Justia Labor & Employment Law Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in US Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
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The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment for Norac in an action brought by plaintiff, a Norac employee, alleging claims of employment discrimination following her termination. The court held that plaintiff failed to meet her burden of presenting evidence that created a fact question as to whether Norac's proffered reason for her termination was pretextual, and thus summary judgment was appropriate. The court also held that the district court did not abuse its discretion by denying plaintiff's motion to strike an email and its admission did not prejudice plaintiff. View "Lacey v. Norac, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment for Nationwide in an action brought by plaintiff, an employee of Nationwide, alleging discrimination against her on the basis of her sex and her age. The court held that plaintiff failed to show Nationwide's legitimate non-discriminatory reasons for not selecting her for vacant positions and promotions were pretexts for age or gender bias. In this case, Nationwide's treatment of a younger male employee similarly to plaintiff was the clearest example of a record reflecting a displeased manager rather than discrimination based on age or gender. View "Heisler v. Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit against her employees, alleging that they unlawfully terminated her in retaliation for exercising her rights under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the Missouri Human Rights Act (MHRA). Plaintiff's husband filed suit for loss of consortium. The Eighth Circuit held that the district court did not err in granting defendants summary judgment on the FMLA claim, because plaintiff's use of FMLA leave some half-year prior to her termination was insufficient to show her termination was an act of discrimination. The court also held that the district court did not err in granting summary judgment in favor of defendants on the MHRA claim, because plaintiff could not have had a reasonable good faith belief that the conduct she opposed had constituted disability discrimination in violation of the MHRA. For purposes of the MHRA, accusing an employee of racism does not constitute racial discrimination. Furthermore, evidence of general temporary work restrictions, without more, was insufficient to constitute a disability. Finally, the loss of consortium claim was properly dismissed. View "Lovelace v. Washington University School of Medicine" on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment for Union Pacific in an action brought by plaintiff against the employer, alleging disparate treatment and failure to accommodate under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Plaintiff suffered from chronic back pain and wanted to take time off as necessary and to receive 24 hours of rest per shift (between shifts). The court held that plaintiff could not establish a prima facie case of discrimination, because job attendance is an essential function of a Union Pacific Locomotive Engineer and plaintiff could not perform this essential function with or without reasonable accommodation. View "Higgins v. Union Pacific Railroad Co." on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment for Ford on plaintiff's claims of disability discrimination and retaliation under the Missouri Human Rights Act (MHRA). Plaintiff, born without a left forearm and hand, applied for an entry-level assembler position at Ford's assembly plant. The court held that the district court did not err by using the broad-range-of-jobs standard because this case only involved the major life activity of working or employment; the district court did not err in concluding that plaintiff had not satisfied the broad-range-of jobs standard because Ford considered him permanently restricted from a single, particular job he applied for; plaintiff waived his argument regarding direct evidence of discrimination; and therefore plaintiff's claim of discrimination under the MHRA failed, because plaintiff failed to show that Ford regarded him as having a disability. Finally, the court declined to consider the retaliation claim on appeal. View "Heuton v. Ford Motor Co." on Justia Law

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An arbitration agreement lacking a valid delegation clause leaves the remaining arbitration agreement, as a whole, open to review for validity. The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of PrimeLending's motion to compel arbitration against plaintiff. Plaintiff filed suit under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), alleging that she was not paid for all earned wages and overtime pay. The court held that the parties never entered into a contract relating to the arbitration provision and the delegation provision. In this case, the arbitration provision was not a validly formed contract due to a lack of acceptance. Therefore, plaintiff did not contract with PrimeLending to arbitrate any disputes between them, nor was a contract formed to delegate this decision to an arbitrator. View "Shockley v. PrimeLending" on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of OGT in an action brought by the oil field construction company to quiet a pipeline title based on defendant's ineligibility to claim a lien under North Dakota Century Code 35-24-04. The court agreed with the district court that defendant was an employee, rather than an independent contractor, and that section 35-24-04 does not confer lien rights upon employees. In this case, the factors that indicated that defendant was an employee include, among other things, that defendant earned a weekly salary that OGT paid him regardless of the number of hours, amount of work, or number of projects he completed; defendant completed a W-4 to indicate his tax withholdings; OGT withheld and paid employment taxes on defendant's wages and reported his income to him and the IRS on a Form W-2; OGT offered defendant regular employment benefits; and he worked full-time for OGT and no one else. View "Oil & Gas Transfer LLC v. Karr" on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit denied the company's petitions for review and enforced the Board's order determining that the company unlawfully suspended an employee for engaging in protected concerted activity in violation of the National Labor Relations Act. The court held that there were multiple indications of discriminatory motive here where the company abruptly indicated its hostility to the employee's behavior by sending him home after his repeated refusal to work. The court also held that the burden shifted to the company to prove that it would have taken the same action absent the protected activity. In this case, the ALJ did not credit the company's allegation that the employee misbehaved and therefore did not credit its defense. In light of the circumstances, the court held that this case did not involve extraordinary circumstances justifying the reversal of the ALJ's credibility findings. Therefore, there was substantial evidence that the company committed a labor violation. Finally, the ALJ and Board did not err by denying the company's motions to reopen the record. View "St. Paul Park Refining Co., LLC v. NLRB" on Justia Law

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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