Justia Labor & Employment Law Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Supreme Court of Ohio
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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

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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

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals affirming the trial court's class certification order and vacated the class certification order, holding that Ohio Rev. Code 124.34 does not authorize civil service employees to file a civil action in common pleas court to address an alleged reduction in pay in violation of section 124.34.Appellees and other named class representatives filed two consolidated class action lawsuits against Cuyahoga County seeking damages and a declaratory judgment that the county reduced their compensation, in violation of section 124.34. The trial court certified a class. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) section 124.34 does not authorize civil service employees to file a civil action in common pleas court for an alleged reduction in pay in violation of the statute; and (2) because Appellees' complaints did not state a cause of action for which relief may be granted, the trial court erred in certifying a class based on those claims. View "Binder v. Cuyahoga County" on Justia Law

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In this case involving a subsidy to offset part of the cost of health insurance that Ohio Public Employees Retirement System (OPERS) provides to retirees receiving an OPERS pension the Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the court of appeals reversing the trial court's dismissal of the action for failure to state a claim, holding that the court of appeals correctly determined that Plaintiff stated a claim under Civ.R. 12(B)(6).Plaintiff filed a class action suit against OPERS arguing that reducing the subsidy of any retiree who is reemployed by a public employer that is a member of the OPERS network violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Ohio Constitution. The trial court dismissed the case under Civ.R. 12(B)(6). The appellate court reversed, holding that Plaintiff stated a claim under Ohio's Equal Protection Clause. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Plaintiff alleged facts that, if accepted as true, would entitle him to relief. View "Sherman v. Ohio Public Employees Retirement System" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the court of appeals denying a writ of mandamus ordering the Industrial Commission to vacate an award of medical-service reimbursement to Diana Garringer for a right reverse total-shoulder arthroplasty, holding that the Commission did not abuse its discretion.Garringer injured her right shoulder while working for Omni Manor. The next year, the Commission granted Garringer's request for medical-service reimbursement for a reverse total-shoulder arthroplasty. Omni Manor requested a writ of mandamus ordering the Commission to vacate its order granting the reimbursement request. The court of appeals denied the request. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the Commission correctly applied the standard set forth in State ex rel. Miller v. Industrial Commission, 643 N.E.2d 113 (Ohio 1994); and (2) the Commission did not abuse its discretion in considering certain evidence. View "State ex rel. Omni Manor, Inc. v. Industrial Commission" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeal denying Appellant's petition for a writ of mandamus and granted a limited writ of mandamus ordering the Industrial Commission to vacate its order denying Appellant's request for temporary total disability (TTD) compensation, holding that the order did not comply with State ex rel. Noll v. Industrial Commission, 567 N.E.2d 245 (Ohio 1991).The Commission denied Appellant's TTD compensation request because it found that Appellant had violated his employer's drug-free-workplace policy, thereby voluntarily abandoning his employment. Appellant sought a writ of mandamus ordering the Commission to conduct a new hearing, asserting that the Commission's order failed to set forth the evidence that the Commission relied on to conclude that his failed drug test was the reason for his termination. The Supreme Court granted a limited writ, holding that the order was deficient because it did not specifically state what evidence the hearing officer relied upon to conclude that Appellant was terminated for violating his employer's drug-free workplace policy, thereby voluntarily abandoning his employment. View "State ex rel. Merritt v. Industrial Commission" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the court of appeals denying a writ of mandamus ordering the Industrial Commission to grant Appellant's request for permanent-total-disability (PTD) compensation, holding that the court of appeals correctly denied the writ.The Commission found that Appellant had voluntarily abandoned the workforce and denied his request for PTD compensation. Appellant asked the court of appeals for a writ of mandamus ordering the Commission to vacate its decision and grant his application for PTD compensation. The Commission denied the writ, concluding that the Commission did not abuse its discretion. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the Commission's decision that Appellant voluntarily abandoned the workforce was supported by some evidence in the record. View "State ex rel. Bonnlander v. Hamon" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court held that when an at-will employee consents, without objection, to the collection of his or her urine sample under the "direct-observation method," the at-will employee has no cause of action for common-law invasion of privacy.Plaintiffs were former and current at-will employees of Defendant. Defendant had a workplace substance-abuse policy requiring employees to submit a urine sample for drug testing under the direct-observation method, under which a same-sex monitor was required to accompany the employee to the restroom to visually observe the employee produce the urine sample. While Plaintiffs did not know at the time they consented that their urine samples would be collected under the direct-observation method they proceeded with the drug test under the direct-observation method without objection. Plaintiffs filed a complaint alleging that Defendant violated their privacy by requiring them to submit their urine samples under the direct-observation method. The trial court granted judgment for Defendant, concluding that Plaintiffs had not stated a valid claim for invasion of privacy. The court of appeals reversed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the trial court correctly dismissed Plaintiffs' invasion-of-privacy claim for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. View "Lunsford v. Sterilite of Ohio, LLC" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the court of appeals denying as moot a complaint for a writ of mandamus filed by the Municipal Construction Equipment Operators' Labor Council (the union) seeking to compel the city of Cleveland and its Civil Service Commission (collectively, Cleveland) to release public records relating to a job posting, holding that because the requested records were provided, the mandamus claim was moot.The court of appeals concluded that Cleveland had produced all records responsive to the union's request and denied the mandamus action as moot. Further, the court ordered each side to pay its own costs. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the union did not establish that Cleveland failed to comply with its duties under Ohio Rev. Code 149.43(B)(7)(a) or 149.43(B)(6); and (2) the union did not establish that Cleveland failed to promptly release records in violation of Ohio Rev. Code 149.43(B)(1). View "State ex rel. Municipal Construction Equipment Operators' Labor Council v. City of Cleveland" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals concluding that a new business would receive the prior business's "experience rating" for purposes of calculating the business's "unemployment tax," holding that because both businesses were not under substantially the same ownership, management, or control at the time the transfer occurred, the new business was not subject to the prior business's experience rating.Ohio employers pay an unemployment tax to support the workers' compensation system. The tax is based partly on an employer's experience rating, which is derived from the amount of unemployment benefits that have been paid to the employer's former employees. In this case, the new employer did not share common ownership, management, or control with the old employer on the date of the transfer. The new employer did, however, hire the old employer's management team. The court of appeals concluded that the new employer would receive the prior employer's experience rating. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the language in Ohio Rev. Code 4141.24(G)(1) requires concurrent ownership, management, or control of both employers at the time that the business or trade is transferred; and (2) therefore, the new employer was not subject to the prior employer's experience rating. View "Delphi Automotive System, LLC v. Ohio Department of Job & Family Services" on Justia Law