Articles Posted in Labor & Employment Law

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The Eighth Circuit denied the hospital's petition for review of the Board's determination that it violated section 8(a)(1) of the National Labor Relations Act by interfering with nonemployee union representatives' use of its cafeteria; the Board's determination that it violated section 8(a)(5) by unilaterally changing its cafeteria access rules; and the Board's determination that the hospital violated section 8(a)(1) when it engaged in surveillance of two nonunion representatives. The court held that substantial evidence supported the Board's determination that the hospital violated the Act when it prohibited an employee from wearing union insignia in the hospital's atrium on the day of picketing. Therefore, the court denied the hospital's petition for review as to this issue. However, the Board incorrectly determined that the hospital violated the Act by telling two nonemployees that they were prohibited from wearing union shirts in the facility. Accordingly, the court granted the cross application for enforcement in part and granted the petition for review in part. View "North Memorial Health Care v. NLRB" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit against his former employer, NCC, for breach of contract and alleging claims under the Nebraska Wage Payment and Collection Act. Applying Nebraska's two-part test to determine whether an agreement was voidable as a product of duress, the court held that there was, at least, a genuine issue of material fact as to whether the threat of termination would support a claim of duress. Therefore, the court remanded for a determination of this factual issue. The court also held that, considering all relevant circumstances then existing and viewing the facts in the light most favorable to plaintiff, the Term Sheet was unjust and thus voidable as a product of duress given the alleged pressure brought to bear on him to sign the Mutual Rescission and Term Sheet. Therefore, the district court erred by granting summary judgment for NCC on the breach of contract claim. Likewise, the district court erred in granting summary judgment for NCC on the state law claim. View "Gilkerson v. Nebraska Colocation Centers" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit against his former employer, Skybridge, alleging claims under federal and state law based on Skybridge's denial of a promotion and ultimate termination of plaintiff based on his age. The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment for Skybridge, holding that the CEO's statement that the company was looking for a "New Face" was facially and contextually neutral when made to plaintiff. Under the McDonnell Douglas burden-shifting analysis, Skybridge articulated legitimate, nondiscriminatory reasons for selecting another person over plaintiff for the CTO position and for ultimately terminating plaintiff. In this case, plaintiff's position as IT director of fulfillment became superfluous. The court rejected plaintiff's two remaining claims of intentional misrepresentation and negligent misrepresentation. View "Aulick v. Skybridge Americas, Inc." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit against his former employer, MAT, alleging retaliation under the Minnesota Whistleblower Act, Minn. Stat. 181.932. The Eighth Circuit reversed the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of MAT, holding that a supervisor's comment -- viewed most favorably to plaintiff -- was sufficient to support a finding by a reasonable fact finder that an illegitimate criterion actually motivated the adverse employment action. In this case, the supervisor stated that plaintiff would be "on the street" if he did not falsify testing data regarding a particular product. The court explained that the comment provided a specific link between plaintiff's protected conduct and his termination. View "Sellner v. MAT Holdings, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment to the employer on plaintiff's claim of retaliatory discharge in violation of the Minnesota Whistleblower Act (MWA). The court held that there was no genuine issue for trial because no rational trier of fact could conclude on this record that plaintiff's protected activity was causally connected to his termination. Therefore, the district court thus did not err in concluding that plaintiff failed to satisfy his initial burden of establishing a causal connection between his protected activity and his termination sufficient to establish a prima facie case of retaliation under the MWA. Even assuming that plaintiff had established a prima facie case of retaliation, he has not shown that Plant Engineering's stated reason for terminating his employment—unsatisfactory job performance—was pretext for retaliation. View "Mervine v. Plant Engineering Services" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit against Frederick Tucker and the county sheriff, alleging unlawful retaliation after she supported a different candidate in an election for presiding judge. The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of summary judgment to Tucker based on qualified immunity, holding that plaintiff provided sufficient evidence for a reasonable fact finder to conclude that Tucker violated plaintiff's right to support an electoral candidate of her choice. Furthermore, the First Amendment right was clearly established at the time. View "Jenkins v. Tucker" on Justia Law

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After he was injured while working on MNA's railroad tracks, plaintiff and his wife filed suit against MNA under the Federal Employers' Liability Act (FELA) and under Arkansas state law. The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of MNA's motion for summary judgment, holding that no reasonable jury could find that MNA controlled or had the right to control plaintiff's work. In this case, NARS was the sole entity that had the right to control plaintiff's work. NARS hired plaintiff, trained him, and sent him to do maintenance work on railroads. MNA did not have a duty to warn plaintiff of the well-known dangers of rip-rap, and thus plaintiff's negligence claim failed as a matter of law. View "Royal v. MO & Northern AR Railroad" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit against McGraw-Hill, alleging claims of employment discrimination in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. 1981, and the Missouri Human Rights Act. The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of McGraw-Hill, holding that plaintiff failed to show a pretext for discrimination on his claim that two white counterparts were paid a higher salary; plaintiff failed to establish a case of salary discrimination on his claim that he was denied a spot bonus where no similarly situated employee was treated differently; in regard to the hostile work environment claim, plaintiff failed to show a causal connection between the alleged acts of harassment and his race; one race-related comment that plaintiff allegedly overheard did not constitute harassment sufficiently severe and pervasive to support a hostile work environment claim; and, in regard to the discriminatory discharge claim, even if plaintiff established a prima facie case of discriminatory discharge, he did not meet his burden to show that McGraw-Hill's proffered reason for discharging him was pretext for discrimination. In this case, plaintiff's documented performance deficiencies constituted a legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason for discharging him. Finally, any claim of retaliation failed because plaintiff failed to show a causal connection between the alleged retaliatory act and protected conduct. View "Stone v. McGraw-Hill Global Financial" on Justia Law

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EMT appealed the district court's denial of summary judgment in this consolidated putative class- and collective-action case. The district court granted partial summary judgment for plaintiff on the issue of EMT's liability to pay him for unpaid overtime. The Eighth Circuit held that the district court did not err in failing to give controlling deference to 49 C.F.R. 571.3(b)(1) in interpreting the term "covered employee" with respect to section 306 of the SAFETEA-LU Technical Corrections Act of 2008 (TCA), Pub. L. No. 110-244, Title III, 306(a)(2008). In light of the comprehensive redesign and conversion process the paralift vans underwent before being placed into service, the paralift vans plaintiff drove were not "designed or used to transport more than 8 passengers" under TCA 306(c). Accordingly, the Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's conclusion that EMT was liable to plaintiff for overtime pay. View "LaCurtis v. Express Medical Transporters" on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit affirmed the denial of the petition to vacate an arbitration award issued by a System Board of Adjustment under the Railway Labor Act, 45 U.S.C. 151 et seq. Petitioner, a pilot for a predecessor of Endeavor Air, had grieved his termination to the Board, arguing that his termination was without cause. The Eighth Circuit concluded that petitioner failed to allege any procedural deficiencies in the arbitration process and thus his procedural due process claim was without merit; the award does not violate public policy and petitioner's contention that the award affirms his termination was not a valid reason to set aside the award; because the Board's determination was not contrary to the plain language of the collective bargaining agreement (CBA), petitioner's argument that the Board's conduct violated the anti-harassment policy had no merit; and nothing in the CBA required any progression through the disciplinary measures and thus the Board properly applied the CBA. View "Sullivan v. Endeavor Air, Inc." on Justia Law