Eugene, OR – A federal First Amendment lawsuit brought by National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation staff attorneys and the Gibson Law Firm for Oregon public employee Debora Nearman against Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 503 has ended with a settlement agreement that will return nearly $3,000 in forced dues to Nearman. The refund represents the first return of forced fees as a result of the Foundation-won U.S. Supreme Court Janus v. AFSCME decision, which held that the First Amendment prohibits mandatory union fees.
Nearman, an employee at the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, filed the lawsuit in April challenging the constitutionality of mandatory union fees as a condition of government employment. After the Janus decision was issued, the writing was on the wall for SEIU officials, who quickly moved to settle the case and return more than two years of forced fees to Nearman.
In her complaint, Nearman objected to being required to financially support and associate with SEIU Local 503 because the organization actively opposes her personal views, including her religious beliefs and her husband’s public service.