Westlaw Topical Highlights: Labor and Employment, February 24, 2016

February 24, 2016

Labor and EmploymentWestlaw Topical Highlights for Intellectual Property provides summaries of significant federal court decisions and legislative and administrative activities affecting Intellectual Property law. A Westlaw subscription is required to access the documents linked from this page.

Arbitration: Arbitration agreement improperly prohibited employee from bringing class action.  Totten v. Kellogg Brown & Root, LLC,  2016 WL 316019 (C.D.Cal.) An arbitration agreement entered into between a mining company and its employee, under California law, which required the employee to agree, as a condition of employment, that each dispute would be arbitrated on an individual basis, and that the employee could not pursue any dispute on a class action, collective action, or consolidated basis, interfered with the exercise of the employee’s substantive rights under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). Thus, the provision was unenforceable. The NLRA provided that employees had the right to engage in concerted activities for the purpose of collective bargaining or other mutual aid or protection, and bringing a class action was a “concerted activity” under the Act. 2016 WL 316019. (The full-text of the rest of the Topical Highlights is available within Westlaw Next, subscription required).     

Contracts: Massachusetts statute did not prevent enforcement of nurse’s non-solicitation agreement.  178 Lowell Street Operating Company, LLC v. Nichols 2016 WL 287060 (D.Mass.)

Workers’ Compensation: Offsite work event did qualify as “voluntary” for purposes of applying voluntary-recreational-program exception to workers’ compensation statute.  Shire v. Rosemount, Inc. 2016 WL 626074 (Minn.)

Benefit Plans: Phraseology used in certificate was insufficiently distinct to constitute clear grant of discretionary decisionmaking authority.  Stephanie C. v. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts HMO Blue, Inc. 2016 WL 629058 (C.A.1 (Mass

Discrimination: Termination of employee’s employment due to employer’s concerns about workplace violence was not pretext for retaliation.  U.S. ex rel. Hamrick v. GlaxoSmithKline LLC 2016 WL 628304 (C.A.1 (Mass.))

Public Employment: Former State Department employee lacked standing to assert claim against State Department for alleged failure to provide adequate body armor.  Nasuti v. U.S. Secretary of State John Forbes Kerry 2016 WL 287059 (D.Mass.)

Discrimination: Predicate of “qualification” did not render EEOC’s ADA action inappropriate for collective litigation or remedy.  Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. FedEx Ground Package System, Inc. 2016 WL 299045 (W.D.Pa.)

Discrimination: Ethnic discrimination is “racial discrimination” under Title VII.  Village of Freeport v. Barrella 2016 WL 611877 (C.A.2 (N.Y.))

Discrimination: Creation of sexual innuendo through use of retort “that’s what she said,” did not create sexually hostile work environment.  Posteraro v. RBS Citizens, N.A. 2016 WL 538452 (D.N.H.)

Unemployment Compensation: Petition for judicial review of Employment Security Board’s denial of unemployment benefits was timely, endowing court with jurisdiction.  Norris v. Kansas Employment Sec. Bd. of Review 2016 WL 683250 (Kan.)

Discrimination: McDonnell-Douglas framework was not proper framework for evaluating mixed-motive discrimination claims based on circumstantial evidence.  Quigg v. Thomas County School Dist. 2016 WL 692177 (C.A.11 (Ga.))

Workers’ Compensation: Employer did not offer suitable employment to injured worker when it offered him job located more than 50 miles away from his residence.  Falin v. Roberts Co. Field Services, Inc. 2016 WL 385757 (N.C.App.)

Discrimination: Female employee’s Title VII case alleging discrimination on basis of gender was largely unaffected by fact that her managers were female.  Jackson v. VHS Detroit Receiving Hosp., Inc. 2016 WL 700411 (C.A.6 (Mich.))

Hours and Wages: Regulation extending FLSA’s tip pool restrictions to all employers was reasonable interpretation of FLSA.  Oregon Restaurant and Lodging Ass’n v. Perez 2016 WL 706678 (C.A.9 (Nev.))

Workers’ Compensation: Choice of pharmacy at which necessary prescription medications were to be obtained belonged to workers’ compensation claimant, as opposed to employer.  Burgess v. Sewerage & Water Bd. of New Orleans 2016 WL 454064 (La.App. 4 Cir.)

Hours and Wages: Imposing maximum civil penalty of 25% was unwarranted after determination that roofing company willfully underpaid wages and supplements to workers.  Central City Roofing Co., Inc. v. Musolino 2016 WL 634652 (N.Y.A.D. 3 Dept.)