Articles Posted in Labor & Employment Law

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The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment for defendant in an action alleging that plaintiff's injuries were caused by defendant's negligence in driving a tractor trailer truck. The court held that the workers' compensation benefits plaintiff received were his exclusive remedy against defendant. In this case, defendant and plaintiff entered into an employment relationship in which Swift and Johnson were joint employers mutually liable under Iowa law to provide plaintiff workers' compensation benefits when he suffered a work-related injury, an obligation Swift has fully performed. View "Quiles v. Johnson" on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment for DCDC in an action alleging claims of gender, age, and disability discrimination under state and federal civil rights laws. Plaintiff, a 56 year old woman, worked as a correctional officer until she was injured in inmate altercations. After plaintiff worked the maximum allowable number of days of light duty pursuant to the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), she was terminated when no other suitable position was found. The court held that plaintiff failed to establish a prima facie case of sex discrimination; plaintiff's prima facie evidence of bad faith supporting her claim of failure to accommodate/disability was rebutted by the incontrovertible evidence that plaintiff could not have been reasonably accommodated; and plaintiff's age discrimination claim failed because she did not produce evidence of a similarly situated younger person who was treated differently. View "Faulkner v. Douglas County" on Justia Law

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At issue in this case was whether the Labor Management Relations Act completely preempts a Minnesota Human Rights Act claim for disability discrimination brought by a former employee of a nuclear power plant. The Eighth Circuit reversed the district court's denial of remand to state court and grant of judgment on the pleadings to the employer, holding that the employee's claim could not be resolved without interpreting a collective-bargaining agreement. The court held that section 301 of the Act completely preempted plaintiff's disability discrimination claim under the Minnesota Human Rights Act; the district court had jurisdiction over the removed matter; and the judgment on the pleadings was properly granted because the section 301 claim was time-barred. View "Boldt v. Northern States Power Co." on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment to Trimark in an action filed by plaintiff, alleging that she was terminated from her job as an executive housekeeper because of her age, in retaliation against her, because she took protected leave, and because she opposed Millennium's discriminatory practices. The court held that plaintiff failed to provide direct evidence that she was retaliated against because of her deposition testimony. Under the McDonnell-Douglas framework, even assuming plaintiff could establish a prima facie case of retaliation, Millennium had clearly shown a legitimate non-discriminatory or retaliatory reason for firing her. In this case, Millennium's internal investigation credibly exposed that plaintiff regularly altered employee hours without using a company-sanctioned form. The court also held that plaintiff failed to show a specific link between any age discrimination and her termination sufficient to support the inference that the discrimination was the cause of her termination. Finally, plaintiff failed to provide any direct evidence that she was fired because she took protected leave under the Family Medical Leave Act. View "Naguib v. Trimark Hotel Corp." on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment for Northern in an action alleging that the company failed to accommodate plaintiff's disability in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The court held that plaintiff's arguments did not establish a genuine dispute of material fact that Northern did not interact in good faith as a matter of law. Under the circumstances, the timing of Northern's response was insufficient to support a finding that the company did not act in good faith; there was no evidence to support a finding that Northern prematurely abandoned the interactive process; and Northern did not attempt to demonstrate that some other boot would be as effective as a boot that conformed to the performance standards. View "Sharbono v. Northern States Power Co." on Justia Law

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Employees of a chicken processing plant filed a class action lawsuit, alleging their employer failed to pay certain wages in violation of Arkansas state law and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), 29 U.S.C. 201. More than 1,000 workers opted in. The class was subsequently decertified and claims were subjected to the two-year FLSA limitations period. The parties eventually settled their dispute out-of-court for a confidential amount made known to the court, which approved the agreement but declined to award the agreed-upon $87,500.00 in attorneys’ fees, costs, and expenses. The district court, sua sponte, reduced the fees awarded to $22,500.00. The Eighth Circuit remanded with instructions to award the agreed-upon fees. The attorneys’ fees-to-recovery ratio alone is not the sole determining factor. In light of the need to focus on multiple factors and not just one, and in light of the strong likelihood that the parties’ agreement is reasonable, any required review by the district court is light and the agreed-upon award is not outside the range of what would be approved. View "Melgar v. OK Foods" on Justia Law

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Federal law bars “any person who has been convicted of any criminal offense involving dishonesty or a breach of trust” from becoming or continuing as an employee of any institution insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), 12 U.S.C. 1829(a)(1)(A) (Section 19) without regard to the age of the convictions. Disqualified persons may apply to the FDIC for waivers. Banking institutions may sponsor waiver applications. Wells Fargo, an FDIC-insured bank, requires job applicants to answer whether they had a conviction of a crime involving dishonesty. In 2010, Wells Fargo instituted a fingerprint-based background check for current and potential employees, which returns all criminal convictions. In 2012, Wells Fargo re-screened its entire Home Mortgage division, then terminated employees verified to have Section 19 disqualifications, without informing them of the availability of waivers or offering to sponsor waivers. Wells Fargo terminated at least 136 African Americans, 56 Latinos, and 28 white employees because of Section 19 disqualifications, and withdrew at least 1,350 conditional job offers to African Americans and Latinos and 354 non-minorities. In a suit, alleging race-based employment discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the court granted Wells Fargo summary judgment. The Eighth Circuit affirmed. Even if Wells Fargo’s policy of summarily terminating or not hiring any disqualified individual creates a disparate impact, the bank’s decision to comply with the statute’s command is a business necessity under Title VII. View "Williams v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A." on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit reversed the district court's order granting summary judgment for Dollar General in an action brought by plaintiff, after returning from military service, alleging that the company denied him reemployment as required under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA). The court held that there was a genuine dispute of material fact as to plaintiff's resignation; a reasonable jury could find that plaintiff's application for the store manager position at the Bryant store was sufficient to give a reasonable employer adequate notice that he was a returning service member seeking reemployment; Dollar General was not entitled to judgment as a matter of law on plaintiff's USERRA claim because he was not obligated to seek reemployment through the leave coordinator; and judicial estoppel did not bar plaintiff's USERRA claim. View "Scudder v. Dolgencorp, LLC" on Justia Law

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The 2013 Public Employment Labor Relations Act (PELRA) did not infringe on the First Amendment rights of a group of parents who provide home care services to their disabled children. PELRA applied to persons who provide in-home care to disabled Medicaid recipients, and authorized covered employees to organize and to designate by majority vote an exclusive representative to negotiate employment terms with the state. The parents complained that the Act unconstitutionally compelled them to associate with the exclusive negotiating representative. Determining that the parents had Article III standing, the Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's judgment and held that, under Minnesota State Board for Community Colleges v. Knight, the current version of PELRA allowed the homecare providers to form their own advocacy groups independent of the exclusive representative, and it did not require any provider to join the union. Therefore, the state did not impinge on the parents' right not to associate by recognizing an exclusive negotiating representative. View "Bierman v. Dayton" on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment for Wells Fargo in an action alleging that the bank violated the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) in terminating plaintiff's employment. The court held that the district court identified exactly the two policies that plaintiff challenged. The court also held that plaintiff failed to establish a prima facie case of disparate impact discrimination under the ADEA where plaintiff was disqualified for the job he held due to a prior conviction for fraud and he failed to present statistical evidence of any kind that the two challenged policies created a disparate impact among Wells Fargo employees older than 40. View "Eggers v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A." on Justia Law