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Plaintiff filed suit against Southern Home under Title VII and 42 U.S.C. 1981, asserting claims for discriminatory termination, hostile work environment, and retaliation. The Eleventh Circuit held that plaintiff's discriminatory termination and retaliation claims failed as a matter of law because she provided insufficient evidence of pretext in response to Southern Home's legitimate, nondiscriminatory reasons for terminating her. The court held, however, that plaintiff offered sufficient evidence to create a genuine issue of material fact that the harassment plaintiff suffered was severe or pervasive to alter the terms or conditions of her employment. The court also held that plaintiff offered sufficient evidence to create a genuine issue of material fact that Southern Home had actual notice of the hostile work environment. Accordingly, the court affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded. View "Smelter v. Southern Home Care Services Inc." on Justia Law

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Judge had been principal of Oaklyn Elementary School for about three years when she was stopped by a Pennsylvania State Trooper for failing to signal. After acknowledging she had been drinking, Judge asked the trooper to release her because she was concerned about her job. The trooper took Judge to the barracks, where she was given a test, which showed that Judge’s blood alcohol content was .332, more than four times the legal limit. Three weeks later, Judge encountered Superintendent Kelley, who had been advised by school board members about the traffic stop. Kelley wrote: If you do choose to resign then I will offer a neutral reference in the future . . . . [I]n the alternative, if you decide not to resign and DUI charges are filed against you then I will be forced to issue a written statement of charges for dismissal. Judge did not contact a lawyer, although she had retained counsel after her arrest. The next day, Judge presented a letter of resignation, while stating she “was not even charged with DUI yet.” Kelley then handed Judge court documents indicating that she had been charged. Judge sued, asserting deprivations of procedural and substantive due process, violation of equal protection, and breach of contract, based on "constructive discharge." The Third Circuit affirmed the rejection of all her claims: Judge was presented with a reasonable alternative to immediate resignation and resigned voluntarily. View "Judge v. Shikellamy School District" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit against Kia for gender and national origin discrimination and retaliation under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as well as race and alienage discrimination and retaliation under 42 U.S.C. 1981. The district court granted summary judgment for Kia. The Eleventh Circuit reversed the district court's judgment as to the retaliation claims under Title VII and section 1981. The court held that, viewing the record in the light most favorable to plaintiff, the manner of her opposition to discrimination was reasonable. In this case, were it not for plaintiff's position as a human resource manager, her action of providing the name of an attorney in connection with her EEOC charge would be protected opposition conduct, because it assisted the employee with filing her own charge. The court affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment on plaintiff's claim of sex and national origin discrimination under Title VII and section 1981. View "Gogel v. Kia Motors Manufacturing of Georgia, Inc." on Justia Law

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Claimant Lionel Beasley appealed a decision of the Employment Security Board, which denied him unemployment compensation benefits because it found that he performed services for an educational institution and was considered to have a reasonable assurance to perform services in a similar capacity for the next regularly scheduled academic term under 21 V.S.A. 1343(c)(1). Claimant was first employed by Champlain College as an adjunct professor during the 2015-2016 academic year. He taught three classes during both the fall and spring terms. At the end of the spring 2016 term, claimant applied for unemployment compensation benefits. Although his claim was initially denied by a claims adjudicator, on appeal, an administrative judge reversed and granted benefits. In granting benefits, the administrative judge noted that because claimant had not received an employment offer letter for the upcoming academic term and had been notified that at least one of his classes may not be offered due to low enrollment, “the uncertainties for the upcoming term are sufficiently great that [claimant] cannot be said to have a reasonable assurance of returning to the same or similar work that he performed in the previous academic term.” However, at the end of the spring 2017 term, he again applied for unemployment compensation benefits and was denied. The claims adjudicator found he had a reasonable assurance of employment during the following term. The administrative judge agreed with the claims adjudicator that claimant had reasonable assurance to perform the same services during the next academic term and noted that claimant “and his attorney want[ed] to interpret the term ‘reasonable assurance’ as an absolute guarantee of employment, and that simply is not the correct interpretation.” The administrative judge commented that “the Department [of Labor] must only find that it is highly probable that the same job is available, and the credible facts in the record show[ed] that to be the case in this instance.” Claimant appealed the administrative judge’s decision to the Employment Security Board. After hearing and review, the Board issued a decision upholding the denial because it found the administrative judge’s conclusions “factually supported and legally correct.” Finding no reversible error in the Board's adjudication, the Vermont Supreme Court affirmed denial of benefits. View "Beasley v. Department of Labor (Champlain College, Inc., Employer)" on Justia Law

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A Louisiana charter school did not qualify for the "political subdivision" exemption of the National Labor Relations Act and was therefore subject to the Act. In this case, petitioners challenged the NLRB's finding that petitioners, Louisiana charter school operators, committed an unfair labor practice and ordered it to recognize and bargain with the union. The Fifth Circuit denied the petition for review, holding that petitioners, like most other privately controlled employers, was subject to the Act because Louisiana chose to insulate its charters from the political process. View "Voices for International Business and Education, Inc. v. NLRB" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff Jessica Ayon appealed an adverse summary judgment in a personal injury case. Late one evening in May 2013, Brittini Zuppardo was driving home from her boyfriend’s house while talking on the phone with Michelle Halkett. Zuppardo was defendant Esquire Deposition Solution’s (Esquire) scheduling manager; Halkett was a court reporter for Esquire. Zuppardo’s vehicle struck plaintiff, who suffered significant injuries. The issue here at trial was whether Esquire could be held liable under a theory of respondeat superior. In their depositions, both Zuppardo and Halkett testified they were good friends and were talking about family matters on the evening of the accident. It was not within Zuppardo’s job description to call court reporters after hours for work purposes, though on rare occasions she had done so. Plaintiff contended a jury could have inferred from evidence admitted at trial that the two did not, in fact, have a close friendship, and that the call concerned work matters, not personal matters. Code of Civil Procedure section 437c(e) provided that “summary judgment shall not be denied on grounds of credibility,” with certain exceptions. The Court of Appeal determined no execution could be applied in this case; ultimately, plaintiff had no evidence that Zuppardo was operating within the scope of her employment at the time of the accident. Plaintiff attacked Zuppardo’s and Halkett’s credibility. "But that is not enough, and thus the court correctly granted summary judgment." View "Ayon v. Esquire Deposition Solutions" on Justia Law

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A taxi driver injured in an accident while working filed a report with the Alaska Workers' Compensation Board. The nature of the relationship between the taxi company and the driver was disputed. The driver retained an attorney for a lawsuit against the other driver, and settled that claim with the other driver's insurance company without his taxi company's approval. Because the taxi company did not have workers' compensation insurance, the Alaska Workers' Compensation Benefits Guaranty Fund assumed responsibility for adjusting the workers' compensation claim. The Fund asked the Board to dismiss the taxi driver's claim because of the unapproved settlement. The Board dismissed the claim, and the Workers' Compensation Appeals Commission ultimately affirmed the Board's decision. The taxi driver appealed, but finding no reversible error, the Alaska Supreme Court affirmed the Commission's decision. View "Atkins v. Inlet Transportation & Taxi Service, Inc." on Justia Law

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William Hendrickson, Jr. worked as a fire safety inspector with the Department of Community Affairs. While on duty, he uttered an obscene and belittling remark about a female supervisor overheard by two of his colleagues. The DCA brought three disciplinary charges against Hendrickson. In September 2014, after a departmental hearing on the disciplinary charges, the DCA issued an order terminating Hendrickson’s employment. The ALJ held that Hendrickson uttered a gender slur in a workplace environment and therefore violated the State’s policy prohibiting gender discrimination and engaged in conduct unbecoming a public employee. Although the ALJ was troubled by Hendrickson’s failure to acknowledge his wrongdoing, she reasoned that removal was “too harsh” a punishment given Hendrickson’s lack of a disciplinary record in the fifteen months before and nine months after the incident. She instead ordered Hendrickson suspended for six months. The ALJ forwarded the decision to the Civil Service Commission, and both parties filed exceptions. Hendrickson argued that the discipline was too severe, and the DCA argued that termination was the appropriate punishment. Failing to reach a quorum, the ALJ's decision was deemed adopted by the Civil Service Commission. The Appellate Division reversed the ALJ’s decision and reinstated the DCA’s termination of Hendrickson’s employment, acknowledging the ALJ’s decision “was 'deemed-adopted’ as the Commission’s final decision. Nevertheless, the panel held that because the vacancies on the Commission disabled it from forming a quorum and acting, “the deemed-adopted statute does not require traditional deferential appellate review of the ALJ’s decision.” The New Jersey Supreme Court determined the Appellate Division erred in suggesting appellate review of a disciplinary sanction imposed by a judge was de novo and different from traditional appellate review of an agency determination. Consequently, and based on a deferential standard of review, the Supreme Court could not conclude the ALJ's decision was shocking to a sense of fairness, and affirmed the ALJ's decision. View "In the Matter of William R. Hendrickson, Jr., Department of Community Affairs" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff-appellant Moss Bros. Toy, Inc. (MBT) appealed an order granting defendant-respondent Ernesto Ruiz’s anti-SLAPP motion, or special motion to strike MBT’s entire first amended complaint (FAC) against Ruiz. The FAC alleged MBT was Ruiz’s former employer and that Ruiz breached two March 2010 arbitration agreements with MBT by failing to submit Ruiz’s employment- related claims against MBT to arbitration, and by instead filing a lawsuit for his employment-related claims against MBT’s agent, Moss Bros. Auto Group, Inc. (MBAG). MBT claimed the anti-SLAPP motion was erroneously granted because the FAC was not based on protected activity, but was instead based on Ruiz’s breach of his March 2010 arbitration agreements with MBT. MBT also claimed it demonstrated a probability of prevailing on its claims alleged in the FAC. After review, the Court of Appeal affirmed the order granting the anti-SLAPP motion. In the published portion of its opinion, the Court discussed that the entire FAC was based on protected activity, namely, Ruiz’s act of filing his lawsuit against MBAG for his employment-related claims in case No. CIVDS2107201, even though the FAC was also based on Ruiz’s alleged breach of the 2010 arbitration agreements. In the unpublished portion of this opinion, the Court explained that MBT failed to demonstrate the probability of prevailing on its claims against Ruiz as alleged in the FAC. View "Moss Bros. Toy, Inc. v. Ruiz" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs filed suit challenging a California statute, Cal. Lab. Code 1720.9, that amended the prevailing wage laws to ensure that delivery drivers of ready-mix concrete are paid a minimum wage. The district court denied IBT's motion to intervene and granted the State's motion to dismiss the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act of 1994 (FAAAA) claim. The district court granted plaintiffs summary judgment on the equal protection claim. The Ninth Circuit reversed the district court's grant of summary judgment for plaintiffs and held that the district court wrongly disregarded as irrelevant certain differences between ready-mix drivers and other drivers that the legislature could have relied on in extending the prevailing wage law. The panel reversed the district court's denial of IBT's motion for leave to intervene and held that IBT had a significantly protectable interest in the case. Finally, the court affirmed the district court's dismissal of the FAAAA claim, holding that the prevailing wage law was not related to prices, routes, and services within the meaning of the FAAAA's preemption clause. View "Allied Concrete and Supply Co. v. Baker" on Justia Law