U.S. Supreme Court Denies Petition for Certiorari

The U.S. Supreme Court on January 23, 2012, denied a Petition for Certiorari filed by the Pacific Legal Foundation on behalf of the California Grocers Association (CGA) that challenged the legality of the City of Los Angeles’ Grocery Worker Retention Ordinance.

The ordinance requires grocery companies that acquire an existing grocery store location to retain the employees of the predecessor company in certain circumstances. CGA had originally filed a lawsuit in 2006 against the City of Los Angeles to overturn the ordinance. Two lower courts ruled in favor of CGA stating the ordinance was preempted by existing federal authority over labor-management relations.

Last July, the California Supreme Court reversed those decisions concluding that federal labor law does not give an employer the absolute right to choose its employees, and does not prevent state and local governments from regulating hiring and firing decisions.

In November, the Pacific Legal Foundation was retained by CGA to petition the U.S. Supreme Court for review of the California high court’s ruling. PLF argued that compelling retention of employees after a new owner acquired a store would violate the new owner’s negotiating rights under federal labor law by potentially binding the employer in an unwanted relationship with an individual employee and their union.

“We are very disappointed with the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision denying review of our case,” said CGA President Ronald Fong. “Despite the Court’s decision, I am confident the Association did the right thing in challenging this very damaging ordinance.”

Three other cities, San Francisco, Gardena and Santa Monica have passed similar ordinances.

The court denied review without comment.