by
Plaintiff Nancy Ortiz sued her former employer and former supervisor, Dameron Hospital Association (Dameron) and Doreen Alvarez (collectively defendants), alleging that she was discriminated against and subjected to harassment based on her national origin (Filipino) and age (over 40) at the hands of Alvarez, and that Dameron failed to take action to prevent it in violation of the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (the FEHA). Ortiz claimed she was forced to resign due to the intolerable working conditions created by Alvarez in order to accomplish Alvarez’s goal of getting rid of older, Filipino employees, like Ortiz, who, in Alvarez’s words, “could not speak English,” had “been there too long,” and “ma[d]e too much money.” Defendants moved for summary judgment, or in the alternative summary adjudication. The trial court granted defendants’ motion for summary judgment, finding that Ortiz could not make a prima facie showing of discrimination because she could not show that she suffered an adverse employment action, and could not make a prima facie showing of harassment because she cannot show that any of the complained of conduct was based on her national origin or age. The trial court determined that the remaining causes of action as well as the claims for injunctive relief and punitive damages were derivative of the discrimination and harassment causes of action and thus had no merit. Ortiz appealed, contending there were triable issues of material fact as to each of her causes of action, except retaliation, and her claims for injunctive relief and punitive damages. The Court of Appeal agreed in part, and reversed judgment. The trial court was directed to vacate its order granting summary judgment, and to enter a new order granting summary adjudication of Ortiz’s retaliation cause of action and request for punitive damages as to Dameron but denying summary adjudication of her discrimination, harassment, and failure to take necessary steps to prevent discrimination and harassment causes of action, her claim for injunctive relief, and her request for punitive damages as to Alvarez. View "Ortiz v. Dameron Hospital Assn." on Justia Law

by
Plaintiff Shirley Galvan sued her former employer and former supervisor, Dameron Hospital Association (Dameron) and Doreen Alvarez (collectively defendants), alleging that she was discriminated against and subjected to harassment based on her national origin (Filipino) and age (over 40) at the hands of Alvarez, and that Dameron failed to take action to prevent it in violation of the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (the FEHA). Galvan claimed she was forced to resign due to the intolerable working conditions created by Alvarez in order to accomplish Alvarez’s goal of getting rid of older, Filipino employees, like Galvan, who, in Alvarez’s words, “could not speak English,” had “been there too long,” and “ma[d]e too much money.” Defendants moved for summary judgment, or in the alternative summary adjudication. The trial court granted defendants’ motion for summary judgment, finding that Galvan could not make a prima facie showing of discrimination because she could not show that she suffered an adverse employment action, and could not make a prima facie showing of harassment because she cannot show that any of the complained of conduct was based on her national origin or age. The trial court determined that the remaining causes of action as well as the claims for injunctive relief and punitive damages were derivative of the discrimination and harassment causes of action and thus had no merit. Galvan appealed, contending there were triable issues of material fact as to each of her causes of action, except retaliation, and her claims for injunctive relief and punitive damages. The Court of Appeal agreed in part, and reversed judgment. The trial court was directed to vacate its order granting summary judgment, and to enter a new order granting summary adjudication of Galvan's retaliation cause of action and request for punitive damages as to Dameron, but denying summary adjudication of her discrimination, harassment, and failure to take necessary steps to prevent discrimination and harassment causes of action, her claim for injunctive relief, and her request for punitive damages as to Alvarez. View "Galvan v. Dameron Hospital Assn." on Justia Law

by
Plaintiff Wendell Brown sued his employer, the City of Sacramento (City), for racial discrimination and retaliation in violation of the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). A jury returned a verdict in Brown’s favor. The City moved for judgment notwithstanding the verdict and a new trial. The trial court granted the motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict in part, finding that Brown failed to exhaust administrative remedies with respect to some of the acts found to be retaliatory. The trial court denied the motion with respect to other acts and effectively denied the motion for a new trial. The City appealed that part of the trial court's order partially denying the motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict, arguing the remaining retaliation and discrimination claims were time-barred and barred for failure to exhaust administrative remedies. The City also appealed that part of the order partially denying the motion for a new trial, arguing that juror misconduct deprived the City of a fair trial, and the trial court prejudicially erred in admitting evidence of the purportedly unexhausted and time-barred claims. Finding no error, the Court of Appeal affirmed. View "Brown v. City of Sacramento" on Justia Law

by
A CTA bus passenger threatened Pickett, the driver. He took six months off from work while recovering. After his physician concluded that he could return to work (though not as a driver), Pickett requested a light-duty job. He was given one but four days later he was told that the CTA was not ready to permit his return to work. Pickett had been told that before returning to work he needed to complete a (provided) form and report to CTA’s Leave Management Services office, which would administer tests (including a drug screen). He ignored those directions until 2017. He was then approved for work and retired five days later. Before visiting Leave Management Services in 2017 he had filed an EEOC charge of age discrimination, claiming that during 2015 he saw persons younger than himself doing light-duty tasks. After receiving his right-to-sue letter, Pickett sued under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, 29 U.S.C. 621–34. The district court granted the CTA summary judgment after denying Pickett’s request for appointed counsel without explanation. The Seventh Circuit affirmed. The court’s failure to explain its decision was harmless error. Pickett has not shown how a lawyer could have helped him overcome his biggest obstacle: he never took the steps that CTA told him were essential. View "Lawrence Pickett v. Chicago Transit Authority" on Justia Law

by
Guerrero was trying to drive to his job at BNSF Railway through a snowstorm early one morning. His car skidded, collided with a snowplow, and he was killed. His widow sought compensatory damages from BNSF under the Federal Employer’s Liability Act (FELA, 45 U.S.C. 51–59). The district court ruled in favor of BNSF. The Seventh Circuit affirmed. Stating that the question of whether Guerrero was within the scope of his employment when the accident occurred was a close one, the court declined to resolve the issue. Guerrero was not heading to his normal job, but had accepted a special assignment; his union contract provides that “the time of an employee who is called after release from duty to report for work will begin at the time called.” Looking at the evidence favorably to Guerrero, he was not commuting, but was “on the clock” and working on the special assignment. No jury, however, could find that BNSF was negligent in any action it took or failed to take with respect to Guerrero. FELA does not make the employer the insurer of the safety of his employees while they are on duty. The only action BNSF took was to ask Guerrero to come to work under conditions known to both parties. View "Guerrero v. BNSF Railway Co." on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the Workers' Compensation Court of Appeals (WCCA) reversing the judgment of the compensation judge dismissing Petitioner's claim petition seeking workers' compensation benefits for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which Petitioner claimed resulted from numerous traumatic incidents that he experienced while working, holding that the WCCA erred. At issue on appeal was the correct interpretation of Minn. Stat. 176.011, subs.15(d), which requires an employee seeking workers' compensation benefits where the alleged injury is PTSD arising out of employment to prove that the employee has been diagnosed with PTSD by a licensed psychologist or psychiatrist using the latest version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) in making a diagnosis. The Supreme Court held (1) Minn. Stat. 176.011, subs.15(d) does not require a compensation judge to conduct an independent assessment to verify that the diagnosis of the psychologist or psychiatrist conforms to the PTSD criteria set forth in the DSM before accepting the expert's diagnosis; and (2) the WCCA erred by overriding the compensation judge's choice between two competing medical experts because the expert opinion adopted by the compensation judge had an adequate factual foundation for the diagnosis. View "Smith v. Carver County" on Justia Law

by
The United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit certified a question of law to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. Plaintiffs William DeForte and Evan Townsend were employed as police officers with the Borough of Worthington (the “Borough”). Neither officer was salaried or received benefits. Instead, they were paid hourly wages and, moreover, were simultaneously employed by other police forces. The Borough’s police force consisted of four part-time officers, including Plaintiffs. On November 5, 2012, the Borough terminated Plaintiffs’ employment without affording any process. Plaintiffs brought separate actions (which were consolidated) against the Borough at the federal district court. Plaintiffs asserted, inter alia, that the Borough Code or the Tenure Act conferred a constitutionally-protected property interest in their continued employment, and the lack of any process associated with their dismissal violated their federal due process rights. They requested relief under Section 1983 of the Civil Rights Act of 1871. The Borough moved for summary judgment. In ruling on the motion, the district court considered whether Plaintiffs were entitled to civil-service protections in connection with their dismissal under either the Police Tenure Act, or the Borough Code, The Supreme Court, answering the two-part question forwarded by the Third Circuit: (1) the civil service protections embodied in the Borough Code and the Tenure Act were broadly in pari materia insofar as they were intended to govern all borough police forces; and (2) when calculating the size of a borough police force in any given case, the same test should be used. More particularly, the “normal working hours” criterion contained in the Borough Code should be employed to determine how many members a borough police force has for purposes of deciding whether the Tenure Act’s two-officer maximum or the Borough Code’s three-officer minimum was implicated. View "Deforte v. Boro of Worthington" on Justia Law

by
In this case, the issue presented for the Pennsylvania Supreme Court's review was whether the Commonwealth Court disregarded the law when it vacated a grievance arbitration award based on its independent interpretation of the parties’ collective bargaining agreement (“CBA”). Millcreek Township Educational Support Personnel Association (the “Association”) and Millcreek Township School District (the “District”) were parties to a CBA that became effective on July 1, 2011, and was set to expire on June 30, 2016. Negotiations for a successor CBA began January 26, 2016 when the Association offered its initial proposal to the District. Approximately one month later, the District presented a counter proposal in which it sought, among other items, to eliminate a no subcontracting provision. The Association rejected this proposal. On March 29, 2016, with successor CBA negotiations ongoing between the Association and the District, the District issued a request for proposals (“RFP”) seeking quotes from prospective bidders for the provision of custodial labor services. On April 7, 2016, upon learning that the District had issued an RFP to subcontract the bargaining unit’s work, the Association filed a grievance with the District. Pursuant to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s decisions under the Public Employee Relations Act (“PERA”), a reviewing court had to apply the highly deferential two-prong “essence test” to grievance arbitration awards: (1) the court had to decide whether the issue was encompassed by the CBA; and (2) the court had to uphold the arbitrator’s award if the arbitrator’s interpretation could rationally be derived from the CBA. Subject to a narrow exception for awards that violate a dominant public policy, proper application of the essence test prohibits a court from vacating an arbitrator’s award unless “the award indisputably and genuinely is without foundation in, or fails to logically flow from, the [CBA].” The Supreme Court had "no trouble" concluding that the award in this case drew its essence from the CBA and because no public policy would be violated by its enforcement, it reversed the decision of the Commonwealth Court. View "Millcreek Twp SD v. Millcreek Twp ESPA" on Justia Law

by
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court granted allowance of appeal to consider whether Section 614 of Municipalities Planning Code, 53 P.S. section 10614, which set forth the powers of a zoning officer, provided sufficient basis to determine, absent evidence of actual job duties, if a zoning officer was a management-level employee under the Public Employe Relations Act (PERA). Because the Supreme Court held that Section 614 did not render a zoning officer a management-level employee, the Court held that such evidence was required, and therefore reversed the order of the Commonwealth Court. View "Exeter Twp. v. PLRB, Teamsters Local Union" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the Workers' Compensation Court (WCC) granting summary judgment to Indemnity Insurance Company of North America on Brian Richardson's petition arguing that he was entitled to have Indemnity accept his claim for workers' compensation benefits, holding that the WCC correctly held that Richardson had not timely filed a written claim for benefits under Mont. Code Ann. 39-71-601. Richardson filed his claim for benefits almost four years after the alleged work-related accident. Indemnity denied Richardson's claim on the grounds that Richardson had failed to provide his employer with timely notice and that he had failed timely to file his claim. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Richardson failed to file a timely written claim under section 39-71-601. View "Richardson v. Indemnity Insurance Co. of N.A." on Justia Law