Supreme Court Sets Stricter Standards for Temporary Injunctions in Starbucks Case

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On June 13, the Supreme Court sided with Starbucks, ruling that the NLRB must apply a strict standard for issuing temporary injunctions under the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”).

In Starbucks Corp. v. McKinney, the NLRB tried to enjoin Starbucks to temporarily reinstate workers who were fired for allegedly violating company policies. The NLRB initially convinced a lower court to reinstate the employees while the case was pending. After the lower court ruled against Starbucks, on appeal Starbucks argued that the lower court applied an incorrect legal standard in determining whether the NLRB’s request for an injunction of reinstatement should be granted.

The Supreme Court agreed, holding that courts must apply well-established principals for preliminary injunctions (really:  a traditional four-factor test) to protect employers from potentially unjustified temporary reinstatements. Effectively, the Supreme Court ruled that the NLRB had to meet a higher burden of proof before obtaining temporary relief for employees.

For employers, the ruling highlights the importance of reviewing and strengthening workplace policies and employee relations programs to reduce the risk of unfair labor practice claims.

For more information on how to strengthen your workplace policies, please contact us at

This material is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor does it create a client-lawyer relationship between MNK Law and any recipient. Recipients should consult with counsel before taking any actions based on the information contained within this material.