Justia Labor & Employment Law Opinion Summaries
Ventura Coastal, LLC v. Occupational Safety & Health Appeals Board
After the Division issued a citation to an employer, the citation was upheld by the hearing officer and, on reconsideration, by the Occupational Safety and Health Appeals Board. The employer then filed a second petition for reconsideration by the Board, then filed a petition for writ of mandate in the trial court. On the Board's motion for judgment on the pleadings, the trial court dismissed the writ petition, finding it was not timely filed.The Court of Appeal held that filing a second petition for reconsideration was not permitted when the employer was not newly aggrieved by the decision after the first reconsideration, and the petition for writ of mandate was not timely filed after the Board's decision after the first reconsideration. However, in light of the recent decision in Saint Francis Memorial Hospital v. State Dept. of Public Health (2020) 9 Cal.5th 710 (Saint Francis), the court concluded that the time limitation for filing the writ petition is subject to equitable tolling, and the employer should have been allowed to amend its petition to allege facts supporting application of that doctrine. Accordingly, the court reversed the judgment and remanded with directions. View "Ventura Coastal, LLC v. Occupational Safety & Health Appeals Board" on Justia Law
Biziko v. Van Horne
After a jury found that defendants were liable for violations of overtime requirements under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), defendants alleged various errors by the district court. The Fifth Circuit held that defendants' alleged errors were either unpreserved in the district court or inadequately briefed and thus forfeited on appeal. The court paused to address one argument regarding plaintiff's claim that defendants are not an "enterprise engaged in commerce" subject to the overtime requirements of the FLSA.The court held, as a matter of first impression, that 29 U.S.C. 203(s)(1)(A) is not jurisdictional and therefore subject to forfeiture. In holding so, the court followed the Supreme Court's decision in Arbaugh v. Y&H Corp., 546 U.S. 500 (2006), which held that a similar requirement under Title VII is not jurisdictional—as well as the First Circuit's decisions in Chao v. Hotel Oasis, Inc., 493 F.3d 26 (1st Cir. 2007), and Martinez v. Petrenko, 792 F.3d 173 (1st Cir. 2015), which reached the same conclusion as to the enterprise element of the FLSA. In this case, defendants forfeited any objection to FLSA enterprise coverage on appeal when they stipulated to it before the district court. View "Biziko v. Van Horne" on Justia Law
National Labor Relations Board v. Wang Theatre, Inc.
The First Circuit vacated the October 30, 2019 order of the National Labor Relations Board reinstating its November 10, 2016 order finding that Wang Theatre, Inc. (WTI) committed labor violations by failing to bargain with the Boston Musicians' Association, holding that the Board made errors of law and fact in certifying a bargaining unit that had no employees.BMA petitioned the Board to become the union representative for musicians employed by WTI. WTI argued that the petition should be dismissed because WTI had not employed any musicians since 2014. On November 10, 2016, the Board certified the bargaining unit. BMA then filed a charge with the Board alleging that WTI committed an unfair labor practice by refusing to bargain. The Board granted summary judgment for BMA. On October 30, 2019, the Board reinstated its original November 10, 2016 order. The First Circuit vacated both orders, holding that the Board misapplied the law and its own case law in certifying a no-employee bargaining unit. View "National Labor Relations Board v. Wang Theatre, Inc." on Justia Law
Vasconcelo v. Miami Auto Max, Inc.
Plaintiff filed suit alleging that Miami Auto Max violated the Fair Labor Standards Act, seeking over $12,000 in unpaid wages and liquidated damages. After defendant refused an offer of judgment for $3,500, he went to trial and prevailed, winning a verdict for $97 plus an equal amount in liquidated damages. The district court awarded him 37 percent of his requested attorney's fees and taxed against him the costs incurred by the parties after the offer of judgment. Plaintiff appeals both the final judgment and the order awarding fees and taxing costs.The Eleventh Circuit dismissed in part and affirmed in part, holding that plaintiff's appeal of the final judgment is untimely and that his appeal of the order awarding attorney's fees and taxing costs has no merit. In this case, the district court acted within its discretion to award a reasonable fee in light of plaintiff's limited success at trial, where he recovered only $194.40 after demanding $12,795.30. Furthermore, the district court correctly applied Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 68 to tax the parties' post-offer costs against plaintiff. View "Vasconcelo v. Miami Auto Max, Inc." on Justia Law
State ex rel. Manor Care, Inc. v. Bureau of Workers’ Compensation
The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the court of appeals denying the request brought by Manor Care, Inc., a self-insured employer, for a writ of mandamus ordering the Bureau of Workers' Compensation to reimburse it for lump-sum permanent-total-disability (PTD) compensation payments, holding that Manor Care did not establish a clear legal right to relief.Manor Care made lump-sum payments under protest to two injured workers in order to correct its long-term underpayment of their permanent-total-disability (PTD) compensation. Manor Care then requested reimbursement from the Disabled Workers' Relief Fund, contending that Manor Care's underpayment of PTD compensation should be offset by the Bureau's corresponding overpayment of relief-fund benefits to the same employees, for which Manor Care had reimbursed the Bureau as part of its annual assessments. The Bureau denied the request. Manor Care then filed this action alleging that the Bureau abused its discretion by requiring Manor Care to, in effect, double-pay the purported PTD underpayment to the employees and refusing to reimburse Manor Care for the PTD underpayment amount. The court of appeals denied the writ. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Manor Care identified no authority granting a clear legal right to the relief it sought. View "State ex rel. Manor Care, Inc. v. Bureau of Workers' Compensation" on Justia Law
State ex rel. Ohio Patrolmen’s Benevolent Ass’n v. Warren
The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the court of appeals granting the motion for judgment on the pleadings filed by the City of Warren on this complaint asserting that state civil service statutes prohibit abolishment of upper-rank police positions by attrition, holding that Ohio Rev. Code 124.37 and 124.44 do not prohibit upper-rank positions from being abolished by attrition.Members of bargaining units represented by Ohio Patrolmen's Benevolent Association sought a writ of mandamus ordering that the officers be promoted pursuant to state civil-service law. The City declined to offer the officers promotions or exams because the City had passed an authorized-strength ordinance to abolish the subject positions upon the retirement of their former occupants. The officers argued in their complaint that the City must first promote the individual officers and only then would the City have the power to abolish the positions at issue. The court of appeals granted the City's motion for judgment on the pleadings and dismissed the petition. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that a City, without violating sections 124.44 and 124.39 enact an ordinance to reduce a police force by prospectively canceling the legal authorization for certain positions upon the retirement of the incumbents. View "State ex rel. Ohio Patrolmen's Benevolent Ass'n v. Warren" on Justia Law
Foroudi v. The Aerospace Corp.
The Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court's judgment denying plaintiff's request for leave to amend and granting Aerospace's motion for summary judgment, in an action alleging that plaintiff was selected for a company-wide reduction in force (RIF) because of his age.The court held that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying leave to amend. In this case, plaintiff's original and first amended DFEH complaints cannot support class and disparate impact theories of recovery, and thus the new allegations in his second amended DFEH complaint are untimely. As a result, plaintiff cannot show he exhausted his administrative remedies with respect to his proposed class and disparate impact claims. The court also held that the trial court did not err in granting Aerospace's motion for summary judgment where the trial court properly sustained Aerospace's objections to certain exhibits and plaintiff failed to create a triable issue of fact to withstand summary judgment. Aerospace submitted evidence showing it instituted the company-wide RIF after learning it faced potentially severe cuts to its funding, and plaintiff failed to offer substantial evidence showing that Aerospace's reasons were untrue or pretextual. View "Foroudi v. The Aerospace Corp." on Justia Law
Harrison v. Oklahoma Police Pension & Retirement System
Appellant, police officer Randy Harrison, joined the Del City Police Department in 1995. He joined the Oklahoma Police Pension and Retirement System. Both he and his employer made the statutorily required contributions to this plan until he resigned from the police force in 2014. At the time he left employment he had almost nineteen years of service. On January 28, 2014 he notified the pension system of his resignation and he applied to receive a full pension benefit, claiming he had the required twenty years of credited service. On February 5, 2014, Harrison was convicted of manslaughter for the on-duty shooting and killing of a suspect who tried to shoot him. In a July 2014 letter to Harrison, his request for a full service pension was denied on the basis that he had less than twenty (20) years of credited service at the time his employment ended. In December, 2014, Harrison filed an application and requested to receive a "vested benefit" instead of the return of his accumulated contributions. This application was denied by OPPRS finding that officer's "retirement benefits were forfeited in accordance with the provisions of 11 O.S. section 1-110." Following the filing of a Petition for Judicial Review of a Final Agency Determination, the district court affirmed the order of the OPPRS. The Court of Civil Appeals affirmed. The Oklahoma Supreme Court reversed, finding that as a matter of law, Harrison had a retirement benefit that was vested within the meaning of section 1-110(A) and 11 O.S. section 50.111.1, which was not subject to forfeiture. View "Harrison v. Oklahoma Police Pension & Retirement System" on Justia Law
Wai Man Tom v. Hospitality Ventures LLC
In this Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) case, employees claim that tips and automatic gratuities cannot be considered in determining whether the restaurant met its FLSA obligations because they were paid through an unlawful tip pool. The employees alleged that the restaurant included in its tip pool employees who did not meet certain criteria in violation of the FLSA.The Fourth Circuit agreed with the district court that the automatic gratuities were not tips, but concluded that the district court erred in its application of the 7(i) exemption in 29 U.S.C. 207(i). In this case, the district court incorrectly held that the section 7(i) exemption satisfied both the restaurant's minimum-wage and overtime obligations. Rather, the exemption applies only to overtime obligations. Furthermore, the district court erred in declining to include tips when determining whether the automatic gratuities constituted more than half of the employees' compensation for a representative period. Accordingly, the court affirmed in part, vacated in part, and remanded for the district court to consider the 7(i) exemption. To the extent that, on remand, the restaurant's tip pool remains relevant to its FLSA obligations, the court concluded that there are genuine issues of material fact as to whether all of its participants customarily and regularly receive tips and, thus, whether the tip pool was lawful. Finally, the court affirmed the district court's judgment as to the retaliation claim. View "Wai Man Tom v. Hospitality Ventures LLC" on Justia Law
Workagegnehu v. Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority
Appellant seeks damages from WMATA for an assault he suffered while working, unsatisfied with a workers' compensation order to which he previously stipulated. Another employee at WMATA pinned appellant to the ground and punched him until he was unconscious. After appellant gained consciousness, the employee attacked him again. Appellant sustained severe injuries and required hospitalization.The DC Circuit affirmed the district court's holding that Virginia's Workers' Compensation Act barred appellant's claim because his assault arose out of his employment. In this case, the manner in which appellant carried out his duties -- trying to help a customer -- motivated the employee's assault and thus his assault arose out of his employment. View "Workagegnehu v. Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority" on Justia Law