Articles Posted in US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit

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The DC Circuit denied a petition for review of the Board's decision affirming an ALJ's conclusion that the College violated the National Labor Relations Act by refusing to provide information requested by a union representing the College's secretarial and clerical employees. The court held that substantial evidence supported the Board's determination that the union had adequate and objective evidence to support a reasonable belief that the requested information was relevant to its pending grievance. Court precedent foreclosed an implied claim that evidence satisfying more than a discovery-type standard was required. The court found the College's claims to the contrary unpersuasive. View "Teachers College, Columbia University v. NLRB" on Justia Law

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The Project and four individual herders challenged the agencies' 364-day certification period for H-2A visas, which allowed nonimmigrants to enter the country to perform certain agricultural work. The DC Circuit held that the Project's complaint adequately raised a challenge to the Department of Homeland Security's practice of automatically extending "temporary" H-2A petitions for multiple years; the Project adequately preserved its challenge to the Department of Labor's decision in the 2015 Rule to classify herding as "temporary" employment; the 2015 Rule's minimum wage rate for herders was not arbitrary, capricious, or unsupported by the record; and the Project lacked standing to challenge the wage rates set by the already-vacated 2011 Guidance Letter. Accordingly, the court reversed in part, affirmed in part, and remanded for further proceedings. View "Hispanic Affairs Project v. Acosta" on Justia Law

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The DC Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment for defendants in an action brought by plaintiff, a former Deputy Counsel, alleging that her termination was the product of discrimination based on her age and sex, in violation of the District of Columbia Human Rights Act (DCHRA). Plaintiff also alleged that Amtrak later retaliated against her for filing her EEO complaint, and that two of its employees aided and abetted those violations. The court held that plaintiff failed to point to record evidence from which a reasonable jury could infer either age or sex discrimination, and the sanction she sought was unwarranted. In this case, it was the Inspector General's prerogative to choose a General Counsel and Deputy Counsel with whom he felt he and his team could communicate clearly and efficiently, and in whom they could repose their trust and confidence; plaintiff's "primary clients" at the OIG all testified they had reservations about whether she was the best person to serve OIG; and they unanimously expressed concern that she was more likely to resist their objectives than to aid them. View "Ranowsky v. National Railroad Passenger Corp." on Justia Law

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The DC Circuit reversed the district court's grant of summary judgment to the Department of Defense in an action brought by plaintiff, a former instructor, under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act against the National Defense University's College of International Security Affairs. The court held that the Department failed to provide a consistent and sufficient explanation for plaintiff's discharge, and plaintiff provided evidence that a supervisor directly involved in the decisionmaking process made repeated discriminatory remarks. In this case, a reasonable jury could credit plaintiff's version of events given, inter alia, the evidence that he used to support his prima facie case, the gaps and variations in the College's proffered explanation for the firing, his ultimate replacement by a younger employee, the hiring of several other younger faculty members within the same year as his budgetary termination, and the comments overtly hostile to older employees made by his front-line supervisor who was directly involved in discussions about his termination. View "Steele v. Mattis" on Justia Law

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The DC Circuit denied the hospital's petition for review of the Board's determination that the hospital failed to make a showing that prohibiting the employees' picketing conduct was necessary to avoid disrupting patient care. In this case, the hospital tried to stop employees from displaying picket signs—without any chanting, marching, or obstructing of passage—informing visitors to the facility about an ongoing labor dispute. The court held that the Board's interpretation of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) was reasonable; the Board's approach permissibly balanced employees' rights to organize against an employer's interests in controlling its property; and the Board was not compelled to adopt a categorical rule that picketing of any kind—including the stationary, nonobstructive holding of a picket sign at issue here—was necessarily more disruptive, and less entitled to the NLRA's protections, than distribution of union literature. View "Capital Medical Center v. NLRB" on Justia Law

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Advanced Life petitioned for review of the Board's order determining that the company was liable for two violations of Section 8(a)(1) of the National Labor Relations Act based on the owner's statements immediately before and four months after the election that tied the temporary halt in wage increases to the need to negotiate with the Union; two violations of section 8(a)(3) for discriminatorily ceasing pay raises and Christmas bonuses following the election; and one violation of Section 8(a)(5) for unilaterally changing the employees' wages by halting the Christmas gifts. The DC Circuit held that the Board's finding that the owner's two statements -- both of which were made proximate to the Union election and in his capacity as Advanced Life's owner and operator -- violated Section 8(a)(1) was supported by substantial evidence. Therefore, the court denied the petition as to that claim and granted the Board's cross-application for enforcement. In regard to the remaining claims, the court granted Advanced Life's petition for review where no substantial evidence supported the finding that the company had a discriminatory motive in denying pay increases; and substantial evidence did not support treating Christmas bonuses as company wages or bonuses. View "Advanced Life Systems Inc. v. NLRB" on Justia Law

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CC1 petitioned for review of the Board's determination that it unlawfully fired several employees who had engaged in work stoppages. The DC Circuit held that there was substantial evidence that one of the discharged employees played no part in a work stoppage. However, the court remanded for further explanation of the Board's conclusion that the striking employees were unlawfully terminated for engaging in protected activity. The court denied the petition in all other respects and granted the Board's cross-application for enforcement. View "CC1 Limited Partnership v. NLRB" on Justia Law

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In previous decisions, the DC Circuit held that, notwithstanding the lapse of a Board quorum, Regional Directors retain authority to direct elections administered under a so-called stipulated election agreement—an agreement under which the employer and union agree to have a Regional Director conduct the election, but subject to the possibility of Board review if a party opts to seek it. This case involved a consent election agreement, rather than a stipulated election agreement. At issue was whether a Regional Director, if the Board itself had lost power to take any action, could exercise Board-delegated authority to conduct a representation election and certify the results. After remand, the court held that the Board's understanding of the statute was reasonable where the Board saw no salient difference between consent election agreements and stipulated election agreements. The court rejected Barstow's various challenges to the Board's finding of unfair labor practices and to the remedies imposed by the Board. Accordingly, the court denied Barstow's petition for review. View "Hospital of Barstow, Inc. v. NLRB" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff, a single-leg amputee, filed suit against his employer, ARE, alleging claims under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Plaintiff was awarded damages for ARE's failure to accommodate his disability by refusing his request to teach on a lower floor. At issue in this appeal was whether ARE failed to reasonably accommodate plaintiff's disability by refusing his request for a classroom aide, and whether ARE's failures to accommodate his disability created a hostile work environment. The DC Circuit affirmed the district court's conclusion that plaintiff had not proffered sufficient undisputed facts for his hostile-work environment claim to survive summary judgment. However, the court reversed the district court's judgment as to the remaining failure-to-accommodate claim, because plaintiff's allegations presented a triable issue of fact as to whether ARE violated the ADA when it refused his request for a classroom aide. View "Hill v. Associates for Renewal in Education, Inc." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff, a former government contractor with security clearance, filed suit raising numerous constitutional and security claims after his security clearance was revoked. The district court dismissed 23 counts, partially dismissed Count 21 and granted summary judgment to the government on the remainder of that count, and ordered plaintiff to file a more definite statement about the other six counts (Counts 23-27 and 29). The district court later granted summary judgment for the government as to those six counts. As to the frivolous constitutional claims, they were barred by Department of Navy v. Egan, 484 U.S. 518 (1988). As to the Privacy Act claims, the court affirmed the dismissal of the claims because they failed on the merits. As to the Due Process Claims under Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of Federal Bureau of Narcotics, 403 U.S. 388 (1971), they were properly dismissed because the officials were entitled to qualified immunity. As to challenges to the DOHA proceeding, the court assumed without deciding that plaintiff had a cognizable liberty interest but that his claim was not viable. As to claims of illegal search and claims under the Store Communications Act, the district court correctly dismissed these counts for failure to state a claim. Finally, as to claims of unlawful interrogation, the district court properly concluded that plaintiff failed to establish personal jurisdiction of the defendants. Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court's judgment. View "Palmieri v. United States" on Justia Law