LexisNexis® Legal Newsroom
Bad Things Happen When Management Fires HR Personnel Who Protests Racist Hiring Practices

Just a reminder that some managers still engage in really stupid behavior. I was reading this case about an HR Manager of a dentistry practice [ an enhanced version of this opinion is available to lexis.com subscribers ]. Following an interview between a dentist in her practice and an African-American...

Third Circuit Provides "Temporal Proximity" Retaliation Analysis

The Third Circuit recently released a non-precedential Title VII (and PHRA and 1981) retaliation opinion in Blakney v. City of Philadelphia [ an enhanced version of this opinion is available to lexis.com subscribers ]. The Court provided a succinct rundown of temporal proximity precedent involving two...

Missouri: Employee Need Not Show Comp Claim Was Exclusive Factor in Retaliatory Firing

A divided Supreme Court of Missouri held that in order to make a submissible case for retaliatory discharge under § 287.780 R.S.Mo., an employee must demonstrate that his or her filing of a workers’ compensation claim was a “contributing factor” to the employer’s discrimination...

Hold the Whistle: The Status of the Contract Employee Without a Contract

In Wurtz v. Beecher Metropolitan District, 2014 Mich. LEXIS 643 [ an enhanced version of this opinion is available to lexis.com subscribers ], the Michigan Supreme Court reversed the court of appeals, holding that the failure to renew the contract for a fixed term employee satisfies the Michigan's...

WV’s High Court Upholds State Public Policy Violation For Fired Employee Who Refused to Retaliate Against a Co-Worker Who Filed His Own Discrimination Claim

by Julie Arbore As West Virginia employers are undoubtedly aware, there is a cause of action in the state commonly known as a “ Harless claim” for wrongful discharge when an employee can show that his or her discharge contravenes some substantial public policy of the State of West Virginia...

SEC Sanctions Company for Whistleblower Retaliation

I drove my daughter to the airport today for her summer exchange program in Spain. On the way she asked me what I was going to blog about tomorrow and I told her whistleblowers. She was not familiar with that term so I explained it to her and her response was ‘ Oh you mean a snitch ’ which...

SCOTUS on Public Employee Free Speech

We're coming down the home stretch of another SCOTUS season. We still have a few labor and employment law cases left ( Noel Canning and Harris v. Quinn ) - we should have decisions in the next week or two. Yesterday, the Supreme Court issued its opinion in Lane v. Franks [ enhanced opinion available...

Supreme Court Clarifies Scope of First Amendment Protections For Public Employees

In Lane v. Franks et al ., the Supreme Court unanimously held today that when a public employee testifies truthfully outside of the scope of ordinary job duties, he or she testifies as a private citizen and not as a public employee for purposes of First Amendment protections [lexis.com subscribers may...

More Time for Michigan Whistleblowers?

Under Michigan's Whistleblowers' Protection Act, a claim must be brought within 90 days of the occurrence. This is a comparatively short limitations period. Recently, however, the NLRB and OSHA entered into a memorandum of understanding(OM 14-60, 5/21/14) that provides that persons with a claim...

When Retaliation Stands the Test of Time

Often when we consider the issue of temporal proximity in a retaliation case , we examine it from the standpoint of whether temporal proximity is sufficient to infer retaliatory intent when the adverse action happens right on the heels of the protected activity. What happens, however, if the converse...

Final Score: HIPAA 1 - Retaliation 0

See how a federal appellate court shut out a plaintiff's claims of retaliation after she was fired for forwarding confidential documents to herself, purportedly to preserve evidence for an age-discrimination lawsuit filed by a former coworker. What I did there, you see that? In New Jersey,...

California Workers’ Comp Case Roundup (9/11/2014)

CALIFORNIA COMPENSATION CASES Vol. 79 No. 8 August 2014 A Report of En Banc and Significant Panel Decisions of the WCAB and Selected Court Opinions of Related Interest, With a Digest of WCAB Decisions Denied Judicial Review CONTENTS OF THIS ISSUE © Copyright 2014 LexisNexis. All rights...

Federal Judge Dismisses EEOC Severance Agreement Lawsuit Against CVS

The Chicago Tribune is reporting that U.S. District Judge John Darrah has granted CVS’s motion to dismiss a lawsuit filed by EEOC, which challenged the company’s severance agreements as overly broad and retaliatory. Recall that the lawsuit challenged several garden-variety terms in standard...

A Whistleblower's Odyssey in Michigan

Bruce Whitman was the police chief for the city of Burton. His odyssey began in 2007 when he was not reappointed as the police chief in November of 2007. He filed suit under Michigan's Whistleblowers Protection Act alleging that he engaged in protected conduct in 2004 for opposing an ordinance where...

EEOC 0-2 on Severance-Agreement Lawsuits … But Does It Matter?

Recall that in October, a Chicago federal court dismissed a lawsuit filed by the EEOC against CVS, claiming that the pharmacy retailer’s severance agreements violated Title VII by employing allegedly retaliatory language. That court, however, failed to reach the merits of the case, instead dismissing...

You’ve Gotta Be Kidding. THIS Is Retaliation?

Guess what? You know those SEC disclosures about pending litigation that publicly held companies are required by law to make ? Well, if an employer says too much, it may be “retaliating” against the litigants. I am not making this up. International Monetary Systems, Ltd., is facing a jury...

Why Retaliation Claims Should Keep You Up at Night

In early 2009, Aker Plant Services terminated the employment of Tommy Sharp as part of workforce reduction. When Sharp asked his supervisor why the company chose him, as opposed to his less experienced, less senior co-workers, the supervisor replied that the company decided to keep younger employees...

Federal Appeals Court Rejects “Retaliatory Rehiring” Claim

As part of massive reorganization, Allstate severed the employment of approximately 6,200 employee agent. In connection with the layoff, Allstate offered all of the employee agents the opportunity to convert their employment status into that of an independent contractor selling Allstate insurance products...

When the Government Comes Knocking, Don’t Forget Not to Retaliate

Last week, I wrote about what to do when OSHA comes knocking . One issue I did not address is the potential for retaliation against employees who provide information to, or otherwise cooperate with, the government. Thankfully, the Department of Labor, on its own blog, recently provided a not-so-subtle...

Was the Ellen Pao Gender Bias Trial a Wakeup Call or Snooze for Businesses?

I intended to begin the week with a post about a company’s legal obligation to predict — yes, predict — an employee’s mental fitness for duty. Then, I started on a brief tangent on Ellen Pao , the former partner of a Silicon Valley venture capital firm, who just lost a highly...

“Stop Harassing Me!” = Protected Conduct to Support Retaliation Claim, Says Sixth Circuit

What happens when the alleged perpetrator of sexual or other unlawful harassment is also the person to whom the victim lodges a complaint of harassment? If the alleged perpetrator later fires (or causes the firing of) the victim, has the victim engaged in protected conduct (opposition of the harassment...

How Two Racial Slurs in 24 hours Can Create a Hostile Work Environment

Last year, I channelled Bill Clinton in this blog post about how courts rarely recognize a single incident or two as creating what the law deems a hostile work environment. Yeah, about that. Even a few isolated comments can create a hostile work environment. In Boyer-Liberto v. Fontainebleu...

Is This New Harassment Decision the End of the World for Employers?

Are harassment and retaliation lawsuits all going to the jury now? Are employers doomed? Are the plaintiffs’ lawyers popping the champagne corks? Is the EEOC dancing for joy? The employment law world is abuzz about last week’s racial harassment/retaliation decision from my own U.S. Court...

What is Retaliation in the Second Circuit Under the FLSA?

by Kevin Smith and Ryan Duffy On April 20, 2015, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit reversed a long-standing precedent when it held in Greathouse v. JHS Security Inc. that an internal oral complaint could be sufficient to demonstrate protected activity and form the basis for...

Sixth Circuit: Reasonable Belief About Unlawful Conduct Enough for SOX Retaliation

It’s hard to imagine that in the eight-plus years I’ve written this blog, there is any area of employment law that on which I have not yet touched—except, I think, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. Today, that changes. For the uninitiated, Sarbanes-Oxley (or SOX) is a federal statute, enacted...