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Labor & Employment

May 21, 2021

Labor/Employment – Nuclear agency immune from whistleblower suit

Although the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, or NRC, is obligated to not retaliate against whistleblowers, because the statute allows suits against a “person,” and the NRC is not a “person,” the NRC was immune from a whistleblower suit. Background Dr. Michael Peck is a NRC employee who made disclosures to Congress and the NRC’s inspector general […]

May 21, 2021

Labor/Employment – Reassignment backs failure-to-accommodate suit

In a case of first impression, the court held that where an employer transfers an employee from a position they could perform if provided with reasonable accommodations to a position they do not want, that could support a failure-to-accommodate claim. Background Michael Steven Wirtes sued his former employer, the City of Newport News, alleging that […]

May 10, 2021

Labor & Employment – Refusal, not service, prompted termination

Where an employee of the Drug Enforcement Administration was terminated because he refused to participate in a DEA internal investigation, not because of his Coast Guard service, his claims under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994, or USERRA, were dismissed. Background The Drug Enforcement Administration terminated the employment of Darek and […]

Apr 8, 2021

Labor/Employment – Union may assert good-faith defense

In a case of first impression, a private party is entitled to assert the good-faith defense to liability under § 1983. As such, unions that collected representation fees from nonunion teachers prior to the Supreme Court holding such fees were unconstitutional, were not required to return the funds because they acted in good faith based […]

Apr 2, 2021

Labor & Employment – FLSA doesn’t apply to immigration detention

Where civil immigration detainees who were awaiting immigration hearings participated in a voluntary work program for which they were paid between $1 per day and $15 per week, their minimum wage bid failed because they are not “employees” within the meaning of the Fair Labor Standards Act and are not free to leave for another […]

Feb 2, 2021

Labor & Employment – Faith-centered school prevails over ex-headmaster

The former headmaster of a faith-based school founded by a bestselling novelist, whose employment and defamation claims were rejected by the trial court and jury, failed to show the court committed error by refusing to allow certain testimony, imposing a time limit on the trial, in its evidentiary rulings or in charging the jury. Background […]

Feb 2, 2021

Labor & Employment – Partner not an ‘employee’ for Title VII

Where a patent attorney who was a shareholding partner and equal owner of the firm, was compensated according to the firm’s profits and losses, enjoyed a high degree of independence and could only be terminated by a majority of the firm’s board, she was not an “employee” entitled to Title VII protection. Background Shawna Lemon […]

Dec 30, 2020

Labor & Employment – Fire battalion chiefs not entitled to overtime

Where fire battalion chiefs argued they were covered by a “first responder regulation,” which required they be paid overtime, because their primary duty was management and not front line firefighting, the first responder regulation was inapplicable. A review of their primary duties shows they fall within the execution exemption to the Fair Labor Standards Act. […]

Dec 3, 2020

Labor & Employment – FLSA exemption incorrectly applied in restaurant wage dispute

Where restaurant employees claimed that tips and automatic gratuities could not be considered in determining whether their employer met its obligations under the Fair Labor Standards Act, or FLSA, it was error to apply a statutory exemption—29 U.S.C. § 207(i)—to the minimum-wage requirements of the law. The exemption applies only to overtime obligations; it says […]

Nov 30, 2020

Labor & Employment – Employee could not perform even with reasonable accommodation

Where the employer granted several accommodations to an employee after his knee surgery, including limiting walking to four hours per day and work to eight hours per day and allowing the use of a motorized scooter, but the employee instead crafted his own “accommodations,” he failed to show he could perform the essential functions of […]

Sep 16, 2020

Labor & Employment – Contract – Tenured Professor – Faculty Manual – Failure to Follow

Despite a faculty manual’s declaration on nearly every page that “This is not a contract of employment,” the manual did in fact constitute the employment contract between the defendant-college and its tenured professors, including plaintiff. The college president decided to terminate plaintiff. When plaintiff elected not to take the president’s decision to the college’s board […]

Aug 27, 2020

Labor & Employment – Claim not cognizable under Equal Protection Clause

Where a former deputy commonwealth’s attorney brought a claim under the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause claiming she was fired in retaliation for reporting alleged sex discrimination, her claim was dismissed because the Equal Protection Clause cannot sustain a pure claim of retaliation. Background Collette Marie Wilcox, a former deputy commonwealth’s attorney for Carroll County, [&h[...]

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