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

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After plaintiff was eliminated as part of a reorganization from his job of nearly 30 years, he filed suit against DC Water, alleging claims under various federal and D.C. civil rights statutes. The DC Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of DC Water, holding that petitioner's Americans with Disabilities Act and DC Human Rights Act claims were time-barred; plaintiff failed to exhaust his administrative remedies prior to bringing his Title VII and Age Discrimination in Employment Act claims; it was within the district court's discretion to conclude that further discovery on plaintiff's only potentially viable claim—the one brought under 42 U.S.C. 1981—was unwarranted, given the lack of detail in plaintiff's Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(d) declaration; and summary judgment on plaintiff's section 1981 claim was appropriate given the record before the district court. View "Haynes v. District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority" on Justia Law

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At the second prong of the McDonnell Douglas framework, an employer must proffer admissible evidence showing a legitimate, nondiscriminatory, clear, and reasonably specific explanation for its actions. Plaintiff filed suit alleging that one aspect of the Department's promotion process had a disparate impact on Hispanic and Latino candidates who applied for the position he sought, and that the Secretary in 2008 denied him a promotion because of his Hispanic ethnicity. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of the Secretary. The DC Circuit affirmed in part and held that plaintiff's disparate impact claim lacked merit where there were no genuine issues of material fact and plaintiff failed to establish causation as a matter of law. However, the court held that the district court misapplied the second step of the McDonnell Douglas framework as to the disparate treatment claim by accepting the Department's vague reason for the denial of the promotion. In this case, none of the presented evidence sheds light on how the selection boards applied the core precepts to defendant's case. Accordingly, the court reversed in part, vacated the denial of plaintiff's cross-motion in part, and remanded for further proceedings. View "Figueroa v. Pompeo" on Justia Law

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Coal miners filed suit alleging that mine operators interfered with their rights under Section 103(g) of the Federal Mine Safety and Health Amendments Act of 1977 to raise anonymous complaints with the MSHA regarding health and safety issues. The Commission imposed various remedies, including a $20,000 penalty per violation and an order requiring Robert Murray, the President and CEO of Murray Energy, to personally hold a meeting at each mine and read a statement regarding the violations. The DC Circuit denied a petition for review and declined to decide whether the Commission applied the correct test of interference under Section 105(c)(1) because petitioners failed to raise and preserve the issue during the administrative proceedings before the ALJ and the Commission. The court also found that, even under the legal standard that petitioners would have the court adopt, substantial evidence in the record clearly supports the Commission's finding that petitioners interfered with miners' Section 103(g) rights. Furthermore, the court found no merit in petitioners' challenge to the assessment of monetary penalties. Finally, the court held that petitioners failed to properly raise and preserve, and thus forfeited, their claims challenging the order requiring Murray to read a statement. View "Marshall County Coal Co. v. Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission" on Justia Law

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The DC Circuit denied UPS Ground's petition for review challenging the certification of a union at its Kutztown Pennsylvania distribution facility. The court held that UPS Ground failed to identify a defect in the Board's decision to certify the union where the Board certified an appropriate bargaining unit and reasonably determined that one of the drivers employed at the Kutztown center was an "employee" under the National Labor Relations Act and not a statutory "supervisor" who would be excluded from the Act's protections. The court held that UPS Ground's remaining objections to the application of the Board's rules and regulations all lacked merit. View "UPS Ground Freight, Inc. v. NLRB" on Justia Law

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USC petitioned for review of the Board's ruling that the full- and part-time non-tenure-track faculty of USC's Roski School of Art and Design exercised no effective control over university policies and, as non-managerial employees, were therefore eligible to join a union. The DC Circuit granted the petition for review in part, holding that the Board's decision, extending the majority status rule in Pacific Lutheran University, 361 N.L.R.B. 1404 (2014), to faculty subgroups, conflicted with N.L.R.B. v. Yeshiva University, 444 U.S. 672 (1980). Because the Board's subgroup majority status rule ran afoul of Yeshiva, and because the court was uncertain whether the Board would have reached the same conclusion absent that rule, the court remanded to the Board for further consideration. View "University of Southern California v. NLRB" on Justia Law

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The DC Circuit denied Novato's petition for review of the Board's decision finding that it committed an unfair labor practice by firing four union organizers two days before a union election. The court held that the Board's findings were supported by substantial evidence and therefore granted the Board's cross-application for enforcement. In this case, the Board determined that the testimony of one of Novato's supervisors should not be credited, and that trial counsel’s cross-examination of the supervisor provided substantial evidence to support that determination. The court found nothing unreasonable in the Board's conclusion that Novato failed to meet its burden of showing it would have fired the four employees notwithstanding its anti-union animus. The court also held that substantial evidence supported the Board's conclusion that another employee was discharged alongside the four employees in order to provide cover for Novato's discriminatory conduct toward those union supporters. Finally, a supervisor's questioning of an employee's union views would have a reasonable tendency to interfere with the employee's rights under Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act. View "Novato Healthcare Center v. NLRB" on Justia Law

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The right-to-control element of the Board's joint-employer standard has deep roots in the common law. Furthermore, the common law permits consideration of those forms of indirect control that play a relevant part in determining the essential terms and conditions of employment. The DC Circuit affirmed the Board's articulation of the joint-employer test as including consideration of both an employer's reserved right to control and its indirect control over employees' terms and conditions of employment. In this case, the court held that the Board did not confine its consideration of indirect control consistently with common law limitations. Therefore, the court granted the petition for review in part, denied the cross-application for enforcement, dismissed without prejudice the application for enforcement as to Leadpoint, and remanded for further proceedings. View "Browning-Ferris Industries of California, Inc. v. NLRB" on Justia Law

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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