Indian Tribes Continue to Challenge the NLRB's Jurisdiction Over Casinos Located on Indian Lands
by Gerard Morales
Indian tribes continue to challenge the NLRB's jurisdiction over casinos located on Indian lands and courts continue to side with the NLRB.
In Casino Pauma, the 9th Cir. decided on April 26, 2018, that under the test established in Donovan v. Coeur d’Alene Tribal Farm 751 F.2d 1113 (9th Cir. 1985) the NLRB had jurisdiction over the Casino owned by the federally recognized Pauma Tribe and located on Pauma reservation lands.
Under Coeur d’Alene, a federal law of general applicability, such as the NLRA, applies to tribes unless: (1) the law touches exclusive rights of self-governance in purely intramural matters; (2) application of the law would abrogate rights guaranteed by Indian treaties; or (3) there is proof by legislative history or some other means that Congress intended the law not to apply to Indians on their reservations.
The 9th Cir. found that none of those exceptions were pertinent in this case.
The other two circuit courts that have considered the issue have also upheld the NLRB jurisdiction. San Manuel Indian Bingo and Casino v. NLRB 475 F.3d 1306 (D.C. Cir. 2007) and NLRB v. Little River Band of Ottawa Indians Tribal Government 788 F.3d 537 (6th Cir. 2015).
Jerry Morales is Of Counsel in the Phoenix office of Snell & Wilmer. His practice is concentrated in labor, employment and construction law.