Mealey's Employment

  • May 29, 2024

    8th Circuit Reverses Dismissal Of Mayo Clinic Workers’ COVID-19 Vaccine Claims

    ST. PAUL, Minn. — Three workers who refused to be vaccinated against COVID-19 and were denied religious exemptions and two who were granted exemptions but refused their employer’s alternate testing requirements may all proceed with their religious accommodation claims against their employers as the trial court erred when it granted dismissal to The Mayo Clinic, Mayo Clinic Health System-Southeast Minnesota Region and Mayo Clinic, Ambulance (together, Mayo Clinic), an Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled, finding in part that the Minnesota Human Rights Act (MHRA) provides a cause of action for failure to accommodate religious beliefs.

  • May 29, 2024

    N.J. High Court: Real Estate Independent Contractor Agreement Is Enforceable

    TRENTON, N.J. — An independent contractor agreement between a broker and a real estate salesperson is enforceable under the New Jersey Real Estate License Act, also known as the Brokers Act, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled, reversing an appellate panel’s affirmance of a trial court’s denial of a broker’s motion to dismiss and remanding for dismissal of the salesperson’s putative class complaint.

  • May 28, 2024

    5th Circuit Again Finds High Pay Workers Not Paid On ‘Salary Basis’ Owed Overtime

    NEW ORLEANS — Two workers who each earned more than $100 per hour do not fall within the Fair Labor Standards Act’s (FLSA) exemptions for “highly compensated employees” or “learned professionals” as they are not paid on a “salary basis,” a Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled May 24 in a second pass at the appeal by the employer and affirming a trial court’s judgment; however, the panel vacated the judgment imposing liquidated damages and remanded for reconsideration, finding that new evidence presented by the employer should have been considered.

  • May 24, 2024

    $30M Settlement Between Jan-Pro, Franchisees Granted Final Approval

    SAN FRANCISCO — A $30 million wage-and-hour settlement between Jan-Pro Franchising International Inc. and California cleaning franchisees in a case in which the franchisees alleged that they were misclassified was granted final approval on May 23 by a federal judge in California, who also partially granted and partially denied a motion for attorney fees and service awards.

  • May 23, 2024

    $5.5M Amazon COVID-19 Screenings Pay Settlement Granted Preliminary Approval

    FRESNO, Calif. — A federal magistrate judge in California on May 22 granted preliminary approval of a $5.5 million settlement after supplemental briefing and a revised class notice was filed in two consolidated cases by California workers who accuse Services LLC of failing to pay them for time spent undergoing COVID-19 symptom screenings before their shifts.

  • May 22, 2024

    Federal Judge: WARN Act Bakery Worker Class Owed Nearly $3M In Damages

    BURLINGTON, Vt. — A federal judge in Vermont partially granted a dissolution receiver’s summary judgment motion in a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act of 1988 (WARN Act) lawsuit brought by a class of workers after three bakeries ceased operations and determined that the class is owed damages of $2,759,502.02; however, the judge determined that a bench trial must be held to determine whether the receiver is entitled to a reduction of liability based on good faith.

  • May 22, 2024

    Wash. Jury Awards Former University Auditor More Than $2.9M In Whistleblower Case

    BELLINGHAM, Wash. — A Washington jury returned a more than $2.9 million verdict for a former state university auditor who alleged that she was fired after investigating and reporting that students were fraudulently being signed up for nonexistent classes to increase their credits for financial aid purposes.

  • May 22, 2024

    Jury Awards 5 Former Drug Execs More Than $26.6M On Counterclaims After Firing

    DOYLESTOWN, Pa. — A Pennsylvania jury awarded five drug company executives more than $26.6 million on their counterclaims and third-party claims against their former employer in a lawsuit in which the executives were accused of stealing trade secrets.

  • May 21, 2024

    $80,000 Wage Settlement Approval Denied Due To Confidentiality Pact, Release

    PHILADELPHIA — A federal judge in Pennsylvania denied approval of an $80,000 wage-and-hour settlement between a car dealership and a former employee, opining that “the proposed confidentiality agreement and release language frustrate the FLSA’s [Fair Labor Standards Act] purpose.”

  • May 21, 2024

    Divided Panel: ‘Own Time’ Language In Patent Invention Agreement Is Ambiguous

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — Findings by a federal judge in California that a 2011 assignment by an inventor to his company of rights to a bandwidth optimization patent was ineffective because of an invention agreement he signed with a former employer more than two decades earlier must be revisited, a divided Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals concluded May 21.

  • May 21, 2024

    Federal Jury Finds Nashville Deputy Fire Marshal Subjected To Age, Gender Bias

    NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A federal jury in Tennessee returned a verdict largely for a Nashville deputy fire marshal who alleged that she was prevented from becoming the fire department’s first female fire marshal due to the “good ole boys club,” which resulted in a younger and less experienced male employee from another department being chosen for the job.

  • May 17, 2024

    Doctor’s Extortion Case Settled, Dismissed After New Trial Order Upheld

    PHILADELPHIA — A federal judge in Pennsylvania dismissed with prejudice a Philadelphia doctor’s case against his former employer alleging extortion; the one-page order was filed six days after the judge denied the doctor’s motion to vacate a March decision granting judgment as a matter of law on the doctor’s tortious interference with contractual relations claims and ordering a new trial on the doctor’s Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 claim in the case in which the doctor alleges that he was forced out of his job after a female colleague initiated sexual intercourse and then later used the encounter to try to extort him.

  • May 16, 2024

    U.S. High Court:  With Request, Arbitrable Dispute Must Be Stayed, Not Dismissed

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — A case involving an arbitrable dispute must be stayed and not dismissed pending arbitration where a party has requested a stay, a unanimous U.S. Supreme Court ruled May 16 in a case brought by delivery drivers against the individual owners and managers of Intelliserve and related corporate entities (together, Intelliserve).

  • May 16, 2024

    Unanimous Supreme Court Finds MSPB Appeal Deadline Is Not Jurisdictional

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — A 60-day deadline for petitioning for review of decisions by the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) is not jurisdictional, a unanimous U.S. Supreme Court ruled May 16 in an appeal by a former U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) employee.

  • May 16, 2024

    Chicken Growers’ Class Certified In Compensation Suppression Case

    MUSKOGEE, Okla. — A federal judge in Oklahoma granted certification of a nationwide class of growers who accuse poultry processors of conspiring to suppress their compensation in violation of Section 1 of the Sherman Act and Section 202 of the Packers and Stockyards Act and denied a motion by Pilgrim’s Pride Corp. (PPC), the only defendant remaining after other companies settled the claims against them, to exclude opinions by the growers’ expert.

  • May 15, 2024

    Judge: Office Workers Stuck With Workers’ Compensation In Asbestos Suit

    SAN DIEGO — The state’s workers’ compensation system is the sole remedy for workers allegedly exposed to asbestos in their office space because while the defendants may have had knowledge that the building contained asbestos requiring abatement, that is not the same level of knowledge required for the fraudulent concealment of injury exception, a California judge said in granting a motion for summary judgment on May 14.

  • May 14, 2024

    Retaliation, Other ERISA Claims Decided For Last Defendants In QDRO Dispute

    SAN DIEGO — A California federal judge granted summary judgment for an employer and its 401(k) plan on retaliation and all other remaining claims in an Employee Retirement Income Security Act dispute centering on a qualified domestic relations order (QDRO), closing the case.

  • May 14, 2024

    Casino Operator Does Not Enjoy Tribal Immunity In Employment Discrimination Case

    PHOENIX — A company that manages a tribal casino is not entitled to tribal sovereign immunity from claims of discrimination, retaliation and wrongful termination brought by five former employees who were terminated after allegedly colluding with cheating gamblers on electronic craps games because the company is not an arm of the tribe, an Arizona federal judge held in denying the company’s motion to dismiss.

  • May 13, 2024

    U.S. High Court Won’t Review Massachusetts Prevailing Wage Act Ruling

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on May 13 denied a petition for a writ of certiorari filed by an employer after Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled in a Massachusetts Prevailing Wage Act case that there was no showing that the state law was preempted by Interstate Commerce Commission Termination Act of 1995 (ICCTA), as amended.

  • May 10, 2024

    Vacating New Trial Order Denied As Doctor, Hospital Seek To Settle Extortion Case

    PHILADELPHIA — A federal judge in Pennsylvania on May 9 denied a Philadelphia doctor’s motion to vacate a March decision granting judgment as a matter of law on the doctor’s tortious interference with contractual relations claims and ordering a new trial on the doctor’s Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 claim in the case in which the doctor alleges that he was forced out of his job after a female colleague initiated sexual intercourse and then later used the encounter to try and extort him; the one-page order was filed as the parties continue settlement talks.

  • May 10, 2024

    Air Force, Space Force Members Appeal Dismissal Of Vaccine Mandate Class Case

    CINCINNATI — Members of the U.S. Air Force and Space Force who refused to get the COVID-19 vaccine for religious reasons, filed a class complaint challenging the vaccine mandate and were granted a classwide preliminary injunction that was vacated as moot in December by the U.S. Supreme Court filed a notice of appeal after a federal judge in Ohio dismissed their case as moot.

  • May 09, 2024

    Split 4th Circuit Panel: Gay Catholic School Teacher Is ‘Ministerial’

    RICHMOND, Va. — A Catholic high school teacher who was not invited back to work due to his engagement to his same-sex partner served in a role that qualified as “ministerial” as he “‘serve[d] as a messenger or teacher of the faith’ covered by the ministerial exception,” a divided Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled May 8, reversing a trial court’s summary judgment ruling for the teacher despite the school and other defendants waiving as a defense the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution’s “ministerial exception.”

  • May 09, 2024

    Union Supports NLRB’s Argument For Bargaining Without Election Framework

    SAN FRANCISCO — The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals should enforce a decision by the National Labor Relations Board upholding bargaining orders without an election pursuant to its new standard as that standard is a variation of the rule established in Joy Silk Mills, Inc. that was in place for at least two decades and it “calls for the imposition of a bargaining order only if an employer commits ULPs [unfair labor practices] that would otherwise require setting aside the election,” the International Brotherhood of Teamsters argues as an intervenor and supporting the position of the NLRB.

  • May 08, 2024

    Jury Finds Tennis Association, Affiliate Liable For Coach’s Sexual Misconduct

    ORLANDO, Fla. — The United States Tennis Association Inc. (USTA) and its affiliate, USTA Player Development Inc. (USTA PD) must pay a tennis player $9 million for damages associated with sexual misconduct by a coach pursuant to two verdicts returned by a federal jury in Florida, a federal judge in that state said in an order issued May 7.

  • May 08, 2024

    U.S. To High Court: 4th Circuit Adopted Wrong Standard Of Proof For FLSA Exemptions

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court should summarily reverse the judgment by the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals upholding overtime pay and liquidated damages for sales representatives who alleged that they were misclassified as exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) as “outside salesm[e]n” as the appellate panel’s “adoption of the clear-and-convincing-evidence standard of proof for FLSA exemptions is unreasoned and inconsistent with” Supreme Court precedent, the United States argues in a May 7 amicus curiae brief responding to a Dec. 11 invitation to file a brief extended by the high court.

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