Articles Posted in US Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit

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Plaintiff filed suit against the sheriff and several other county employees, alleging various claims related to the treatment plaintiff asserted he suffered as a result of his political beliefs and associations. The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment to the sheriff on the First Amendment discrimination and retaliation claims. The court held that both claims suffered from the same fatal flaw because they lacked an adverse employment action. In this case, none of the complained-of actions, either together or separately, constitute an adverse employment action. View "Charleston v. McCarthy" on Justia Law

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The Board sought enforcement of it its order finding that Anderson violated section 8(a)(5) and (1) of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), by failing to make contractually mandated contributions to the CLT&E Funds and the union. The Eighth Circuit granted the Board's application for enforcement of its order and denied Anderson's petition for review. The court held that the union's 2015 unfair labor practice charge was timely. The court also held that the record did not support Anderson's argument that the deposition testimony at issue served as the basis for the charge. Rather, the Board found that even without relying on the depositions, the record established that Anderson violated section 8(a)(5) by withdrawing recognition from the union and by repudiating the terms of the 2014-2018 Heavy Highway Agreement. Finally, the court rejected Anderson's argument that the Board erred in failing to find that the union induced its failure to pay in May 2015. View "NLRB v. Anderson Excavating" on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment to St. Luke's in an action brought by plaintiff, alleging that the hospital interfered with her rights under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The court held that plaintiff's case consists of an unpersuasive argument of temporal proximity combined with her subjective belief that she was being treated differently and a few stray comments that she perceived to interfere with her FMLA rights. The evidence did not undermine or even raise a genuine issue of material fact regarding St. Luke’s legitimate, nondiscriminatory reasons for her termination: her work performance. Therefore, plaintiff failed to present a submissible case of retaliation for exercising her FMLA rights. View "Beckley v. St. Luke's Episcopal-Presbyterian Hospitals" on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit reversed the district court's order vacating an arbitration award originally in favor of the union. The court held that the arbitration award drew its essence from the collective bargaining agreement. In this case, the arbitrator appropriately considered the relevant language of the Recognition Clause, even though it did not quote the Recognition Clause in its entirety. Accordingly, the court remanded for further proceedings. View "National Elevator Bargaining Assoc. v. International Union of Elevator Constructors" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit against her former employer, alleging violations of the Minnesota Human Rights Act (MHRA) and the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of plaintiff's MHRA claims on alternative grounds. The court held that, assuming that the company took adverse action against plaintiff during a meeting when the CEO raised an "exit strategy," plaintiff failed to show that the action was taken because of protected opposition to an unlawful employment practice under the MHRA. Furthermore, the decision to arrange an exit strategy was not motivated by plaintiff's marital status. View "Harrell v. Handi Medical Supply, Inc." on Justia Law

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On rehearing en banc, the Eighth Circuit reversed the district court's denial of summary judgment to defendant in a 42 U.S.C. 1983 action brought by plaintiff, alleging that defendant, plaintiff's boss, retaliated against him in violation of the First Amendment. In this case, plaintiff had run against his boss in a primary election and had publicly made statements about the sheriff's department and his plans to improve it. Defendant won the election and then terminated plaintiff's employment, claiming that plaintiff's campaign violated the department's rules of conduct. The court held that defendant was entitled to qualified immunity because he did not violate a clearly established statutory or constitutional right of which a reasonable person would have known. As in Nord v. Walsh. Nord, 757 F.3d 734, defendant could have reasonably believed that plaintiff's speech was at least potentially damaging to and disruptive of the discipline and harmony of and among co-workers in the sheriff's office and detrimental to the close working relationships and personal loyalties necessary for an effective and trusted local policing operation. View "Morgan v. Robinson" on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit denied Wal-Mart's petition for review of OSHA's citation for two purported violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act's regulation relating to bloodborne pathogens. OSHA alleged that Wal-Mart failed to comply with regulations pertaining to providing hepatitis B vaccinations to employees who voluntarily served on a Serious Injury Response Team (SIRT) at Wal-Mart's Alachua, Florida, distribution center. The court held that substantial evidence supported the ALJ's finding that the collateral duty exception did not apply in part because SIRT employees did not respond to workplace injuries "generally at the location where the incident occurred" as subparagraph b. of the Occupational Exposure to Bloodborne Pathogens Enforcement Procedures required. The court also held that substantial evidence supported the ALJ's decision to uphold Citation One where Wal-Mart did not provide four SIRT members with the third dose of the vaccine. Furthermore, substantial evidence supported the ALJ's decision to uphold Citation Two, and the ALJ did not err by finding that Citation Two was a repeat violation, where Wal-Mart failed to articulate through record evidence how the failure to offer the hepatitis B vaccine to the SIRT employees resulted in a different hazard than occurred from the failure to offer the vaccine to the retail store employees in 2012. View "Wal-Mart Stores East, LP v. Acosta" on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment against plaintiff's 42 U.S.C. 1981 race discrimination claim. The court held that the employer articulated a legitimate, non-discriminatory basis for its hiring selection and plaintiff failed to demonstrate that the stated reason was a pretext for discrimination. In this case, the employer's regional executive selected another individual for a promotion, rather than plaintiff, because the individual scored the highest during the interviews and her duties were more directly relevant to the position. View "Nelson v. USAble Mutual Insurance Co." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit alleging that CenturyLink and CenturyLink's operations director terminated him in retaliation for a prior Fair Labor Standards Act suit he had participated in. The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment for defendants on his FLSA retaliation claim, holding that there were no genuine issues of material fact as to defendants' motives for terminating him. In this case, defendants provided a legitimate, non-retaliatory ground for terminating plaintiff, his low productivity. The court also held that the district court did not err by determining that plaintiff was an independent contractor and lacked standing to bring his claim under the Minnesota Whistleblower's Act. Finally, plaintiff's claim for tortious interference was properly dismissed because neither CenturyLink nor the operations director violated federal or state law, and their interference was not independently tortious. View "Engelhardt v. Qwest Corp." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit against defendant, alleging that defendant was grossly negligent and that this negligence caused plaintiff substantial harm. Both parties were electrical linesman. Plaintiff was injured at a worksite when a wire defendant's team disconnected from a downed pole snapped free and struck plaintiff in the face. The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment for defendant and held that the district court did not err in concluding that Iowa's Workers' Compensation Act provided the exclusive remedy for plaintiff's injury because he could not establish that defendant was grossly negligent. The court held that plaintiff failed to present evidence creating a factual dispute with regard to defendant's awareness that injury was probable. In this case, defendant's crew members agreed with him that the jerry-rigged setup would be the best way to secure the wire. While plaintiff's injuries suggested that the setup may have been negligent, mere negligence did not satisfy Iowa's stringent requirements for allowing co-employee liability. View "Van Dorn v. Hunter" on Justia Law