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Claimant Joanne Perrault appealed the Commissioner of Labor’s decision on summary judgment denying her workers’ compensation benefits. On appeal, claimant argued she was an employee of defendant Chittenden County Transportation Authority (CCTA) for the purposes of workers’ compensation and, therefore, was entitled to benefits. Claimant applied to be a driver in CCTA’s volunteer program in 2014. Once through the application process, a volunteer driver was governed by CCTA’s volunteer manual. This manual, in addition to explaining certain restrictions and requirements, also stated that the manual should not be understood to mean that any employment contract existed between CCTA and the volunteer driver. Drivers received money from CCTA based on the miles driven in a given period and calculated at the federal mileage rate. The CCTA manual referred to this monetary payment as reimbursement, and stated that CCTA would perform random checks to verify the accuracy of mileage submissions. This was the only monetary or other exchange between CCTA and drivers in the volunteer program. CCTA provided insurance on drivers’ vehicles on a secondary basis and encouraged drivers to carry more than the minimum required insurance and to name CCTA as an additional insured on their personal vehicle insurance policies. Drivers in the program were required to meet standards set by CCTA and were subject to certain restrictions, which were similar to the restrictions governing CCTA’s regular drivers. On December 1, 2015, claimant had an automobile accident. At the time of the accident, she was driving a CCTA rider to an appointment. Claimant sustained significant injuries in the accident, including a broken neck at the third and fourth vertebrae, a fractured spine, and broken ribs. She subsequently sought workers’ compensation benefits. The Vermont Supreme Court held that, because claimant did not receive wages, she could not be considered a statutory employee as that term was defined for the application of workers’ compensation. View "Perrault v. Chittenden County Transportation Authority" on Justia Law

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Pursuant to Labor Code section 203, subd. (a), 1194, subd. (a), an employer that does not pay its employees the wage required by law when they quit or are fired is liable for both the underpayment of wages and, if the failure to pay is "willful," a "waiting time" penalty of up to 30 days' wages. The Court of Appeals held that an employer's failure to pay is "willful" when the employer (a) suspects the required wage has gone up but continues paying the old wage after halfheartedly investigating its suspicions, and (b) later makes an unreasonable argument that the wage law is unconstitutionally vague. The court also held that a trial court does not have the discretion, on equitable grounds, to relieve an employer from having to pay waiting time penalties. In this case, the court affirmed the trial court's order finding that Grill Concepts was liable for waiting time penalties. View "Diaz v. Grill Concepts Services, Inc." on Justia Law

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The dispositive issue before the Mississippi Supreme Court in this matter was whether the Employee Appeals Board properly dismissed the Appellees’ claims for lack of jurisdiction due to the untimely filing of the appeal. After review, the Supreme Court held that it properly dismissed the Appellees’ claims for lack of jurisdiction. "In essence, we simply cannot ignore the gross procedural errors to accord the requested relief. Therefore, we reverse the circuit court’s decision to grant the summary-judgment motion and dismiss the appeal petition because the EAB lacked jurisdiction." View "Miss. Dept. of Public Safety v. Smith" on Justia Law

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Mont. Code Ann. 39-8-207(8)(b)(i), which extends the exclusivity remedy of the Workers’ Compensation Act (WCA) from a professional employer organization (PEO) to its client, does not violate Mont. Const. art. II, 16 by depriving an injured worker of full legal redress. PEOs hire employees and assign them to the PEO’s client businesses on an ongoing basis. Defendant entered into a contract with a licensed PEO. The PEO hired Plaintiff and assigned him to Defendant. After Plaintiff suffered an on-the-job injury, Plaintiff filed suit against Defendant, alleging that his injuries occurred because of Defendant’s failure to provide a safe workplace. The district court granted summary judgment for Defendant, concluding that Plaintiff’s claim was barred by the exclusivity provision of the WCA. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that since both the PEO and Defendant were immediate employers who hired Plaintiff and provided workers’ compensation coverage, they were both entitled to the exclusive remedy of Article II, Section 16. View "Ramsbacher v. Jim Palmer Trucking" on Justia Law

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Huff worked for Securitas, which hires employees to work as security guards, and contracts with clients to provide guards for a particular location. Securitas typically provides long-term placements. After Huff resigned, he sued Securitas, alleging a representative cause of action under the Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA, Lab. Code, 2698) and citing Labor Code sections 201 [requiring immediate payment of wages upon termination of employment]; 201.3(b) [requiring temporary services employers to pay wages weekly]; 202 [requiring payment of wages within 72 hours of resignation]; and 204 [failure to pay all wages due for work performed in a pay period]. The trial court held that Huff was not a temporary services employee under section 201.3(b)(1), and, therefore, could not show he was affected by a violation and had no standing to pursue penalties under PAGA on behalf of others. The court of appeal affirmed the subsequent grant of a new trial. Under PAGA an “aggrieved employee” can pursue penalties for Labor Code violations on behalf of others; the statute defines an aggrieved employee as having suffered “one or more of the alleged violations” of the Labor Code for which penalties are sought. Since Huff’s complaint alleged that another violation of the Labor Code (separate from the weekly pay requirement) affected him personally, the failure to establish a violation of the weekly pay requirement did not preclude his entire PAGA claim. View "Huff v. Securitas Security Services USA, Inc." on Justia Law

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Western Dental accepts dental assistant student externs. Externs who want to be considered for full-time employment must submit a written application, undergo a background check, and be interviewed. Western posted job openings both to advertise actual open positions and to create a pool of applicants for positions that might open in the future. In May 2015, a requisition for a dental assistant in the Napa office was approved, and a solicitation for applications was publicly posted. It is unclear whether this solicitation was posted to create a pool of applicants. Abed began her Napa office externship in May 2015. She was pregnant but did not inform Western. Abed’s supervisor completed three evaluations of Abed. Abed consistently received high marks. Eventually, her co-workers discovered that Abed was pregnant. According to Abed, Strickling stated, "if she’s pregnant, I don’t want to hire her.” Abed claims she was told there were no positions available at the Napa office. Abel sued under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (Gov. Code 12900). The trial court ruled in Western’s favor because Abed had not submitted an application. The court of appeal reversed. Even though Abed never applied for a job, she raised triable issues of material fact as to whether Western intentionally discriminated against her by falsely telling her that no position was available. View "Abed v. Western Dental Services, Inc." on Justia Law

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The intermediate court of appeals (ICA) did not err in ruling that an injury suffered by Plaintiff that arose while she worked as a Public Health Educator IV for the State Department of Health (DOH) resulted from an “accident occurring while in the actual performance of duty at some definite time and place” and was therefore a covered injury under Haw. Rev. Stat. 88-336. Section 88-336 provides service-connected disability retirement benefits under the Employees’ Retirement System’s (ERS) Hybrid Plan to Class H public officers and employees, such as Petitioner. Petitioner submitted an application for service-connected disability retirement in connection with permanent incapacitating injuries she suffered to her elbow, arm, and hand. A hearing officer concluded that Petitioner’s excessive keyboarding over a period of time did not constitute an “accident” because it did not occur at a “specific time and place.” The ERS denied Petitioner’s application. The circuit court affirmed. The ICA vacated the circuit court’s decision and remanded to the circuit court with directions to vacate the ERS Board’s denial of disability retirement to Petitioner. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Petitioner’s injury occurred “while in the actual performance of duty at some definite time and place.” View "Pasco v. Board of Trustees of the Employees’ Retirement System" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the Labor and Industrial Relations Commission (Commission) declining to approve the agreement entered into Employer and Employee that Employer would make a lump sum payment to fully satisfy Employee’s award of permanent total disability benefits. Employee received a work-related injury and filed a workers’ compensation claim against Employer. A final award granted Employee permanent total disability benefits to be paid weekly. The parties later agreed that Employee would make a lump sum benefit to fully satisfy the award. The Commission declined to approve the agreement, concluding that the Commission had no authority to approve the agreement either as a settlement under Mo. Rev. Stat. 287.390 or as an application for a “commutation” under Mo. Rev. Stat. 287.530. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the Commission did not have the authority to consider or approve the agreement under section 287.390; and (2) the Commission properly refused to approve a commutation pursuant to the agreement. View "Dickemann v. Costco Wholesale Corp." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed as modified the Labor and Industrial Relations Commission’s determination that because Robert Casey’s exposure to asbestos occurred while he was employed by Employer, its insurer (Insurer), was liable to Dolores Murphy, Casey’s widow, for benefits under Mo. Rev. Stat. 287.200.4. Casey died from mesothelioma caused by repeated exposure to asbestos in the workplace. An administrative law judge (ALJ) found Employer liable and awarded section 287.200.4’s enhanced mesothelioma benefits to Murphy and Casey’s eight children. The Commission largely affirmed, limiting recovery to Murphy and determining Murphy to be the sole proper claimant because the amended claim did not identify Casey’s child as dependents or claimants. The Supreme Court modified the Commission’s decision to include Casey’s children in the final award and otherwise affirmed, holding (1) Insurer was liable for the enhanced mesothelioma benefits; (2) section 287.022 is constitutional as applied; and (3) because section 287.200.4 does not limit recovery to dependent children and because the children were properly listed on the amended claim, they should have been included in the final award. View "Accident Fund Insurance Co. v. Casey" on Justia Law

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After defendant Coastal Pacific Food Distributors, Inc. (Coastal Pacific) terminated plaintiff Terri Raines from her employment there, she sued Coastal Pacific for age and disability discrimination and other related claims. In addition, she sought recovery, both individually and in a representative capacity under the Private Attorneys General Act of 2004 (PAGA) for Coastal Pacific’s failure to provide and maintain accurate wage statements as required by statute. Raines appealed after the trial court reversed its original ruling denying Coastal Pacific’s motion for summary adjudication and instead granted the motion as trial was about to begin. Raines contended triable issues of fact remained: (1) on her individual claim for statutory penalties; (2) whether she sustained an injury; and (3) whether Coastal Pacific’s failure to provide accurate wage statements was knowing and intentional. Raines also argued the trial court erred in granting summary adjudication on her PAGA claim by improperly finding injury was required, and that the trial court erred in reversing its original order denying summary adjudication. The Court of Appeal found merit in only Raines' PAGA claim: a representative PAGA claim for civil penalties for a violation of Labor Code section 226(a) did not require proof of injury or a knowing and intentional violation. "This is true even though these two elements are required to be proven when bringing an individual claim for damages or statutory penalties under section 226(e). Because the trial court erroneously required proof of injury on the PAGA claim, the grant of summary adjudication was improper and we therefore reverse the judgment as to that claim." View "Raines v. Coastal Pacific Food Distributors" on Justia Law