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Court of Appeals enforces NLRB order, finds investment fund manager jointly liable for unlawful acts at Hawaii resort

The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has enforced a National Labor Relations Board order finding that Oaktree Capital Management, L.P., an asset manager for investment funds, effectively controlled the management of Hawaii’s Turtle Bay Resort and shared responsibility for unfair labor practices committed by local managers.  

In an unpublished decision issued Sept. 26, the Court concluded that Oaktree and TBR Property, Inc. constituted a single employer and were jointly liable with Benchmark Hospitality, Inc. for unfair labor practices at the resort, located in Kahuku on the island of Oahu.

The Court found that the resort unlawfully denied access to representatives of UNITE HERE Local 5, which represents about 360 resort employees, and prevented the union from collecting dues at the resort.  In addition, the Court summarily enforced the Board’s March 2009 order (reissued in 2010) that Oaktree and TBR, along with Benchmark, violated federal labor law by refusing to bargain in good faith, suspending and terminating employees for their union activity, maintaining overly broad rules that prohibit employees from distributing literature in non-work areas during non-work times, and threatening to close the resort in retaliation for protected activity, among other ways.

In its ruling, the Board ordered the employer to stop the illegal activity, provide the union with information requested for bargaining, offer reinstatement to the terminated employee, and make whole any loss of earnings to the terminated and suspended employees.

Oaktree Capital, TBR Property and Benchmark Hospitality appealed the Board’s findings of joint liability and unlawful denial of access. In its 2-to-1 decision on Monday, the Court denied the appeal and enforced the Board’s order.

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