Articles Posted in Labor & Employment Law

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An arbitration agreement lacking a valid delegation clause leaves the remaining arbitration agreement, as a whole, open to review for validity. The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of PrimeLending's motion to compel arbitration against plaintiff. Plaintiff filed suit under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), alleging that she was not paid for all earned wages and overtime pay. The court held that the parties never entered into a contract relating to the arbitration provision and the delegation provision. In this case, the arbitration provision was not a validly formed contract due to a lack of acceptance. Therefore, plaintiff did not contract with PrimeLending to arbitrate any disputes between them, nor was a contract formed to delegate this decision to an arbitrator. View "Shockley v. PrimeLending" on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of OGT in an action brought by the oil field construction company to quiet a pipeline title based on defendant's ineligibility to claim a lien under North Dakota Century Code 35-24-04. The court agreed with the district court that defendant was an employee, rather than an independent contractor, and that section 35-24-04 does not confer lien rights upon employees. In this case, the factors that indicated that defendant was an employee include, among other things, that defendant earned a weekly salary that OGT paid him regardless of the number of hours, amount of work, or number of projects he completed; defendant completed a W-4 to indicate his tax withholdings; OGT withheld and paid employment taxes on defendant's wages and reported his income to him and the IRS on a Form W-2; OGT offered defendant regular employment benefits; and he worked full-time for OGT and no one else. View "Oil & Gas Transfer LLC v. Karr" on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit denied the company's petitions for review and enforced the Board's order determining that the company unlawfully suspended an employee for engaging in protected concerted activity in violation of the National Labor Relations Act. The court held that there were multiple indications of discriminatory motive here where the company abruptly indicated its hostility to the employee's behavior by sending him home after his repeated refusal to work. The court also held that the burden shifted to the company to prove that it would have taken the same action absent the protected activity. In this case, the ALJ did not credit the company's allegation that the employee misbehaved and therefore did not credit its defense. In light of the circumstances, the court held that this case did not involve extraordinary circumstances justifying the reversal of the ALJ's credibility findings. Therefore, there was substantial evidence that the company committed a labor violation. Finally, the ALJ and Board did not err by denying the company's motions to reopen the record. View "St. Paul Park Refining Co., LLC v. NLRB" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit against the sheriff and several other county employees, alleging various claims related to the treatment plaintiff asserted he suffered as a result of his political beliefs and associations. The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment to the sheriff on the First Amendment discrimination and retaliation claims. The court held that both claims suffered from the same fatal flaw because they lacked an adverse employment action. In this case, none of the complained-of actions, either together or separately, constitute an adverse employment action. View "Charleston v. McCarthy" on Justia Law

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The Board sought enforcement of it its order finding that Anderson violated section 8(a)(5) and (1) of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), by failing to make contractually mandated contributions to the CLT&E Funds and the union. The Eighth Circuit granted the Board's application for enforcement of its order and denied Anderson's petition for review. The court held that the union's 2015 unfair labor practice charge was timely. The court also held that the record did not support Anderson's argument that the deposition testimony at issue served as the basis for the charge. Rather, the Board found that even without relying on the depositions, the record established that Anderson violated section 8(a)(5) by withdrawing recognition from the union and by repudiating the terms of the 2014-2018 Heavy Highway Agreement. Finally, the court rejected Anderson's argument that the Board erred in failing to find that the union induced its failure to pay in May 2015. View "NLRB v. Anderson Excavating" on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment to St. Luke's in an action brought by plaintiff, alleging that the hospital interfered with her rights under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The court held that plaintiff's case consists of an unpersuasive argument of temporal proximity combined with her subjective belief that she was being treated differently and a few stray comments that she perceived to interfere with her FMLA rights. The evidence did not undermine or even raise a genuine issue of material fact regarding St. Luke’s legitimate, nondiscriminatory reasons for her termination: her work performance. Therefore, plaintiff failed to present a submissible case of retaliation for exercising her FMLA rights. View "Beckley v. St. Luke's Episcopal-Presbyterian Hospitals" on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit reversed the district court's order vacating an arbitration award originally in favor of the union. The court held that the arbitration award drew its essence from the collective bargaining agreement. In this case, the arbitrator appropriately considered the relevant language of the Recognition Clause, even though it did not quote the Recognition Clause in its entirety. Accordingly, the court remanded for further proceedings. View "National Elevator Bargaining Assoc. v. International Union of Elevator Constructors" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit against her former employer, alleging violations of the Minnesota Human Rights Act (MHRA) and the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of plaintiff's MHRA claims on alternative grounds. The court held that, assuming that the company took adverse action against plaintiff during a meeting when the CEO raised an "exit strategy," plaintiff failed to show that the action was taken because of protected opposition to an unlawful employment practice under the MHRA. Furthermore, the decision to arrange an exit strategy was not motivated by plaintiff's marital status. View "Harrell v. Handi Medical Supply, Inc." on Justia Law

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On rehearing en banc, the Eighth Circuit reversed the district court's denial of summary judgment to defendant in a 42 U.S.C. 1983 action brought by plaintiff, alleging that defendant, plaintiff's boss, retaliated against him in violation of the First Amendment. In this case, plaintiff had run against his boss in a primary election and had publicly made statements about the sheriff's department and his plans to improve it. Defendant won the election and then terminated plaintiff's employment, claiming that plaintiff's campaign violated the department's rules of conduct. The court held that defendant was entitled to qualified immunity because he did not violate a clearly established statutory or constitutional right of which a reasonable person would have known. As in Nord v. Walsh. Nord, 757 F.3d 734, defendant could have reasonably believed that plaintiff's speech was at least potentially damaging to and disruptive of the discipline and harmony of and among co-workers in the sheriff's office and detrimental to the close working relationships and personal loyalties necessary for an effective and trusted local policing operation. View "Morgan v. Robinson" on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit denied Wal-Mart's petition for review of OSHA's citation for two purported violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act's regulation relating to bloodborne pathogens. OSHA alleged that Wal-Mart failed to comply with regulations pertaining to providing hepatitis B vaccinations to employees who voluntarily served on a Serious Injury Response Team (SIRT) at Wal-Mart's Alachua, Florida, distribution center. The court held that substantial evidence supported the ALJ's finding that the collateral duty exception did not apply in part because SIRT employees did not respond to workplace injuries "generally at the location where the incident occurred" as subparagraph b. of the Occupational Exposure to Bloodborne Pathogens Enforcement Procedures required. The court also held that substantial evidence supported the ALJ's decision to uphold Citation One where Wal-Mart did not provide four SIRT members with the third dose of the vaccine. Furthermore, substantial evidence supported the ALJ's decision to uphold Citation Two, and the ALJ did not err by finding that Citation Two was a repeat violation, where Wal-Mart failed to articulate through record evidence how the failure to offer the hepatitis B vaccine to the SIRT employees resulted in a different hazard than occurred from the failure to offer the vaccine to the retail store employees in 2012. View "Wal-Mart Stores East, LP v. Acosta" on Justia Law