Justia Labor & Employment Law Opinion Summaries

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

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First Student petitioned for review of a decision and order of the NLRB finding it was a "perfectly clear" successor employer and violated the National Labor Relations Act by changing the terms and conditions on which it would hire the incumbent employees without bargaining with their union. The DC Circuit denied the petition, holding that not only is the Board's finding that First Student was a perfectly clear successor consistent with Board precedent, it also rests on a reasonable interpretation of the perfectly clear successor doctrine. The court explained that the Board's interpretation was consistent with the Supreme Court's understanding that the doctrine applies where it is perfectly clear that the new employer plans to retain all the employees in the unit. Furthermore, the Board's interpretation also protects the incumbent employees. The court also rejected First Student's alternative claim that the general manager's statements at the March 2nd meeting gave unit employees adequate notice of its intent to impose new terms of employment. Accordingly, the court denied First Student's petition for review and granted the Board's cross-petition for enforcement of its order in full. View "First Student, Inc. v. NLRB" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit alleging that DHS engaged in discrimination and retaliation in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The district court granted summary judgment for DHS and denied plaintiff's motion to stay proceedings to allow for discovery. The DC Circuit held that the district court erroneously concluded that the evidence sought by plaintiff could not create a dispute of material fact as to whether DHS's proffered reasons for taking adverse action were pretextual. The court also held that summary judgment was inappropriate with respect to plaintiff's claim that her reassignment to the Resource Management Branch was retaliatory. However, summary judgment was appropriate with respect to DHS's initial decision to extend her detail, because plaintiff did not create a genuine dispute of material fact. Accordingly, the court affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded for further proceedings. View "Cruz v. McAleenan" on Justia Law

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The DC Circuit denied a petition for review of the Board's findings, including the finding that Ingredion violated the National Labor Relations Act by dealing directly with employees and denigrating a union in the eyes of employees. The court held that substantial evidence supported the Board's factual finding that Ingredion engaged in direct dealing with employees; Ingredion misrepresented the union's position in a way that tended to cause employees to lose faith in the union; although the format of the new contract was a major issue, it did not create an overall impasse; Ingredion's delay in providing requested information was unreasonable; and Ingredion violated the Act when one of its managers made threats of job loss to employees. The court also held that Ingredion's contentions that the Board violated its due process rights and improperly imposed a notice-reading remedy lacked merit. In regard to the Board's remedial order, the court held that Ingredion was on notice and was therefore not denied due process. Furthermore, the Board had broad discretion in fashioning remedies for violations of the Act. View "NLRB v. Ingredion Inc." on Justia Law

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After President Trump issued three executive orders regarding relations between the federal government and its employees, unions representing federal employees brought suit in the district court challenging various aspects of the orders. The district court concluded that some of the provisions were unlawful and enjoined their implementation. The DC Circuit vacated the district court's judgment and held that the district court lacked subject matter jurisdiction. The court held that the unions must pursue their claims through the scheme established by the Federal Service Labor Management Relations Statute, which provides for administrative review by the Federal Labor Relations Authority followed by judicial review in the court of appeals. View "American Federation of Government Employees v. Trump" on Justia Law

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In this labor dispute, the NLRB assumed arguendo that the doctrine of judicial estoppel applied in NLRB proceedings but relied on the factors in New Hampshire v. Maine, 532 U.S. 742 (2001), to determine that judicial estoppel was inappropriate in this case. The DC Circuit held that the NLRB misapplied New Hampshire v. Maine and therefore remanded for the NLRB to consider whether judicial estoppel was available in NLRB proceedings and, if so, whether to invoke it. View "Temple University Hospital, Inc. v. NLRB" on Justia Law

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The DC Circuit affirmed the district court's issuance of a preliminary injunction enjoining a union's efforts to gain leverage over two commercial air carriers during negotiations over an amended collective bargaining agreement (CBA). The court held that the district court had jurisdiction to enter a status quo injunction in this major dispute, and did not abuse its discretion in enjoining this conduct. In light of the Railway Labor Act and the Norris- LaGuardia Act, the court held that Atlas presented compelling evidence in support of its assertion that this case involved a major dispute, because the existing CBA did not even arguably speak to whether the relevant conduct was permissible when done in furtherance of a particular goal. The court also held that Atlas demonstrated a likelihood of success on the merits, where Atlas showed that the status quo changed during a major dispute in violation of the RLA. The court held that the union encouraged strict compliance with the terms of the existing CBA in an effort to gain leverage in negotiations for a new or amended contract by encouraging pilots to block out on time, to make short notice sick calls, and to make filling open time more difficult. View "Atlas Air, Inc. v. International Brotherhood of Teamsters" on Justia Law

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The DC Circuit reversed the district court's grant of summary judgment for the Architect with respect to plaintiff's discrimination claims, holding that there was sufficient evidence for a reasonable jury to infer that the 2014 and 2015 decision not to select plaintiff as Branch Chief was motivated by bias. The court affirmed the district court's grant of of summary judgment with respect to plaintiff's retaliation claims, holding that plaintiff failed to introduce anything beyond his weak evidence of temporal proximity to show that the Architect's decisions were motivated by a desire to retaliate against him. Furthermore, even if it were to adopt plaintiff's interpretation of the relevant dates and find that he has established a prima facie case for retaliation using evidence of temporal proximity, there would still be insufficient evidence to defeat summary judgment. View "Iyoha v. Architect of the Capitol" on Justia Law

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The DC Circuit denied the petition for review of OSHA's citation to Griffin for violating workplace safety standards designed to prevent electric shock. The court held that substantial evidence supported the ALJ's determination that Griffin violated two safety standards under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970; a Griffin supervisor's carelessness was foreseeable to other supervisors and he had both actual and constructive knowledge of the violations; and the ALJ reasonably rejected Griffin's unpreventable employee misconduct defense. Therefore, the Commission's order was not arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, or otherwise not in accordance with law. View "Wayne J. Griffin Electric, Inc. v. Secretary of Labor" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit against the the Acting Architect of the Capitol (AOC), in her official capacity, alleging that the selecting officials at the AOC denied him a promotion on the basis of his race and national origin in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The DC Circuit vacated the district court's grant of summary judgment to the AOC, holding that a jury reasonably could find the panelists did not select plaintiff for promotion because of his race or national origin. Because plaintiff argued his case as a single-motive claim and at oral argument forfeited any potential mixed-motive claim he could have made, he bears the burden of showing the alleged animus was a but-for cause of the decision not to promote him. Therefore, the court remanded for trial where plaintiff will bear the typical burden in this single-motive case to establish that he would have been selected for the promotion but for the alleged improper motive. View "Mayorga v. Merdon" on Justia Law

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The union petitioned for review of the Authority's decision that the union's unfair labor practice charge was untimely. The DC Circuit held that the charge was timely and therefore granted the union's petition for review in part. In this case, the Authority's finding that the Agency had openly refused to make certain changes as of 2010 was not supported by substantial evidence. However, the court denied the petition insofar as it asked the court to retain jurisdiction. The court held that retaining jurisdiction was unwarranted because it was up to the Authority to consider in the first instance the Agency's exceptions to the ALJ's holding that the Agency had committed an unfair labor practice. View "Federal Education Association v. Federal Labor Relations Authority" on Justia Law