Justia Labor & Employment Law Opinion Summaries

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The Court of Appeals affirmed the judgment of the court of special appeals affirming the circuit court's judgment affirming the decision of the Maryland Workers' Compensation Commission granting Respondent's request for compensation for his hernia, holding that the court of special appeals did not err.In granting Respondent's request for compensation, the Commission found that Respondent sustained an accidental injury during employment, that his current hernia was the result of the accidental injury, and that, as a result of the hernia, Respondent was totally disabled for several months. The circuit court and court of special appeals affirmed. The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that the court of special appeals did not err when it (1) held that "definite proof" under L&E 9-504(a)(1) applies to the quality of evidence presented and not the standard of proof a claimant must meet; and (2) concluded that Respondent met his burden of persuasion when producing medical evidence to a preponderance of the evidence standard. View "United Parcel Service v. Strothers" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court granted in part and denied in part this petition for a writ of mandamus, holding that Nev. Rev. Stat. 678C.850(3) provides an employee with a private right of action where an employer does not attempt to provide reasonable accommodations for the use of medical cannabis off-site and outside of working hours.Roushkolb was terminated after he took a drug test and tested positive for cannabis. Roushkolb filed suit, asserting five claims against Petitioner. The district court dismissed the claim for deceptive trade practices but allowed the others to proceed. Petitioner petitioned for a writ of mandamus seeking dismissal of the remaining claims. The Supreme Court granted the petition in part, holding that the district court properly declined to dismiss real party in interest James Roushkolb's claim under Nev. Rev. Stat. 678C.850(3) but erred by not dismissing his claims for tortious discharge, unlawful employment practices, and negligent hiring, training, or supervision. View "Freeman Expositions, LLC v. District Court" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court granting summary judgment to Defendant and dismissing Plaintiff's action alleging that Defendant was liable as his co-employee "for reckless, willful, wanton and/or reprehensible conduct" that led to him being run over with a concrete truck while working on a construction project, holding that there was no error.In granting summary judgment for Defendant, the district court concluded that Defendant was immune from liability because, under Wyoming law, Plaintiff's sole remedy was workers' compensation benefits. On appeal, Plaintiff argued that genuine issues of material fact existed as to whether Defendant lost statutory immunity because his actions were willful and wanton. The Supreme Court disagreed and affirmed, holding that the district court (1) erred by ruling that Defendant was not responsible for Plaintiff's safety and work conditions because he was not Plaintiff's supervisor; (2) did not err in ruling that Plaintiff did not present evidence showing that Defendant knew his actions presented a serious risk to Plaintiff or that it was highly probable harm would result if he disregarded the risk; and (3) did not err by ruling that there were no genuine issues of material fact as to whether Defendant acted willfully and wantonly. View "Lovato v. Case" on Justia Law

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Ascolese, a compliance officer, brought a False Claims Act (FCA) retaliation claim against his former employer, MBP, in connection with a qui tam action involving a federally-funded public housing construction project for the Philadelphia Housing Authority (PHA). In 2009–2010, Congress amended the FCA, 31 U.S.C. 3729(a)(1)(A), to expand the scope of protected conduct shielded from retaliation and the type of notice an employer must have of the protected conduct. The new standard is whether Ascolese showed he engaged in protected conduct in furtherance of an FCA action or other efforts to stop or more violations of the FCA and that he was discriminated against because of his protected conduct. The court believed that the pre-amendment standard was required by the Third Circuit, and concluded that Ascolese failed to show MBP was on notice that he was attempting to stop MBP from violating the FCA and not merely doing his job.The Third Circuit vacated and remanded. The right question is whether Ascolese pled facts that plausibly showed MBP was on notice he tried to stop MBP’s alleged FCA violation. Ascolese sufficiently pled that he engaged in protected conduct when he went outside of his chain of command to report his concerns of fraudulent work to the PHA. View "Ascolese v. Shoemaker Construction Co" on Justia Law

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From December 22, 2018, to January 25, 2019, the federal government partially shut down because of a lapse in appropriations. Plaintiffs continued to work as “excepted employees” who work on “emergencies involving the safety of human life or the protection of property” and whom the government can “require[] to perform work during a covered lapse in appropriations,” 31 U.S.C. 1341(c)(2), 1342. During the shutdown, the government was barred from paying wages to excepted employees by the Anti-Deficiency Act, which prohibits the government from “authoriz[ing] an expenditure or obligation exceeding an amount available in an appropriation or fund for the expenditure or obligation.” The government paid their accrued wages after the shutdown ended. Plaintiffs sued under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) for failure “to timely pay their earned overtime and regular wages,” 29 U.S.C. 260; any employer who does not timely pay minimum or overtime wages is liable for liquidated damages equal to the amount of the untimely paid wages. The Claims Court has the discretion to award no liquidated damages if the employer shows “reasonable grounds for believing that [the] act was not a violation of the Act.”The Federal Circuit ordered the dismissal of the case. As a matter of law, the government does not violate the FLSA when it pays excepted employees for work performed during a government shutdown at the earliest date possible after a lapse in appropriations ends, View "Avalos v. United States" on Justia Law

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From December 22, 2018, to January 25, 2019, the government partially shut down because of a lapse in appropriations. Border Patrol Agents continued to work as “excepted employees” who work on “emergencies involving the safety of human life or the protection of property” and whom the government can “require[] to perform work during a covered lapse in appropriations,” 31 U.S.C. 1341(c)(2), 1342. During the shutdown, the government was barred from paying wages to excepted employees by the Anti-Deficiency Act, which prohibits the government from “authoriz[ing] an expenditure or obligation exceeding an amount available in an appropriation or fund for the expenditure or obligation.” The government paid their accrued wages after the shutdown ended. The agents sued, alleging that the government violated the Border Patrol Agent Pay Reform Act (BPAPRA), 5 U.S.C. 5550, by not paying their wages on their regularly scheduled payday” for work they performed during the shutdown and that the late payments were unjustified personnel actions under the Back Pay Act, section 5596(b)); they sought interest and attorney fees.The Federal Circuit ordered the dismissal of the case. The government does not violate any implicit timely payment obligation in the BPAPRA and Back Pay Act when, as required by the Anti-Deficiency Act, it defers payments to excepted employees until after a lapse in appropriations ends. View "Abrantes v. United States" on Justia Law

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In this original action involving a dispute between Relator, Lake County Clerk of Courts Faith Andrews, and Respondents, the seven judges of the Lake County Court of Common Pleas, the Supreme Court granted a writ of prohibition vacating Respondents' May 2022 journal entry and prohibiting the judges from imposing similar restrictions against Relator without jurisdiction, holding that Relator was entitled to the writ.Relator's alleged misconduct within the clerk's office led Respondents to issue a journey entry in May 2022 that banned Relator from entering the Lake County courthouse except for one day per month. Relator brought this action seeking writs of prohibition, mandamus, or quo warrant to prevent the judges from interfering with her execution of her duties at the courthouse, where the clerk's office was located. The Supreme Court issued a writ of prohibition vacating Respondents' journal entry, issued a writ of mandamus ordering Respondents to vacate the May 2022 entry, and denied as moot Relator's request for a writ of quo warranto, holding that Respondents effectively removed Relator from her office without jurisdiction to do so. View "State ex rel. Andrews v. Lake County Court of Common Pleas" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court denied a writ of mandamus sought by Walmart, Inc. ordering the Industrial Commission of Ohio to reverse its decision awarding Dianna Hixson temporary total disability (TTD) compensation on the basis of State ex rel. Klein v. Precision Excavating & Grading Co., 119 N.E.3d 386 (Ohio 2018), holding that Klein applies prospectively only.Before the Supreme Court issued Klein, the Commission awarded Hixson TTD compensation. After Klein was released, Walmart, Hixson's former employer, filed this action seeking a writ of mandamus ordering the termination of Hixson's TTD compensation after the date notified Walmart of her retirement. The court of appeals granted the writ, concluding that the Commission abused its discretion by awarding TTD compensation for the period following Hixson's retirement. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that Klein does not apply retroactively and should be applied prospectively only. View "State ex rel. Walmart, Inc. v. Hixson" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit affirmed the judgment of the district court determining that couriers who deliver goods from local restaurants and retailers are transportation workers engaged in interstate commerce such that they are exempt from the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA), 9 U.S.C. 1, holding that the district court did not err or abuse its discretion.Plaintiffs, who worked as couriers for Defendants making deliveries in the greater Boston area, filed suit in a Massachusetts state court on their own behalf and on behalf of a putative class of similarly situated couriers, alleging that Defendant had misclassified them as independent contractors rather than employees and that they were entitled to employee benefits and protections under Massachusetts law. The district court concluded that Plaintiffs were not exempt from the FAA, compelled arbitration of the dispute, and dismissed the lawsuit. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that the district court did not err in compelling arbitration and dismissing the underlying complaint. View "Immediato v. Postmates, Inc." on Justia Law

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Appellant appealed the district court’s dismissal of her amended complaint filed against her former employer, the United States Department of the Army. Appellant alleged that she experienced a hostile work environment due to race-based harassment from a co-worker and retaliation by her supervisors through both discrete acts and a retaliatory hostile work environment.   The Fourth Circuit affirmed the district court’s dismissal of Appellant’s discrete-act retaliation claim but vacated its dismissal of her race-based hostile work environment and retaliatory hostile work environment claim. The court explained that Appellant has stated a prima facie case. The court wrote that an “employee’s decision to report discriminatory behavior cannot immunize that employee from those petty slights or minor annoyances that often take place at work and that all employees experience,” but the consistent (even if not constant) conduct Appellant alleged plausibly qualifies as materially adverse. The court further wrote that it agreed that Appellant failed to allege a non-speculative link between her Title VII claim and her non-selection. View "Marie Laurent-Workman v. Christine Wormuth" on Justia Law