Justia Labor & Employment Law Opinion Summaries
Fernandez v. Kerry, Inc.
Kerry began requiring workers to use fingerprints to clock in and out. Plaintiffs, former employees, say that Kerry did not obtain their consent before doing so in violation of the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act.The Seventh Circuit affirmed the dismissal of the suit as preempted by the Labor Management Relations Act, 29 U.S.C. 185 because its resolution depends on the interpretation of collective-bargaining agreements between Kerry and the plaintiffs' union. Federal law prevents states from interfering in relations between unions and private employers. Whether a topic of bargaining is mandatory or permissive, the union is the workers’ agent. If labor and management want to bargain collectively about particular working conditions, they are free to do so. Workers cannot insist that management bypass the union and deal with them directly about these subjects. The use of biometric data is a topic for bargaining between unions and management. States cannot bypass the mechanisms of federal law and authorize direct negotiation or litigation between workers and management. View "Fernandez v. Kerry, Inc." on Justia Law
Lawson v. Grubhub, Inc.
The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of class certification in an action alleging minimum wage, overtime, and expense reimbursement claims against Grubhub. Plaintiff contends that he was misclassified as an independent contractor rather than an employee when he worked for Grubhub as a food delivery driver.The panel concluded that the district court properly denied certification to plaintiff's proposed class of delivery drivers in California where all members of plaintiff's putative class—except plaintiff and one other—signed agreements waiving their right to participate in a class action. The panel explained that the district court correctly held plaintiff did not satisfy the requirements in Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(a) because he is neither typical of the class nor an adequate representative, and because the proceedings would be unlikely to generate common answers. The panel rejected Grubhub's claim that California Proposition 22 abated the application of the ABC test to plaintiff's pending class claim. In this case, there is no dispute that plaintiff’s minimum wage and overtime claims are rooted in wage orders. The panel concluded that, because the district court rendered its judgment before the California Supreme Court decided Dynamex Operations W., Inc. v. Superior Court, 416 P.3d 1, 33–40 (Cal. 2018), it had no occasion to apply the ABC test to plaintiff's claims. The panel remanded for the district court to apply the ABC test in the first instance to plaintiff's expense reimbursement claim. View "Lawson v. Grubhub, Inc." on Justia Law
Guzman v. NBA Automotive, Inc.
The Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court's orders denying NBA Automotive's motions for judgment notwithstanding the verdict and for a new trial in an action brought by plaintiff alleging wrongful termination and various causes of action under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). NBA Automotive argues that plaintiff failed to exhaust her administrative remedies under FEHA because her administrative complaint incorrectly identified Hooman Enterprises, rather than NBA Automotive, as the corporation doing business as Hooman Chevrolet of Culver City.The court concluded that plaintiff's administrative complaint sufficiently identified her employer and she exhausted her administrative remedies within the statutory limitations period. In this case, plaintiff complied with the requirements of Government Code section 12960, former subdivision (b); she provided a detailed description of her employer, the names of the individuals who engaged in the allegedly discriminatory practices, and a narrative of multiple instances of wrongful conduct spanning 15 years; she also named the supervisors and managers employed by NBA Automotive who took the adverse employment actions against her; the administrative complaint also gave NBA Automotive sufficient notice that she was naming it in her administrative complaint and would name it in her subsequent civil action, both of which, as well as the right-to-sue letter, NBA Automotive does not dispute it received; and NBA Automotive does not contend that plaintiff's failure to state its correct legal name in her original administrative complaint prejudiced its defense in any way. View "Guzman v. NBA Automotive, Inc." on Justia Law
National Labor Relations Board v. Newark Electric Corp.
The Second Circuit granted the Board's petition for enforcement of its decision and order requiring the Companies to reinstate a former employee and to comply with their collective bargaining obligations with the Union. This case arose from a long-pending labor dispute between the Union and three closely related corporations doing business in Newark: Newark Electric, Newark 2.0, and Colacino.Although the court agreed with the Companies that the Board's original complaint was invalid, the court rejected their challenge to its ratification by the NLRB's General Counsel and concluded that the Board's order may be enforced. The court also concluded that the Board's determination that the Companies were a single employer and alter egos is supported by substantial evidence. The court found persuasive the Companies' further argument that Colacino's termination of its Letter of Assent with the Union also needed Newark Electric's obligations toward the Union. Finally, the court found that substantial credible evidence supports the Board's conclusion that Colacino Industries violated section 8(a)(3) of the National Labor Relations Act when it terminated the employee. View "National Labor Relations Board v. Newark Electric Corp." on Justia Law
Cadillac of Naperville, Inc. v. National Labor Relations Board
Cadillac of Naperville's service mechanics went on strike in 2017. The National Labor Relations Board found that the dealership responded to the strike unlawfully (29 U.S.C. 158(a)) by discharging one mechanic for his union activity, threatening to retaliate against several mechanics, and refusing to bargain with the mechanics’ union. The mechanic, Bisbikis, was one of six mechanics permanently replaced during the strike and had approached the dealership’s owner about certain worker complaints. The owner had “warned” Bisbikis that “things would not be the same” if the mechanics decided to strike. After the strike settled, the owner stated that Bisbikis was a ringleader of the strike and he no longer wanted to employ Bisbikis. Later, the owner fired Bisbikis, assertedly for insubordination. The owner subsequently sought to restrict union access to Naperville premises.At the NLRB’s request, the D.C. Circuit remanded the discharge issue for the Board to apply its intervening decision changing the framework under which it assesses alleged retaliation in mixed-motive cases. Under that decision, the NLRB bears the initial burden of proving that union activity was a “motivating factor” in an adverse action against an employee; if it meets that burden, the employer must prove that it “would have taken the same action in the absence of the unlawful motive.” The court rejected the dealership’s other challenges. View "Cadillac of Naperville, Inc. v. National Labor Relations Board" on Justia Law
Clark v. Service Employees International Union
The Supreme Court held that because Nevada's wrongful termination claims do not significantly conflict with any concrete federal interest expressed by the Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (LMRDA), the LMRDA did not preempt those claims.This case concerned the termination of the employment of two plaintiffs with the Nevada Service Employees Union. Plaintiffs filed this complaint against Nevada Service Employees Union, Local 1107 and the Service Employees International Union, alleging, inter alia, breach of contract and wrongful termination. The district court granted summary judgment for the Unions, concluding that the LMRDA preempted all of Plaintiffs' claims. The Supreme Court reversed in part, holding (1) the LMRDA does not preempt state law wrongful termination claims; (2) the district court did not err in granting summary judgment in favor of one of the unions; and (3) the court did not abuse its discretion in denying a union's motion for attorney fees. View "Clark v. Service Employees International Union" on Justia Law
Echeverria v. State
The Supreme Court accepted a question certified to it by the United States District Court for the District of Nevada asking to decide whether Nev. Rev. Stat. 41.031(1) constitutes a waiver of Nevada's sovereign immunity from damages liability under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), holding that Nevada has waived the defense of sovereign immunity to liability under the FLSA.Appellant and several other employees of the Nevada Department of Corrections (NDOC) filed a putative class and collective action complaint alleging that the State and NDOC violated the FLSA and the state Minimum Wage Amendment (MWA) and breached their contract under state law. The State removed the action to federal district court, where at issue was whether the State possessed sovereign immunity. The district court concluded that the State waived its Eleventh Amendment immunity by removing the case to federal court. The Ninth Circuit affirmed and left open the question of whether the State retained its sovereign immunity from liability. The court then certified the question to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court answered that, by enacting Nev. Rev. Stat. 41.031(1), Nevada consented to damages liability for a State agency's violation of the minimum wage or overtime provisions of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act. View "Echeverria v. State" on Justia Law
Culver Community Teachers Ass’n v. Indiana Education Employment Relations Board
The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court denying a petition for judicial review of the finding of the Indiana Education Employment Relations Board that four Teachers Associations and their respective school corporations violated Indiana law when they collectively bargained over various ancillary duties, holding that there was no error.The Board found the parties bargained over impermissible subjects and curtailed the school's unfettered authority to direct teachers' performance of these various ancillary duties, such as supervising detention, in violation of Ind. Code 20-29-6-4. The trial court found the Board's interpretation of section 20-29-6-4 to be reasonable and denied the Teachers Associations' petition for judicial review. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the trial court correctly denied judicial review. View "Culver Community Teachers Ass'n v. Indiana Education Employment Relations Board" on Justia Law
Edmonds-Radford v. Southwest Airlines
Defendant-Appellee Southwest Airlines graded its new hires based on two overarching categories of criteria: Attitude and Aptitude. By all accounts, Plaintiff-appellant Krista Edmonds-Radford had the necessary Attitude for her position as a Southwest Customer Service Agent. Unfortunately, she failed to exhibit the necessary Aptitude, and Southwest terminated her for failing to meet expectations. That termination led to this disability-based lawsuit, in which Edmonds-Radford sued Southwest for disparate treatment, failure to accommodate, and retaliation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Rehabilitation Act. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of Southwest on all claims, and Edmonds-Radford appealed. After review, the Tenth Circuit determined: (1) Edmonds-Radford failed to establish her prima facie case or that Southwest’s proffered reason for her termination was pretextual; (2) Edmonds-Radford failed to present evidence she requested any accommodations in connection with her disability (in any event, Southwest provided all requested accommodations); and (3) because there was no proof she made any disability-based accommodation requests, Edmonds-Radford's retaliation claim based on such requests was doomed. "But even if Edmonds-Radford had made disability-based accommodation requests, her retaliation claim would still fail in light of our conclusions that Edmonds-Radford failed to establish that her disability was a determining factor in her termination, or that Southwest’s legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason for the termination was pretextual. Accordingly, the Court affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of Southwest on all claims. View "Edmonds-Radford v. Southwest Airlines" on Justia Law
WSI v. Badger Roustabouts
Workforce Safety and Insurance (WSI) appealed a district court order and judgment affirming an administrative law judge’s (ALJ) order reversing a WSI order. The reversed WSI order had determined Badger Roustabouts was an employer of individuals providing roustabout services. In addition to affirming the ALJ’s order, the court awarded attorney’s fees to Badger under N.D.C.C. 28-32-50. The North Dakota Supreme Court affirmed the judgment affirming the ALJ’s order, but reversed the court’s award of attorney’s fees. View "WSI v. Badger Roustabouts" on Justia Law