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Horvath has been a Secret Service special agent since 2010. To compensate for his availability and overtime hours, Horvath receives a 25% enhancement to his base salary, Law Enforcement Availability Pay (LEAP), 5 U.S.C. 5545a(h)(1). Horvath is additionally entitled to overtime compensation for some––but not all––of the overtime hours he works. For scheduled overtime, employees receiving LEAP are compensated for work in excess of 10 hours on a day during such investigator’s basic 40-hour workweek; or on a day outside such investigator’s basic 40-hour workweek. All other overtime––scheduled or unscheduled––is considered to be compensated by LEAP rather than by additional hourly wages. There is an exception for performing certain duties, including the protective services, for which employees are compensated for all scheduled overtime. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) regulations add: the exception applies only if “[t]he investigator performs on that same day at least 2 consecutive hours of overtime work that are not scheduled in advance of the administrative workweek and are compensated by availability pay,” 5 C.F.R. 550.111(f)(2)(ii). Horvath sued, seeking back pay. Horvath asserted that the OPM regulations improperly required that certain overtime hours be worked consecutively in order to trigger compensation. The Claims Court found that it lacked jurisdiction to consider some claims and that others failed to state a claim. The Federal Circuit reversed in part, finding that the challenged regulations are contrary to the unambiguous meaning of the statute, but otherwise affirmed. View "Horvath v. United States" on Justia Law

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Respondent-petitioner Brandon Afoa was severely injured in an accident while working at the Port of Seattle for a cargo company. He sued the Port on a theory that the Port retained sufficient control over his work to have a duty to provide him a safe place to work. The Port argued in its defense that several airlines that were not parties to the lawsuit were at fault. A jury found Afoa suffered $40 million in damages and apportioned fault between him, the Port and the airlines. Notwithstanding Washington tort law in which tortfeasors are usually liable only for their proportionate share of the damages they cause, Aofa argued the Port was liable for both its portion and the airlines' portion. The Washington Supreme Court held RCW 4.22.070(1)(a) preserved joint and several liability when a defendant is vicariously liable for another's fault, but the jury's findings did not support the conclusion that the Port was vicariously liable for the airlines' fault. View "Afoa v. Port of Seattle" on Justia Law

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The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of plaintiff's complaint against his employer, the Customs and Border Protection Agency, alleging discrimination in violation of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. After plaintiff suffered multiple injuries on the job, he returned to work and was erroneously placed in a lesser-paying position. Although the agency quickly corrected the error, plaintiff filed suit for retaliation and disability discrimination. The district court dismissed the complaint for lack of jurisdiction based on the Federal Employees' Compensation Act. The court held that plaintiff waived his claim of retaliation on appeal when he failed to make arguments and cite authorities in support of his position. The court also held that the district court erred in ruling that it lacked jurisdiction where the statutory schemes of the Compensation Act and the Rehabilitation Act concerned different kinds of injuries and thus did not conflict. Therefore, the court could not avoid giving effect to both statutory schemes. Although the district court had jurisdiction to consider plaintiff's claim of disability discrimination, plaintiff failed to present evidence that the nondiscriminatory reasons offered by the agency were a pretext for discrimination. Therefore, the district court properly granted summary judgment as to the disability discrimination claim. View "Center v. Secretary, Department of Homeland Security" on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of the city in an action brought by plaintiff, the former city attorney for Minot, North Dakota. The court also affirmed the district court's denial of plaintiff's motion seeking to sanction the city for its alleged malfeasance in losing evidence. The court held that plaintiff's sex-based harassment claim failed because the only articulated basis for concluding that she was experiencing sex-based harassment was that the city manager unfavorably compared her work style to the previous city attorney; plaintiff's sex-based retaliation claim failed because she never made a report of sex stereotyping, so such a report could not have been the reason the city fired her; plaintiff did not suffer reputational harm from the allegedly false statements about her job performance and termination in the affidavits accompanying the city's summary judgment motion; and plaintiff cited no authority for the novel proposition that a defendant in a civil action can violate due process simply by submitting evidence in court. Finally, the court held that plaintiff's challenge to the district court's denial of her motion for additional time to respond was not properly before the court; plaintiff forfeited any right to challenge the award of litigation costs; and plaintiff's unopposed motion to seal certain portions of the record was granted. View "Auer v. City of Minot" on Justia Law

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David Ramirez appeals from an order dismissing his retaliatory discharge action against Walmart without prejudice for failure to state a claim upon which relief could be granted. Ramirez was employed by Walmart in Jamestown, North Dakota. On April 18, 2017 Walmart terminated Ramirez's employment. On October 13, 2017 Ramirez sued Walmart under N.D.C.C 34-01-20, which prohibited retaliatory discharges by employers. Ramirez claimed he was discharged from employment in retaliation for complaining to supervisors about other employees' "unfair" terminations. Walmart moved to dismiss the action for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted under N.D.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), arguing Ramirez failed to plead any facts establishing that his complaints about "serial dismissals" constituted protected activity as defined in the statute. The district court granted the motion on December 1, 2017, and dismissed the action without prejudice. Finding no reversible error, the North Dakota Supreme Court affirmed. View "Ramirez v. Walmart" on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment to Taco Bell in a putative class action alleging that employees should be compensated under California law for the time spent on the company's premises eating discounted meals during meal breaks. As a preliminary matter, the panel held that plaintiff's dismissal with prejudice created a valid final judgment for purposes of jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. 1291. On the merits, the panel held that Taco Bell did not violate California Wage Order 5–2001, because the employees were free to use the thirty minutes in any way they wished, subject only to the restriction that if they purchased a discounted meal, they had to eat it in the restaurant. The panel held that Taco Bell’s meal policy satisfied the standard set forth in Brinker Restaurant Corp. v. Superior Court, 273 P.3d 513 (Cal. 2012), because the company relieved employees of all duty and relinquished control over their activities. Even assuming the regular rate claim was not completely derivative of plaintiff's meal break claim and referred to overtime hours worked apart from meal breaks, and even assuming further that the value of the meal could be considered part of her compensation, she has not established that value. View "Rodriguez v. Taco Bell Corp." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the Workers’ Compensation Court of Appeals (WCCA) that the compensation judge failed fully to consider the extent to which each of Respondent’s employers sought to shift liability to the other employer and that it was error to deny Respondent’s motion for fees under Minn. Stat. 176.191(1). In 2015, Respondent filed a workers’ compensation claim for work-related aggravations to a low-back condition resulting from a work-related injury in 2009. Between the 2009 injury and later aggravations sustained in 2014 and 2015, Respondent’s employer and its insurer changed. When Respondent sought benefits for later aggravations sustained in 2014 and 2015, her 2009-employer and her new employer disputed whether the aggravations were a continuation of the 2009 injury or subsequent injuries for which the new employer and its insurer were liable. The compensation judge held the new employer liable for reasonable benefits for the later injuries but denied Respondent’s claim for fees under section 176.191(1). The WCCA reversed the denial of the motion for fees. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the efforts by each employer to shift responsibility to the other employer greatly increased the burden on Respondent’s counsel to provide effective representation, and therefore, Respondent was entitled to receive reasonable attorney fees under the statute. View "Hufnagel v. Deer River Health Care Center" on Justia Law

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Wooster hired Hostettler in 2013; she was pregnant. Wooster allowed new employees 12 weeks unpaid maternity leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), 29 U.S.C. 2601–2654, even if they did not otherwise qualify. Hostettler took 12 weeks of leave but as her return to work approached, she experienced severe postpartum depression. Hostettler’s OB/GYN, Dr. Seals, prescribed an antidepressant and indicated that a reduced schedule “was medically necessary” for the “foreseeable future.” Hostettler met with her supervisor, Beasley, and did not return to work as scheduled. Wooster indicated that it would accommodate a part-time schedule until June 30. Hostettler returned to work but her symptoms continue. Hostettler contends that she was able to do everything required of her position, doing some work from home, a common practice in the department. There were no complaints about her work. Beasley stated that Hostettler never failed to perform any responsibility or timely finish any assignment. June 30 passed. The parties disagree about whether Wooster insisted that she return full-time. In mid-July, Seals submitted an updated medical certification, stating that Hostettler might return full-time in September. Beasley fired Hostettler. Hostettler sued, citing the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. 12101, the FMLA, and Title VII, 42 U.S.C. 2000e. The court granted Wooster summary judgment, concluding that full-time work was an essential function of the position of HR Generalist. The Sixth Circuit reversed. Genuine disputes of material fact remain; Wooster may have preferred that Hostettler be in the office 40 hours a week but an employer cannot deny a modified work schedule without showing why the employee is needed on a full-time schedule. View "Hostettler v. College of Wooster" on Justia Law

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This appeal stemmed from plaintiff's claims that his union violated the transparency and fiduciary requirements of their members by failing to comply with document requests and by permitting its officers to enrich themselves beyond the salaries permitted by the Union constitution. The DC Circuit held that the district court correctly determined on remand that the evidence supported defendants' assertion that they simply preferred to pay taxes on their expense allowances rather than document their expenditures. The court noted that their choice may not be a model of administrative efficiency, but it did not violate either the Union constitution or the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (LMRDA). In regard to the section 201 of the LMRDA claim involving plaintiff's requests for Union records that he alleged have been wrongfully withheld, plaintiff failed to adduce any evidence of wrongdoing by defendants. View "Noble v. Dunn" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit against SELEX, alleging that its denial of benefits violated the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 and breached its contractual duty to provide severance pay to eligible employees. The DC Circuit vacated the district court's grant of judgment in favor of SELEX with regard to the deferred-compensation claim where the company acted unreasonably in determining that he was terminated for cause and was thus ineligible to receive deferred-compensation. In this case, plaintiff did not refuse to perform the duties of his employment with the company when he declined to assume different duties of a different position in a different location and plaintiff's refusal to accept a transfer to a new position could not reasonably be considered cause for terminating him. The court affirmed the district court's judgment in favor of SELEX with regard to the severance pay claim, finding that plaintiff's arguments lacked merit. View "Peck v. Selex Systems Integration, Inc." on Justia Law