Soremekun v. Thrifty Payless, Inc., 509 F.3d 978 (9th Cir. 2007)

Adediji Adesola Soremekun, who was employed as a pharmacist at Thrifty Payless d/b/a Rite Aid, was subject to a collective bargaining agreement that existed between Rite Aid and the United Food and Commercial Workers Union. After resigning his employment, Soremekun filed a lawsuit in which he alleged claims for breach of contract, failure to pay wages in violation of the California Labor Code and related claims. The Ninth Circuit affirmed summary judgment of Soremekun’s contract and related claims on the ground that he had failed to exhaust the grievance procedures that were available to him under the collective bargaining agreement. Further, the Court affirmed summary judgment of the Labor Code claims on the ground that those claims had not been filed prior to the expiration of the 6-month limitations period set forth in the collective bargaining agreement. Compare Ortega v. Contra Costa Cmty. College Dist., 156 Cal. App. 4th 1073 (2007) (public employee’s claims for race discrimination and infliction of emotional distress were improperly dismissed for failure to exhaust administrative remedies provided by a collective bargaining agreement).