A paper written by Jason Jendrewski ’10 won first place in the Dr. Emanuel Stein Memorial Writing Competition of the New York State Bar Association’s Labor and Employment Law Section. “The Wholesale Seizure of Major League Baseball’s Confidential Drug Testing Records and the Consequences for the War Against Substance Abuse in America’s Workplaces” will be published in the State Bar’s Labor and Employment Newsletter. Jendrewski also received an award of $3,000.
“The paper is essentially about federal labor policy and workplace drug testing,” Jendrewski said. “It provides what I believe to be a critical labor law perspective regarding the Major League Baseball Players Association’s litigation, United States v. Comprehensive Drug Testing, Inc., challenging the federal government’s seizure of its membership’s drug testing records in breach of a collectively bargained confidentiality provision.”
An aspiring labor and employment lawyer, Jendrewski is a lifelong sports fan who has had several “dream jobs,” as he dubbed them, with sports organizations. Currently, he is a law clerk at the National Football League Management Council, and, formerly he was a legal intern in the Labor Relations Department of the Office of the Commissioner of Major League Baseball. Before attending law school, he worked as a corporate account manager at the New York Islanders Hockey Club and as a labor paralegal at Proskauer Rose LLP, where he was exposed to baseball salary arbitration work.
A Prince Merit Scholar and an Articles Editor of the Journal of Corporate, Financial and Commercial Law, his other internships include serving as a judicial intern for Senior District Judge Denis R. Hurley of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York and as a Peggy Browning Fellow at the Screen Actors Guild. A graduate of the Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations, Jendrewski is president of the Cornell Class of 2005 and a member of the Board of Directors of the Cornell ILR Alumni Association.
The case addressed in his paper dealt with a 2004 raid by the federal government of MLB’s drug testing labs, during which the 2003 test results of all the players were seized, despite the fact that the government’s search warrants were for the test results of only 11 players. The drug testing records at issue were created pursuant to a landmark collective bargaining agreement between the players and the clubs, which established baseball’s drug testing program, and the results from the initial season were to be used solely to determine the extent of steroid use in baseball, not to punish individual players. Three federal district courts found the government’s conduct to be unlawful as an unreasonable search and seizure, but the Ninth Circuit reversed the decisions in a consolidated matter and issued two opinions adverse to the Players Association. Most recently, the case was reheard by an en banc panel of 11 judges which overturned the prior decision and ruled against the federal government. The judges also established new rules for computer searches by federal agents. However, Jendrewski said, this victory may be short-lived, because the U.S. Solicitor General has asked for an unprecedented reconsideration of the decision by all 27 Ninth Circuit judges.
“I have to admit that as a baseball fan I was curious about which players may have tested positive,” Jendrewski said. “But as a law student, I was deeply disturbed by the government's conduct, which, in addition to likely violating the Fourth Amendment, infringed upon the players' rights of confidentiality and anonymity protected by their collective bargaining agreement and threatened the continued viability of baseball's drug testing program.” The government's conduct was particularly troublesome, he said, given “the important federal policies of eradicating substance abuse in the workplace and encouraging free and private collective bargaining to settle terms and conditions of employment, like drug testing, for unionized employees.”
According to Jendrewski, his article addresses significant policy matters that have not received their due consideration by either the courts or the media. “If the litigation proceeds, it is imperative that the court of final appeal consider these labor-oriented issues and the prospective consequences for drug testing in America's unionized workplaces, he said."