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The First Circuit affirmed the district court’s denial of Defendant’s motion to compel arbitration in connection with this case brought by Plaintiff alleging various wage-and-hour claims. Defendant’s motion to compel arbitration was based on an agreement between Defendant and a vendor affiliated with Defendant from whom Plaintiff received his compensation. The district court concluded that Plaintiff should not be compelled to arbitrate because he never signed the agreement containing the arbitration clause and had no idea that the agreement even existed. Defendant appealed, arguing that Plaintiff should be compelled to arbitrate under federal common law principles of contract and agency. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that Defendant’s arguments on appeal were without merit. View "Ouadani v. TF Final Mile LLC" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit affirmed the judgment of the district court granting summary judgment for Defendants in this action filed by Plaintiff claiming that Defendants discriminated against her based on her gender and sexual preference and exposed her to a hostile work environment and retaliation in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and various provisions of Puerto Rico law. The district court ultimately dismissed all of the claims. On appeal, Plaintiff argued that the district court erred in concluding that Plaintiff failed to show a genuine factual dispute as to whether she experienced a hostile work environment based on gender and retaliatory motivation and erred in finding those claims to be untimely. The Supreme Court affirmed the grant of summary judgment for Defendants on Plaintiff’s hostile work environment claims under both federal and Commonwealth law, holding that Plaintiff failed to meet her burden to produce competent evidence showing that any of the work conditions she encountered within the statute of limitations period amounted to harassment on the basis of the improper motivations she alleged. View "Maldonado-Catala v. Municipality of Naranjito" on Justia Law

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The State’s contribution to health insurance benefits for State employees, including members of the State judiciary, is not judicial compensation protected from direct diminution by the Judicial Compensation Clause of the State Constitution, and the reductions in contributions do not have the effect of singling out the judiciary for disadvantageous treatment. Plaintiffs, Supreme Court Justices and others, filed suit against the State seeking a declaratory judgment that newly amended N.Y. Civ. Serv. Law 167(8), which authorizes reduction in contributions towards health insurance premiums, violates the Compensation Clause of the State Constitution. Supreme Court denied the State’s motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim. The Appellate Division affirmed, concluding that compensation includes health insurance benefits and that the decree in the State’s contribution level discriminated against judges. The Court of Appeals reversed, holding that a contribution to health care premiums is not compensation within the context of the Compensation Clause, and the change in State contributions does not jeopardize the independence of the judiciary. View "Bransten v. State" on Justia Law

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Randstad recruits temporary workers for clients. Plaintiffs, in-house Randstad employees (not temporary workers), engaged in marketing Randstad’s services; recruiting, evaluating, and placing workers; and administrative and clerical tasks. Randstad tracked Plaintiffs’ performance using a points-based system. Plaintiffs were required to accrue 100 points each week, across certain categories, such as sales and recruiting. Randstad maintained a progressive discipline system for employees who did not meet the weekly quota, with penalties including termination. Randstad also held periodic “contests,” which required employees to perform tasks beyond the employee’s regular duties. According to Plaintiffs, the quotas were impossible to meet working only 40 hours per week, so Plaintiffs regularly worked more than 40 hours per week, and Randstad managers were aware they did so. In Plaintiffs’ Fair Labour Standards Act action, the district court granted Randstad summary judgment, finding that certain named Plaintiffs exercised discretion and independent judgment and were covered by the administrative exemption and that Randstad was insulated from liability because it relied, reasonably and in good faith, on a Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division (WHD) opinion letter. The Sixth Circuit reversed in part, finding that two named plaintiffs were not covered by the exemption and that, a minimum, there is a factual question whether Randstad reasonably relied on the WHD Letter to classify Plaintiffs as FLSA-exempt without reviewing their individual duties, or at least the duties of employees in the Troy, Michigan office or the region. View "Perry v. Randstad General Partner LLC" on Justia Law

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Williams has a history of anxiety and depression, predating his employment with Grand Trunk Railroad, where Williams worked as an engineer beginning in 1995. In 2006, Williams consulted Dr. Bernick for hypertension, insomnia, anxiety, and depression. Dr. Bernick prescribed Xanax for Williams as a “stop-gap” measure it for his anxiety and depression, referred Williams to a psychiatrist, and advised Williams that he “shouldn’t work” during an anxiety episode if he would not feel safe. In December 2011, Williams missed eight days of work because of anxiety and depression. Grand Trunk deemed six days to be “unexcused absences” and terminated Williams in January 2012 for excessive absenteeism. Williams filed a complaint with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for wrongful retaliation and termination. OSHA dismissed because Williams’s absences for a “non-work-related illness” did not constitute qualifying “protected activity.” An ALJ held that Williams had engaged in protected activity because he was following his physician's treatment plan and the protected activity was a factor in the decision to terminate Williams’s employment. The Department of Labor’s Administrative Review Board affirmed, declining to apply Third Circuit precedent that the Federal Railroad Safety Act’s “Prompt medical attention” clause, 49 U.S.C. 20109(c) only applies to treatment plans for on-duty injuries. The Sixth Circuit disagreed. Subsection (c)(2), like subsection (c)(1), applies only to on-duty injuries. View "Grand Trunk Western Railroad Co. v. United States Department of Labor" on Justia Law

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The Unions represent engineers employed by the Railroad, which is an amalgamation of several carriers. As a result, the Railroad is a party to multiple collective bargaining Agreements (CBAs). The Railroad modified disciplinary rules; the new policy was set forth in “MAPS," and supplanted UPGRADE. The Railroad had previously made changes to UPGRADE over the Union’s objections. When it shifted from UPGRADE to MAPS it did not consult the Union. The Railway Labor Act, 45 U.S.C. 151–88 allows employers to change “rates of pay, rules, or working conditions of ... employees” in any way permitted by an existing CBA or by going through the bargaining and negotiation procedure prescribed in section 156. MAPS falls within the scope of “rules” and “working conditions.” The Railroad argued that the change was permitted under the CBA. The Seventh Circuit affirmed the dismissal of the Union’s suit. If a disagreement arises over the formation or amendment of a CBA, it is considered a “major” dispute under the Act, and it must be decided by a court. If it relates only to the interpretation or application of an existing agreement, it is labeled “minor” and must go to arbitration. In this case, there is at least a non-frivolous argument that interpretation of the agreement between the parties, not change, is at stake. View "Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen v. Union Pacific Railroad Co." on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs appealed the district court's dismissal of their complaint against Schmidt Baking Co. under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), 29 U.S.C. 201 et seq., and the Maryland Wage Payment and Collection Law. Although professional motor carriers, like Schmidt Baking Co., generally are exempt from the FLSA's requirement that employers pay "overtime" wages for hours worked in excess of 40 hours per week, Congress recently waived this exemption for motor carrier employees whose work, in whole or in part, affects the safety of vehicles weighing 10,000 pounds or less. The Fourth Circuit held that plaintiffs fell within the group of employees protected by the waiver and were thus entitled to overtime wages for hours worked in excess of 40 hours per week. Accordingly, the court reversed the district court's dismissal of the FLSA claims, but affirmed the dismissal of plaintiffs' separate claims brought under Maryland law. View "Schilling, Jr. v. Schmidt Baking Co., Inc." on Justia Law

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At issue in this case was whether the provisions in the Master Agreement between the Agency and the Union covered a matter with respect to which the parties had a dispute after the Master Agreement was signed. The Agency argued that the DC Circuit's decision in BOP I, 654 F.3d 91 (D.C. Cir. 2011), was controlling. In BOP I, the court held that "Article 18 covers and preempts challenges to all specific outcomes of the assignment process." The court held, in accord with BOP I, that the subject of consolidated relief rosters was covered by Article 18 of the Master Agreement. Accordingly, the court granted the petition for review and reversed the decision of the Authority. View "DOJ v. FLRA" on Justia Law

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Edwards owns a taxicab in Milwaukee and gets referrals from Yellow Cab. Edwards leased the cab to Giri, who subleased some of the time to Chapman so that the cab could be in service much of the day. Chapman received fares and tips, paid rent to Giri, and kept the difference; he did not pay or receive anything from Yellow Cab. Chapman argued, in his suit under the Fair Labor Standards Act that he was a Yellow Cab “employee” and that, after he complained about not receiving the minimum wage, Mohamed, Yellow Cab's President, told Giri that Chapman was “fired” (would not be dispatched to passengers calling Yellow Cab). Giri then terminated the sublease. Chapman argued that Mohamed’s action violated the Act’s anti-retaliation clause, 29 U.S.C. 215(a)(3). His suit was dismissed with prejudice. The judge stated that Chapman had not addressed all of the relevant factors. The Seventh Circuit affirmed. While federal court plaintiffs need not plead all legal elements plus facts corresponding to each, Chapman’s claim was implausible because it did not allege any direct dealings between himself and Yellow Cab. When the court requested more, Chapman did not respond with a plausible claim. He failed to provide additional details, insisting that, because Yellow Cab affected his driving through the chain of leases, it must be his employer. View "Chapman v. Yellow Cab Cooperative" on Justia Law

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Exposure to a hazard can be demonstrated by facts establishing that exposure to the hazard is reasonably predictable. Appellant in this case argued that the Nevada Occupational Safety and Health Administration (NOSHA) improperly cited it for violating 29 C.F.R. 1910.132(f), which requires employers to provide training regarding the use of personal protective equipment to employees exposed to hazards requiring the use of such equipment. Specifically, Appellant argued that it was improperly cited for a violation because no facts established that its employees were actually exposed to such a hazard in the course of their work or were required to have fall protection training. The Nevada Occupational Safety and Health Review Board upheld NOSHA’s citation. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) when a statute or regulation requires NOSHA to establish employee exposure to a hazard, the Board’s decision regarding a NOSHA citation may be upheld if NOSHA presents substantial evidence demonstrating that exposure to the hazard was or would be reasonably predictable; and (2) the Board in this case relied on an incorrect standard in evaluating the citation. View "Sierra Packaging & Converting, LLC v. Chief Administrative Officer of Occupational Safety & Health Administration" on Justia Law