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NLRB v. Little River Band of Ottawa Indians Tribal Government

Articles Discussing Case:

The Sixth Circuit Extends the NLRA's Reach to Tribal-Owned Casinos

Littler Mendelson, P.C. • July 08, 2015
The extent of the National Labor Relations Act's application to tribal-owned and operated enterprises on reservations is an open question in many circuits. Recently, two Sixth Circuit decisions resolved the question in favor of the Act's application to tribal casinos. On June 9, 2015, in NLRB v. Little River Band of Ottawa Indians Tribal Government, a Sixth Circuit panel concluded that the inherent sovereignty possessed by the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians did not preclude the NLRA's application to a tribe-owned casino on tribal trust land. Less than a month later, in Soaring Eagle Casino and Resort v. NLRB (July 1, 2015), another Sixth Circuit panel held that the NLRA applied to a casino owned and operated by the tribe on trust lands within the reservation, notwithstanding the tribe's inherent sovereignty and a treaty-based right to exclude. These decisions are among the latest in a recent, rapid shift in the law towards applying the NLRA to businesses on tribal lands.

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