Wisconsin Retailer Accuses Labor Board of Overreach

MADISON, Wis. (CN) – Wisconsin-based home improvement giant Menards sued the National Labor Relations Board, claiming it is unlawfully trying to control the company’s relationship with independent contractors.

The six-page complaint filed Friday in Madison federal court by Menard Inc. attorney Gary Roehm stems from an NLRB action alleging that businesses engaging in delivery services to Menards were misclassified as independent contractors.

But after a two-day trial last year, an NLRB administrative law judge ruled that the businesses in question are contractors and not Menards employees.

“Having been unsuccessful in the first action, the board now wishes to do an end-run around that decision and extend its jurisdiction to control the relationship between Menard and its independent contractors,” the lawsuit states.

Three months after the trial, Menards sent a voluntary 60-day termination notice to one its independent contractors, K & S Delivery Services LLC.

A week later, K & S owner Kevin Fisher, who testified during the NLRB case, responded by filing an unfair labor practice charge with the board, claiming he was retaliated against for “engaging in protected concerted activities.”

According to the complaint, Menards assumed the board would dismiss Fisher’s claims based on the decision that his delivery business is a contractor and the National Labor Relations Act only covers retaliation against employees.

However, five months later, NLRB counsel allegedly contacted Menards saying it would proceed with the K & S complaint despite the independent contractor determination.

Menards wants a judge to declare that the board is exceeding its statutory authority by bring an action on behalf of an independent contractor. It also seeks costs and attorney’s fees.

The NLRB declined to comment on the lawsuit.

A Menards spokesperson did not immediately respond Monday to a request for comment.

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