Timothy F. Haley, Esq.

We recently posted an article on our Workplace Class Action Blog that readers of our this blog should also be aware of.  You can access the article by clicking here.  The article reports on a recent decision by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan (in Detroit) certifying a class of over 20,000 nurses.  The plaintiffs allege that the hospital defendants engaged in an improper exchange of registered nurse wage information and that the effect of the exchange suppressed wages in violation of federal antitrust laws.  The Detroit case was one of five nearly identical lawsuits filed against hospitals in five different cities in 2006.  In three of those cases the nurses of one of the defendant hospitals were represented by a union.   Because of the unions each of those hospitals attempted to have the claims against them dismissed.   They argued that their conduct was protected by the non-statutory labor exemption to the antitrust laws because the wages of the registered nurses were the product of bona fide arm’s-length bargaining with the unions.  The courts in each of those cases rejected that argument and denied the employers’ motions.   Thus, the class certification issue addressed in the recent Detroit case is important even for employers that have unionized workforces.