PHILADELPHIA - Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), employers must pay employees for all rest breaks lasting 20 minutes or less, a Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Oct. 13 (Secretary United States Department of Labor v. American Future Systems, Inc., et al., No. 16-2685, 3rd Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 19991).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Department of Labor's Employee Benefits Security Administration on Oct. 12 published in the Federal Register a proposal to delay the applicability of a final rule amending the claims procedure requirements that are applicable to employee disability benefit plans governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act.
CINCINNATI - A split Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Oct. 12 reversed a trial court's dismissal of a collective action accusing hhgregg Inc. and Gregg Appliances Inc., owner and operator of more than 220 appliance and electronic stores across the country, of violating federal and state wage laws in part by advancing commission-only employees a "draw" when their commissions fall below minimum wage and then requiring it to be paid back upon termination (Robert Stein, et al. v. hhgregg Inc., et al., No. 16-3364, 6th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 19908).
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - A class complaint accusing an ambulance service company of rest break violations belongs in federal court because the employer has shown that the claims are preempted and that federal question jurisdiction exists, a California federal judge ruled Oct. 12 (Meghan Silva, et al. v. Medic Ambulance Service, Inc., No. 17-876, E.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 169128).
FRESNO, Calif. - Dash Dream Plant Inc., a Merced County, Calif., orchid grower, will pay $110,000 to settle claims that it threatened employees that they would be fired if they got pregnant, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced Oct. 16 (U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Dash Dream Plant, Inc., et al., No. 16-1395, E.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 169984).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 16 denied a petition for writ of certiorari filed by a department store seeking to challenge the enforcement of Iskanian v. CLS Transportation Los Angeles, LLC, 327 P.3d 129 (Cal. 2014), and Sakkab v. Luxottica Retail N. Am., Inc., 803 F.3d 425 (9th Cir. 2015), in which has been determined that pre-dispute agreements to arbitrate Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) claims on an individual basis are unenforceable (Bloomingdale's, Inc. v. Bernadette Tanguilig, No. 16-1503, U.S. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 16 denied a petition for writ of certiorari filed by an employee asking the high court to decide the type of motive and causation necessary in cases brought under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) (Richard Duane Bartels v. 402 East Broughton Street, Inc., No. 17-208, U.S. Sup.).
PORTLAND, Ore. - A nonprofit trade association representing employers that sponsor benefit plans governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act filed suit in Oregon federal suit on Oct. 12 seeking a declaration that a reporting requirement included in Oregon's state-run retirement program is preempted by ERISA (The ERISA Industry Committee v. Tobias Read, No. 17-1605, D. Ore.).
ATLANTA - Although Section 1113(1) of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act is a statute of repose, as opposed to a statute of limitations, it is still subject to express waiver, the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said Oct. 12 in answering a certified question from the Northern District of Georgia (Secretary, U.S. Department of Labor v. Robert N. Preston et al., No. 17-10833, 11th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 19926).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 16 refused to hear an appeal filed by a pharmacist whose more than $1.8 million award on his wrongful termination and retaliation claims brought when he was fired after citing a needle phobia as the reason he could not give immunizations was reversed by the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals (Christopher Stevens v. Rite Aid Corporation, No. 17-227, U.S. Sup.).
CHICAGO - Too many individualized issues predominate in a suit over public employees who were forced to pay fees to a union, even if they were not members, a Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Oct. 11, upholding a trial court's ruling in a case on remand from the U.S. Supreme Court (Theresa Riffey, et al. v. Bruce V. Rauner, et al., No. 16-3487, 7th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 19868).
NEW YORK - The Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Oct. 11 affirmed a Connecticut federal judge's dismissal of a retirement plan participant's suit alleging that the plan's service provider breached its fiduciary duties, determining that the plan participant failed to prove that a fee-sharing agreement between the service provider and the plan was a violation of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (Richard A. Rosen v. Prudential Retirement Insurance and Annuity Co., No. 17-0239, 2nd Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 19821).
ST. LOUIS - The Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Oct. 12 determined that a Minnesota federal judge properly dismissed a putative class action filed by pension plan participants alleging violations of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act because once the plan was overfunded, the plaintiffs no longer fell within the class of plaintiffs authorized to bring suit under ERISA (James J. Thole, et al. v. U.S. Bank, et al., No. 16-1928, 8th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 19907).
ATLANTA - The 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Oct. 10 affirmed a district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of a retirement plan administrator after determining that the administrator's refusal to reinstate an employee's retirement benefits, based on the fact that the employee was found to incompetent and had a court-appointed conservator, was reasonable because the administrator did not have actual knowledge of the employee's incompetence (Michael E. Bauman, by and through Michael E. Sumner, conservator, v. Publix Super Markets, Inc. Employee Stock Ownership Plan et al., No. 17-11709, 11th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 19760).
NEW ORLEANS - A fired school counselor who complained of medical issues that prevented him from standing for long periods of time failed to show that his termination was the result of disability discrimination or his filing of a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, a Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Oct. 6 (Karl B. Molden v. East Baton Rouge Parish School Board, No. 17-30344, 5th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 19598).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Only Congress can set the jurisdiction of trial courts under the nation's constitutional structure, and based on that principle, Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 4(a)(5)(C) is nonjurisdictional, the attorney representing an employee in an age bias dispute argued Oct. 10 before the U.S. Supreme Court, adding that as a result, a district court may extend the time to appeal "as long as a motion is timely filed and there has been a showing of excusable neglect or good cause" (Charmaine Hamer v. Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago, et al., No. 16-658, U.S. Sup.).
CHICAGO - An employee's filing of an administrative charge within 300 days after he received a notice that his employment was terminated was untimely as the clock began ticking two years earlier when he was escorted out, a Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Oct. 5 (Arlin T. Calvin v. Sub-Zero Freezer, Co., No. 17-1968, 7th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 19426).
NEW ORLEANS - The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Oct. 6 affirmed a lower federal court's finding that a fungal infection that eventually caused a claimant to lose his eye was not an "accident" under his employer's accidental death and dismemberment and life insurance policy (Robert Ramirez v. United of Omaha Life Insurance Co., No. 16-11660, 5th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 19601).
ATLANTA - A son who shadowed his father at work for 15 months and then sued for wages following his father's termination may proceed with his claims as his evidence shows that he may have been a trainee during some of the time and an employee during other times, an 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Oct. 6, vacating a trial court's summary judgment ruling for the employer (Scott Axel v. Fields Motorcars of Florida, Inc., No. 16-13829, 11th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 19524).
DENVER - A Colorado district court erred when it declined to instruct the jury hearing an employee's gender discrimination and retaliation claims on pretext, a 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Oct. 4, finding that a reasonable jury could have found pretext based on the employee's evidence (Jaymee Barrington v. United Airlines, Inc., No. 16-1292, 10th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 19297).
ATLANTA - A chemist was unable to show that his termination for alleged theft of intellectual property, insubordination and poor performance was a pretext for age or race discrimination, an 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Oct. 3, affirming a trial court's decision (Moses Langford v. Magnolia Advance Materials, Inc., No. 17-11100, 11th Cir, 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 19113).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a memorandum on Oct. 4, withdrawing a December 2014 memorandum that the then-Attorney General Eric Holder had issued, which opined that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 encompasses gender identity per se.
BOSTON - A Massachusetts judge on Oct. 2 dismissed a retailer insured's breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit against its management liability insurer after finding that the underlying claims made against the insured are barred from coverage because they are directly tied to, or a natural outgrowth of, the insured's employment and labor practices (The Talbots Inc. v. AIG Specialty Insurance Co., No. 17-11107, D. Mass., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 161619).
CINCINNATI - U.S. Steel Corp. can't be held vicariously liable for alleged sexual harassment by one male worker toward another male worker because the alleged harasser was not a "supervisor" under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and because it responded appropriately when it was notified of the alleged harassment, a Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Oct. 3 (David Hylko, Jr. v. John Hemphill, et al., No. 16-2414, 6th Cir.).
BOSTON - The First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Sept. 29 affirmed a federal district court's finding that under the principles of res judicata, it was bound by a Georgia court judgment in favor of a cleaning franchisor in a dispute over the unit franchisee's classification for the purposes of employment benefits, saying the franchisee has "already had his bite at the apple and is not entitled to yet another" (Giovani Depianti, et al. v. Jan-Pro Franchising International, Inc., No. 16-2256, 1st Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 18890).