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Labor & Employment

Aug 27, 2020

Labor & Employment – Allowing single-stock fund in 401(k) plan might violate ERISA

Allegations that a 401(k) plan sponsor and management committee ignored an imprudent single-stock fund for several years was sufficient to support claims for breaches of the fiduciary duties of prudence and diversification imposed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974. Background Christina Stegemann and Jeffrey Quatrone, participants in the Gannett Co. Inc. 401(k) […]

Jul 28, 2020

Labor & Employment – Airline failed to reemploy pilot, violated USERRA

Although the pilot was not cleared to fly, an airline nevertheless violated the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act, or USERRA, by not reemploying him “promptly” in an alternative position. Background As Thomas Harwood neared completion of a tour of duty with the Air Force Reserve he sought to return to his former employment […]

Jul 14, 2020

Labor & Employment – Jury’s $50K FMLA retaliation verdict overturned

Although the jury found for the plaintiff on her claim under the Family and Medical Leave Act, and awarded her $50,000, the evidence was not enough to permit a reasonable jury to conclude the company’s proffered rationale for firing her was false and merely a pretext for FMLA retaliation. Background Arlene Fry alleges her former […]

Jun 16, 2020

Employment Law – Salesperson’s unpaid commission claims reinstated

Where a salesperson alleged IBM defrauded him by “capping” his sales commissions despite allegedly representing they would not be capped, his claims for fraud, unjust enrichment or quantum meruit were not foreclosed by disclaimer language in which IBM reserved its right to adjust the payment scheme. Background Justin Fessler brings this suit against his former employer, IBM, […]

Jun 16, 2020

Employment Law – No basis found for award of punitive damages in harassment case

Although AutoZone remained liable for compensatory damages awarded to a former employee because of sexual harassment by a co-worker, the punitive damages award was vacated because there was insufficient evidence his managers engaged in intentionally discriminatory practices themselves with malice or reckless indifference, as required under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 […]

May 28, 2020

Employment Law – Company response forecloses hostile environment liability

A viable hostile work environment claim based on a co-worker’s conduct requires facts showing the employer knew, or should have known, about the harassment and failed to take action to stop it. Here, because the complaint alleged Best Buy successfully stopped the conduct, the complaint was properly dismissed. Background The case stems from an incident […]

Dec 19, 2019

Employment Discrimination – Plaintiff died before suit filed, action is null

Where a suit against an employer was originally filed in the name of a man who died two days before his claims were filed, there was no Article III standing and the error could not be cured through substitution of the personal representative. Background The designated plaintiff in this case, Kenneth House, died two days […]

Oct 28, 2019

Labor & Employment Title VII – Retaliation Claim – Injury or Harm – Reduction in Voluntary Overtime

Plaintiff generally worked four hours of voluntary overtime before her shift, so she refused to perform more overtime after her shift, when defendant purportedly needed her because another employee was out. There is a genuine issue of material fact in whether the defendant-employer retaliated against plaintiff by reducing her voluntary overtime. Defendant’s motion for summary […]

Oct 28, 2019

Labor & Employment Public Employees – Constitutional – Free Speech – Disruption

Plaintiff, an employee of the York County Sheriff, had a First Amendment interest in speaking to his wife, an employee of a television station, about alleged misconduct by correctional officers leading to an inmate’s death while in custody. However, plaintiff’s speech clearly violated the sheriff’s policies and caused the sheriff to devote resources to engage […]

Oct 10, 2019

Employment Discrimination Company not liable for sexual assault of plaintiff

Although a woman’s co-worker was found liable for sexually assaulting her during her shifts at Radford Arsenal, the evidence was insufficient to hold their employer liable for the co-worker’s conduct. Background Carla A. Clehm is an employee of defendant BAE Systems Ordnance Systems Inc., a federal defense contractor that operates the Radford Army Ammunition Plant […]

Oct 10, 2019

Labor & Employment Disability Discrimination – Hostile Work Environment – Retaliation

The court rules that an employee’s disability discrimination claim failed where he could not demonstrate that he was a qualified individual under the ADA because he could not show his ability to perform the essential functions of his job or that his requested accommodation would alleviate his functional limitations or allow him to perform the […]

Oct 10, 2019

Labor & Employment Retaliation – Protected Activity – Breach of Contract

The court rules that defendant employer was not entitled to summary judgment on plaintiff’s retaliation claim where the record demonstrated very close proximity between plaintiff employee’s protected activity and her supervisor’s alleged retaliation such that defendant’s legitimate, non-retaliatory reasons for adverse employment actions could be found to be pretextual. The court adopts the[...]

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