Articles Posted in Labor & Employment 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

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The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of plaintiffs' claims against ConAgra in an action under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the Arkansas Minimum Wage Act. Plaintiffs alleged that they were entitled to compensation for time spent donning and doffing their protective equipment. The court held that plaintiffs' claims under the FLSA failed where ConAgra did not create a custom or practice under the 2012 Collective Bargaining Agreement for employees not to be compensated for donning and doffing their protective equipment. Rather, ConAgra continued a custom or practice that was in effect under the 2008 Collective Bargaining Agreement. Furthermore, the union and its employees have not objected to this practice. After reviewing Gerber Prods. Co. v. Hewitt, 492 S.W. 3d 856 (Ark. 2016), Act 914, and the codified text of the Act, the court predicted that if this issue were before the Arkansas Supreme Court today, it would not follow Gerber but would instead apply the terms of the parties' Collective Bargaining Agreement. Finally, the court held that plaintiffs' claim for "tool time" was correctly viewed as de minimis. View "Lyons v. Conagra Foods Packaged Foods LLC" on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment for St. Luke's in an action brought by a former employee, alleging discrimination in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). The court held that plaintiff failed to show that St. Luke's reason for his termination was pretext for unlawful discrimination. In this case, St. Luke's terminated plaintiff for his disclosure of confidential information in violation of hospital policies. The court also held that plaintiff failed to exhaust his administrative remedies on that claim, and he could not pursue it in federal court. View "Lindeman v. Saint Luke's Hospital of Kansas City" on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's decision to abstain, and held that the district court correctly determined that preemption was not facially conclusive and no exception to Younger abstention applied. In this case, Baywood filed suit against the Commissioner and DLI, alleging that the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) preempted the Minnesota Fair Labor Standards Act (MFLSA) and thus Baywood need not pay state penalties for any MFLSA violation. However, in a previous suit, DLI brought an administrative action against Baywood for failing to pay overtime compensation in violation of the MFLSA. View "Minnesota Living Assistance v. Peterson" on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment for Union Pacific in an action brought by plaintiff under the Federal Railway Safety Act, alleging that he was terminated for engaging in a protected activity. The court held that, viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to plaintiff, a reasonable jury could not find that retaliation for his reporting of his workplace injury was a contributing factor to his separation from employment with Union Pacific. Rather, his employment ended because of his absenteeism and his inability to complete the steps necessary for reinstatement. The court also held that plaintiff did not provide proof by a preponderance of the evidence that his separation from employment with Union Pacific was the result of retaliation for his seeking medical treatment. View "Hess v. Union Pacific Railroad Co." on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment for defendants in an action brought by plaintiff after he was terminated as an employee of the Arkansas State Treasurer. The court held that plaintiff's initial argument regarding his defamation, false light, and invasion of privacy claims were without merit because the district court had denied summary judgment on these issues; the district court appropriately granted Defendant Milligan, in his official capacity as Treasurer of the State of Arkansas, summary judgment on plaintiff's Rehabilitation Act claim where the Treasurer neither accepted nor distributed federal financial assistance; the district court's jury instructions on defamation were not erroneous; the district court did not abuse its discretion by failing to give plaintiff's proposed jury instructions regarding invasion of privacy, agency, and cat's paw theory as to the Americans with Disabilities Act claim; and plaintiff's claims regarding whistleblowing activities were not supported by the record and were therefore rejected by the court. View "Singer v. Harris" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit against her former employer under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), alleging that the employer violated USERRA by failing to promptly reemploy her and the violation was willful. The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's order granting relief to plaintiff under USERRA, holding that the district court did not clearly err by finding that the employer acted willfully and plaintiff was entitled to liquidated damages. View "Mace v. Willis" on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit granted the employee's petition for review of the Board's order finding that the company violated sections 8(a)(1) and (3) of the National Labor Relations Act. The employee argued that it did not fire an employee for union activity in violation of the NLRA, but that he was fired for misusing the employee's Wi-Fi and sleeping on the job. The court held that the Board did not hold the General Counsel to its burden of proving that discriminatory animus toward the employee's protected conduct was a substantial or motivating factor in the decision to discharge him. The court also held that the Board erred in determining the employer's post-termination interviews of the discharged employee's co-worker were an unfair labor practice as the questioning could not be said to reasonably tend to unlawfully coerce the interviewee. Therefore, the parts of the petition addressing the warning was enforced, but the Board's findings about the firing and the interviews were set aside. The court remanded for the district court to apply Wright Line to determine whether the company violated the Act in terminating the employee. View "Tschiggfrie Properties, Ltd. v. NLRB" on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of the city in an action brought by plaintiff, the former city attorney for Minot, North Dakota. The court also affirmed the district court's denial of plaintiff's motion seeking to sanction the city for its alleged malfeasance in losing evidence. The court held that plaintiff's sex-based harassment claim failed because the only articulated basis for concluding that she was experiencing sex-based harassment was that the city manager unfavorably compared her work style to the previous city attorney; plaintiff's sex-based retaliation claim failed because she never made a report of sex stereotyping, so such a report could not have been the reason the city fired her; plaintiff did not suffer reputational harm from the allegedly false statements about her job performance and termination in the affidavits accompanying the city's summary judgment motion; and plaintiff cited no authority for the novel proposition that a defendant in a civil action can violate due process simply by submitting evidence in court. Finally, the court held that plaintiff's challenge to the district court's denial of her motion for additional time to respond was not properly before the court; plaintiff forfeited any right to challenge the award of litigation costs; and plaintiff's unopposed motion to seal certain portions of the record was granted. View "Auer v. City of Minot" on Justia Law