Issue: Is a state court claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress preempted by the Railway Labor Act in Nebraska?
|Area of Law:||Employee Law|
|Keywords:||Claim preemption; Railway Labor Act; Intentional infliction of emotional distress|
|Cited Cases:||319 N.W.2d 88; 834 F. Supp. 1468; 959 F.2d 698|
|Cited Statutes:||45 U.S.C.S. §§ 151 et seq.; LMRA § 301;|
Preemption by the Railway Labor Act ("RLA") of a claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress has never been directly addressed in Nebraska. See Gregory G. Sarno, Annotation, Pre-emption, by Railway Labor Act (45 U.S.C.S. §§ 151 et seq.), of Employee’s State- Law Action for Infliction of Emotional Distress, 104 A.L.R. Fed. 548 (1991). The standard for determining whether a claim will be preempted by the RLA is whether the dispute is grounded in the collective bargaining agreement. If the collective bargaining agreement is the source of the employee’s claim, the claim will be preempted. Hawaiian Airlines, Inc. v. Norris, 114 S. Ct. 2239, 2246-47 (1994); see also Babb v. United Food & Commercial Workers Dist. Union, Local 271, 448 N.W.2d 168 (Neb. 1989) ("LMRA § 301 applies only in the interpretation of a collective bargaining agreement . . . ."). The standard for determining preemption under § 301 of the Labor Management Relations Act ("LMRA") is identical to the standard for determining preemption under the RLA. Hawaiian Airlines, 114 S. Ct. at 2247.
A federal district court sitting in Nebraska has addressed whether § 301 of the LMRA preempts a state law emotional distress claim. In Behrens v. John Hancock Mut. Life Ins. Co., 834 F. Supp. 1468 (D. Neb. 1993), an employee brought an action for intentional infliction of emotional distress against his employer after the employer started an investigation into the employee’s sales techniques and contacted the employee’s clients. The employer made statements about the employee to […]