. International Union of Painters and Allied Trades AFL-CIO, CLC District Council 91, 49S02-1205-PL-269, Deborah Posey, a clerical employee and voluntary member of CLC District Council 91, her husband Edward Posey and Stephen Shofstall sued after they were fired when Edward Posey and Shofstall – who held elected positions in the union – lost their respective elections. Edward Posey was the union business manager/secretary-treasurer and Shofstall was a union business representative.

The union declined to pay the three for any unused vacation time according to its bylaws. The trial court granted summary judgment for the union on the issue; the Indiana Court of Appeals reversed.

The Supreme Court affirmed with respect to Edward Posey and Shofstall, holding that under the union’s bylaws, it had an arrangement or policy preventing the disbursement of accrued but unused vacation pay to officers. The two had argued they were employees under the state’s Wage Payment Statute.

But the justices decided there was a genuine issue of material fact regarding whether Deborah Posey, as an employee, was entitled to her unused vacation pay. They held that a voluntary association, in the absence of an “arrangement or policy” on vacation pay with respect to employees, must comply with Indiana law and the Wage Payment Statute.

“[N]either the Union’s constitution nor its bylaws define the compensation of Union employees like Deborah. It is undisputed that the Union did not have a written vacation policy for employees during the period that Deborah worked there. Thus, to defeat her claim for accrued vacation under the Wage Payment Statute, the Union must show it had an ‘arrangement or policy’ that limited employees’ right to accrued vacation. We find the Union did not make a sufficient showing to preclude Deborah’s claim,” Justice Mark Massa wrote.

Her suit goes back to the trial court for more proceedings.
 

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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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