Westlaw Topical Highlights: Labor and Employment, July 24, 2013

July 24, 2013

Labor and EmploymentTopical Highlights for Labor and Employment provides summaries of significant federal and state judicial decisions and legislative and administrative activities affecting labor and employment law. A Westlaw subscription is required to access the documents linked from this page

 Discrimination: Automotive store was not entitled to summary judgment on female parts sales manager’s discriminatory termination claims.  Wright v. AutoZone Stores, Inc. 2013 WL 3014130 (W.D.Mich.) An automotive store was not entitled to summary judgment on a terminated female parts sales manager’s sex discrimination claims under Title VII and the Michigan Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act (ELCRA). At the prima facie stage, fact issues existed as to whether the store manager was motivated by illegal animus and whether that animus was the proximate cause of her termination. At a minimum, she had shown that the circumstances surrounding her discharge raised an inference of discrimination. The store’s proffered reason for her termination, her use of hostile and abusive language and conduct, unprofessional behavior, and loss of confidence, was legitimate and nondiscriminatory. However, fact issues existed as to whether that reason was a pretext for sex discrimination. 2013 WL 3014130 (The full-texts of the rest of the Topical Highlights are available within Westlaw Next, subscription required)

Public Employment: Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) prohibited Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) from discriminating based on conflicts over employee’s military assignments.  McMillan v. Department of Justice 2013 WL 3722336 (M.S.P.B.)

Discrimination: Display of toy monkey was sufficient to support federal employee’s Title VII claim of race-based hostile work environment.  Burkes v. Holder 2013 WL 3685016 (D.D.C.)

Labor Relations Boards: President’s appointments to National Labor Relations Board were invalid under Recess Appointments Clause.  N.L.R.B. v. Enterprise Leasing Co. Southeast, LLC 2013 WL 3722388 (C.A.4)

Independent Contractors: Insurance companies’ district manager was independent contractor rather than employee.  Beaumont-Jacques v. Farmers Group, Inc. 2013 WL 3480277 (Cal.App. 2 Dist.)

Discrimination: Employee’s state-licensed use of medical marijuana was not “lawful activity” for employment discrimination purposes.  Coats v. Dish Network, L.L.C. 2013 WL 1767846 (Colo.App.)

Discrimination: Retail store was not entitled to summary judgment on female department manager’s Title VII hostile work environment claim.  E.E.O.C. v. Fred Meyer Stores, Inc. 2013 WL 3045705 (D.Or.)

Benefit Plans: Nonprofit insurer was ERISA fiduciary with respect to its collection of fee from multi-employer trust fund.  Pipefitters Local 636 Ins. Fund v. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Michigan 2013 WL 3746217 (C.A.6 (Mich.))

Whistleblowing: Employee was not a “whistleblower” under the whistleblower-protection provision of the Dodd–Frank Act.  Asadi v. G.E. Energy (USA), L.L.C 2013 WL 3742492 (C.A.5 (Tex.))

Abstention: District court was required to abstain, under , in deference to unemployment proceedings before state board.  Verizon New England, Inc. v. Rhode Island Dept. of Labor and Training 2013 WL 3742486 (C.A.1 (R.I.))

Benefit Plans: Pilot’s claim that disability plan wrongfully terminated his benefits was “minor dispute” under Railway Labor Act (RLA).  Oakey v. U.S. Airways Pilots Disability Income Plan 2013 WL 3762903 (C.A.D.C.)

Discrimination: District court did not err in refusing instruction on punitive damages in Title VII retaliatory termination case.  Bennett v. Riceland Foods, Inc. 2013 WL 3766816 (C.A.8 (Ark.))

Discrimination: Under “honest belief rule,” an employer’s reason for terminating police officer was not pretext under the ADEA.  Stewart v. Kettering Health Network 2013 WL 3168649 (S.D.Ohio)

Leaves: Employer’s mistaken belief that employee suffered serious health condition did not entitle employee to FMLA benefits.  Walker v. Trinity Marine Products, Inc. 2013 WL 3766810 (C.A.8 (Mo.))

Public Employment: City was not required to proceed through impasse resolution before modifying CBA due to financial urgency.  Headley v. City of Miami 2013 WL 3770839 (Fla.App. 1 Dist.)

Public Employment: Agency could indefinitely suspend federal employee, since it had reasonable suspicion to believe employee had committed a crime.  Hernandez v. Department of Navy 2013 WL 3759811 (M.S.P.B.)

Discrimination: Employer could be liable for associational handicap discrimination under state employment discrimination statute.  Flagg v. AliMed, Inc. 2013 WL 3752639 (Mass.)

Public Employment: Pension Code sections granting increases to disabled officer pensions are not mutually exclusive.  Gutraj v. Board of Trustees of Police Pension Fund of Village of Grayslake 2013 WL 3270840 (Ill.App. 2 Dist.)

Public Employment: Terminated Louisiana waterworks district employee stated plausible First Amendment retaliation claim under § 1983.  Hardesty v. Waterworks Dist. No. 4 of Ward Four 2013 WL 3198185 (W.D.La.)

Discrimination: Promotion rates rather than exam pass rates were proper metric for determining adverse effect.  Howe v. City of Akron 2013 WL 3779320 (C.A.6 (Ohio))