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Several carpenters, including one single-member LLC, an installer of cement siding, and a painter contended they were employees of Bourbeau Custom Homes, Inc. for the purposes of Vermont’s unemployment compensation system. Bourbeau challenged that classification, contending that it was not liable for unemployment taxes on monies paid to a carpenter operating as a single-member LLC because an LLC was not an “individual” under the unemployment tax statute and therefore not subject to the ABC test established by 21 V.S.A. 1301(6)(B). Second, Bourbeau argued the Employment Security Board erred in applying the ABC test with respect to all of the workers whose remuneration is the subject of this appeal. The Vermont Supreme Court agreed with Bourbeau on the first point and held that an LLC was not an “individual” for the purposes of assessing unemployment taxes. However, the Court affirmed the Board’s determination that the remaining four individuals were employees for purposes of Vermont’s unemployment compensation system. View "In re Bourbeau Custom Homes, Inc." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit against her employer, the Office of Attorney General for the State of Louisiana (DOJ), alleging failure to accommodate, harassment, and retaliation in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and Louisiana Employment Discrimination Law (LEDL). The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment in the DOJ's favor, holding that there was no genuine issue of material fact as to whether plaintiff has established a prima facie case on any of her disability-based claims. In regard to the failure to accommodate claim, plaintiff failed to demonstrate that she was a qualified individual, i.e., that she can perform the essential functions of her job unaided or with the assistance of a reasonable accommodation; in regard to the disability-based harassment claim, the difficulties plaintiff managed while attempting to manage her serious illness and employment were not sufficient to create a hostile work environment; and the record did not support that any of the DOJ's actions were taken in retaliation for plaintiff's protected activity. View "Credeur v. Louisiana" on Justia Law

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This appeals arose from a dispute over whether application of the Massachusetts Earned Sick Time Law (MESTL), 2014 Mass. Legit. Serv. ch. 505 (West), to interstate rail carriers that employ workers in Massachusetts is preempted by the Railroad Unemployment Insurance Act (RUIA), 45 U.S.C. 351-369. The First Circuit affirmed in part and vacated in part the judgment of the district court, holding that the RUIA, preempts some parts of the MESTL as applied to employees of interstate rail carriers. However, this case must be remanded to determine whether other parts of the MESTL that are not within the preemptive reach of the RUIA and are not otherwise preempted by other federal law might still be applied to interstate rail carriers. View "CSX Transportation, Inc. v. Healey" on Justia Law

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The City of Houston, Alaska fired its police captain shortly before disbanding its police department. The captain claimed he was terminated in bad faith in order to stop ongoing investigations into city leaders. He challenged: (1) the superior court’s refusal to allow his claim under the Alaska Whistleblower Act; (2) a jury instruction stating that termination for personality conflicts did not constitute bad faith; and (3) an award of attorney’s fees and costs. The Alaska Supreme Court concluded that the court’s refusal to allow his claim under the Whistleblower Act, its decision to give the personality conflict instruction, and its award of attorney’s fees and costs were not erroneous and therefore affirmed. View "McNally v. Thompson" on Justia Law

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Jewels by Park Lane, Inc. ("JBPL"), and Kathy Cassidy, the national director for JBPL, sought a writ of mandamus compelling the Circuit Court to vacate its order denying their motion to dismiss an action against them on the ground of improper venue arising out of a forum-selection clause, and to enter an order dismissing the case. JBPL was a multilevel marketing company that sold jewelry through independent contractors who host parties offering JBPL's jewelry line for sale. Jennifer Miller became a “director” for LBPL. Miller sued JBPL and Cassidy, alleging JBPL promised to employ her for a 12-month period and to pay her $4,000 a month for that period. Miller set out claims alleging account stated, open account, breach of contract, and fraud. Miller sought compensatory damages, punitive damages, and attorney fees. The employment agreement contained a “forum selection clause” in which any disputes between the parties would be settled in accordance with the laws of Illinois. Miller admitted that the director agreement contained a forum selection clause but argued that she would not have entered into the agreement but for the fraud perpetuated by JBPL and Cassidy. The Alabama Supreme Court concluded JBPL and Cassidy have shown a clear legal right to have the action against them dismissed on the basis that venue in the Tallapoosa Circuit Court was, by application of the outbound forum-selection clause, improper. The trial court exceeded its discretion in denying their motion to dismiss Miller's action. View "Ex parte Jewels by Park Lane, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the superior court following a jury verdict in favor of Plaintiff on a single claim of employment discrimination based on national origin. Both parties appealed the judgment. The Supreme Court denied and dismissed all appeals, holding that the superior court justice (1) did not err in instructing the jury on the law of evidentiary presumptions and its application to this discrimination claim; (2) properly weighed the evidence and did not invade the province of the jury; and (3) did not err when she vacated the jury’s finding that Plaintiff failed to mitigate his damages. Further, Plaintiff was not entitled to judgment as a matter of law on a separate count in the complaint that also alleged employment discrimination. View "Yangambi v. Providence School Board" on Justia Law

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Under the Civil Service Reform Act, the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) has the power to review certain personnel actions against federal employees. If an employee asserts rights under the CSRA only, MSPB decisions are subject to judicial review exclusively in the Federal Circuit, 5 U.S.C. 7703(b)(1). If the employee invokes only federal antidiscrimination law, the proper forum is federal district court. An employee who complains of a serious adverse employment action and attributes the action, in whole or in part, to bias based on race, gender, age, or disability brings a “mixed case.” When the MSPB dismisses a mixed case on the merits or on procedural grounds, review authority lies in district court, not the Federal Circuit. Perry received notice that he would be terminated from his Census Bureau employment for spotty attendance. Perry agreed to early retirement. The settlement required Perry to dismiss discrimination claims he had filed separately with the EEOC. After retiring, Perry appealed to the MSPB, alleging discrimination based on race, age, and disability, and retaliation for his discrimination complaints. He claimed the settlement had been coerced. Presuming Perry’s retirement to be voluntary, an ALJ dismissed his case for lack of jurisdiction. The MSPB affirmed, stating that Perry could seek review in the Federal Circuit. Perry instead sought review in the D.C. Circuit, which transferred the case to the Federal Circuit. The Supreme Court reversed. The proper review forum when the MSPB dismisses a mixed case on jurisdictional grounds is district court. A nonfrivolous claim that an agency action appealable to the MSPB violates an antidiscrimination statute listed in section 7702(a)(1) suffices to establish district court jurisdiction. Had Congress wanted to bifurcate judicial review, sending merits and procedural decisions to district court and jurisdictional dismissals to the Federal Circuit, it could have said so. View "Perry v. Merit Systems Protection Board" on Justia Law

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In this employment discrimination case, prejudicial errors in four jury instructions required a new trial. Plaintiff filed claims against her former employer, alleging sexual harassment and retaliation under the Iowa Civil Rights Act (ICRA). The jury returned a verdict for Plaintiff on both counts and awarded damages in the amount of $1.4 million. Employer then filed a motion for new trial, which the district court denied. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) workers may bring a direct-liability negligence claim under the ICRA against an employer for supervisor harassment, but the plaintiff must prove that the employe knew or should have known of the harassment and failed to take prompt and appropriate remedial action to end it; (2) the district court did not abuse its discretion in admitting expert testimony on legal standards; but (3) the district court misinstructed the jury in four jury instructions, necessitating a new trial. View "Haskenhoff v. Homeland Energy Solutions, LLC" on Justia Law

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On September 26, 2014, plaintiff filed suit against the school district, alleging discrimination, hostile work environment, and retaliation claims (Welsh I). On December 16, 2014, the school district filed a plea to the jurisdiction in Welsh I, wherein the school district maintained, inter alia, that plaintiff's claims were barred by the statute of limitations because she filed her lawsuit more than two years after she filed her charge. The state district court granted the plea and dismissed the claims in Welsh I. On May 12, 2005, plaintiff filed this case against the school district (Welsh II), alleging claims for discrimination under Title VII and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), as well as retaliation claims. The Fifth Circuit held that the only claims in Welsh II that were barred under res judicata were those that were mature at the time that plaintiff filed her petition in Welsh I. The court vacated and remanded because the parties have not brief this issue under this framework and because at least some facts supporting plaintiff's alleged claims clearly were not extant at the time Welsh I was filed such that a claim could not have been mature based upon those facts. View "Welsh v. Fort Bend Independent School District" on Justia Law

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In a challenge to a Workers' Compensation Appeals Board order, the Court of Appeal held that a writ petition was timely filed. The court also held that despite significant changes in the law governing workers' compensation in 2004, disability resulting from medical treatment for which the employer is responsible is not subject to apportionment. In this case, petitioner contended that because her permanent total disability was the result of a failed surgery for carpal tunnel syndrome, a condition she contracted primarily due to the clerical work she performed for Costco for more than 25 years, apportionment was not appropriate. The court annuled the Board's order and remanded for an increase in petitioner's disability award. View "Hikida v. Workers' Compensation Appeals Board" on Justia Law