Articles Posted in Labor & Employment Law

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Brazil spent over three decades working for the Arkansas Department of Human Services. A 2010 disagreement with her supervisor eventually led her to seek a transfer to another division. When she did not receive a transfer, she sued the Department and several officials for alleged civil rights violations. None of her claims survived summary judgment. Brazil’s work environment did not improve. Brazil believes that she received lower performance evaluations in retaliation for the lawsuit. Brazil’s supervisors reassigned her from performing traditional administrative-assistant tasks to working in a document-scanning room, which required heavy lifting, long periods of sitting, and repetitious activities. Though her official title remained the same, Brazil regarded the assignment as a demotion because it required manual labor and diminished her opportunities for promotion. Brazil filed suit alleging retaliation and racial discrimination. A year into the litigation, Brazil changed positions. In her current job, Brazil reports to different supervisors and performs only administrative-assistant duties. The district court dismissed all of Brazil’s claims, except those against her former supervisors, which it rejected on summary judgment. The Eighth Circuit concluded that her claims were moot, vacated, and instructed the district court to dismiss the claims. View "Brazil v. Arkansas Department of Human Services" on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment to Walmart in an action alleging employment discrimination. The court held that plaintiff failed to file a charge of discrimination with the EEOC within 180 days of the alleged Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) violation. The court also held that plaintiff's failure to file his EEOC claim within 180 days was not the result of any misconduct by Walmart. In this case, failing to respond to a settlement demand made ten days before the statutory deadline, and accompanied by a statement that the employee would file a charge with the EEOC if the matter could not be settled, was not conduct that the employer should unmistakably have understood would cause the employee to miss the filing deadline. View "Rodriguez v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc." on Justia Law

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Howard, the circuit court clerk, hired Mahn as a deputy clerk. In 2014, Howard did not run for reelection. He supported fellow Democrat McKee. According to Mahn, Howard “summoned [her]” to “forcefully impress upon [her] the need for her to vote for McKee and the Democratic ticket.” She responded, “what you’re threatening is unconstitutional.” Mahn voted in the Republican primary election. She alleges that three weeks later, Howard told her: “ I know how you voted ... this could cause you your job.” Weeks later, Howard terminated Mahn’s employment, citing: “Poor work performance, unable to complete tasks correctly and within given time lines. Abuse of sick leave, insubordination by lying to assigned supervisor.” Mahn alleges that Wesley—Howard’s son, the county clerk—had “access to all voter information.” Mahn brought a First Amendment patronage-discharge claim under 42 U.S.C. 1983 against Jefferson County, Missouri; Howard and Wesley, individually and in their official capacities; and Reuter, in his official capacity as (successor) circuit clerk. The district court rejected the claims on summary judgment. The Eighth Circuit affirmed with respect to Wesley and the county. Besides her speculation that Wesley told Howard how she voted, Mahn has not presented any evidence that he improperly influenced her termination. The court remanded in part. Howard and Reuter have not established Howard would have terminated Mahn anyway for her performance issues. View "Mahn v. Jefferson County" on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment for CyberPower in an action alleging breach of contract, fraud, and unpaid wages. Plaintiff alleged that CyberPower breached a Compensation Agreement that secured his employment until the company reached a specific monetary sales threshold. The court held that there was no ambiguity on the question of whether CyberPower clearly intended to modify plaintiff's at-will status with the Compensation Agreement where the text of the agreement indicated that it governed only compensation. The court rejected plaintiff's remaining arguments. View "Ayala v. CyberPower Systems (USA), Inc." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit alleging that he was improperly rejected for the position of Criminal Investigator with the USPS in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), 29 U.S.C. 621 et seq., and that he should have been given preference for the position due to his status as a veteran. The district court granted the Postmaster General’s motion to dismiss the action under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). The Eighth Circuit held that the district court erred in dismissing the ADEA claim because plaintiff alleged a prima facie case of discrimination where he demonstrated that he had the educational and professional experience required for the position. Accordingly, the court reversed as to the ADEA claim and remanded for further proceedings. The court affirmed in all other respects. View "McPherson v. Brennan" on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of defendants' motion to dismiss an action filed by plaintiff, challenging the termination of his employment from the University. The court held that plaintiff's speech stemmed from his professional responsibilities and was made in furtherance of those responsibilities, and was therefore not protected under the First Amendment; the pre- and post-termination procedures did not violate plaintiff's Fourteenth Amendment due process rights; plaintiff failed to establish a substantive due process claim because he failed to show that the University President's decision to terminate him was both conscience shocking and in violation of one or more fundamental rights; the district court properly dismissed the individual capacity claims against the University President based on qualified immunity; and the district court properly dismissed the claims against defendants in their official capacity. View "Groenewold v. Kelley" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit against her former employer for hostile work environment sexual harassment and retaliatory termination in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Iowa Civil Rights Act (ICRA). Plaintiff was terminated after she burned a customer with her cigarette when he was sexually harassing her. The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of the ICRA claim as time-barred and held that the pendency of an EEOC review did not toll a state civil rights claim. The court rejected the Title VII claims on summary judgment where the customer's action did not constitute conduct so severe or pervasive to affect a term, condition, or privilege of plaintiff's employment. Furthermore, plaintiff failed to show that the employer new of the customer's harassing conduct but failed to take remedial action. The court also held that the retaliatory discrimination claim was time-barred. Finally, the court affirmed the district court's exclusion of evidence regarding previous sexual assaults and expert testimony. View "Hales v. Casey's Marketing Co." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit against her former employer for hostile work environment sexual harassment and retaliatory termination in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Iowa Civil Rights Act (ICRA). Plaintiff was terminated after she burned a customer with her cigarette when he was sexually harassing her. The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of the ICRA claim as time-barred and held that the pendency of an EEOC review did not toll a state civil rights claim. The court rejected the Title VII claims on summary judgment where the customer's action did not constitute conduct so severe or pervasive to affect a term, condition, or privilege of plaintiff's employment. Furthermore, plaintiff failed to show that the employer new of the customer's harassing conduct but failed to take remedial action. The court also held that the retaliatory discrimination claim was time-barred. Finally, the court affirmed the district court's exclusion of evidence regarding previous sexual assaults and expert testimony. View "Hales v. Casey's Marketing Co." on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit denied IATSE's petition for review of the Board's decision finding that IATSE violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) through its hiring practices. The court held that the Board's conclusion that it had jurisdiction over SMG Pershing was supported by substantial evidence; the Board's finding that IATSE operated an exclusive hiring hall with respect to Freeman, as well as to SMG Pershing, was supported by substantial evidence; substantial evidence supported the Board's finding that IATSE failed to show that suspending certain members was necessary for effective performance of representing its constituency and the Board's finding that IATSE violated section 8(b)(1)(A) and (2) of the NLRA by suspending these individuals from the referral list; substantial evidence supported the Board's decision that the refusal to refer two employees to the February 2013 Freeman job at the Cornhusker Hotel violated section 8(b)(1)(A) and (2) of the NLRA; and the ALJ's findings of fact, credibility determinations, and ultimate conclusion, which were all adopted by the Board on IATSE's claim that the charge with respect to the referral lists was untimely, were supported by substantial evidence. View "International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees v. NLRB" on Justia Law

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Aerotek petitioned for review of the Board's decision affirming the ALJ's findings that Aerotek violated the National Labor Relations Act in not hiring the Salts and not considering them for hiring. A "salting" campaign is a campaign by which they actively try to organize and recruit for their union on non-union jobsites. The Eighth Circuit held that substantial evidence supported the Board's finding that anti-union animus contributed to Aerotek's actions. The court also held that the Board abused its discretion by determining that one of the Salts was disqualified from full backpay and instatement. Therefore, the court affirmed the Board's finding of a violation, but remanded in part for reconsideration of the remedy. View "Aerotek, Inc. v. NLRB" on Justia Law