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Labor & Employment

Labor & Employment – ERISA Plan Covers Drunken Driver Death (access required)

Johnson v. American United Life Ins. Co. Because an employee’s ERISA plan does not define “accident” for coverage of accidental death and dismemberment benefits, the 4th Circuit construes the plan in favor of coverage and says the widow of an employee with a .289 blood alcohol content who died in a one-vehicle accident is entitled to coverage for both AD&D benefits and life insurance under the employer’s ERISA plan.

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Labor & Employment – Unemployment Compensation – Hospital – Flu Shot Requirement – Refusal (access required)

AnMed Health v. South Carolina Department of Employment & Workforce While it was reasonable for a hospital to require its employees to get a flu shot, it was also reasonable for the respondent-employee to refuse, given that she has no direct contact with patients and that her daughter had died from possibly genetically-based complications from a flu shot.

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Labor & Employment – No ADA Claim from Leave Denial (access required)

Wilson v. Dollar General Corp. An employee of a chain-store distribution center who filed his disability discrimination claim with the EEOC before he filed his Chapter 13 bankruptcy petition has standing to pursue his discrimination claim, the 4th Circuit says, but the claim has no merit as the employee did not show he could perform the essential functions of his job had he been granted a brief additional leave for treatment of his vision impairment.

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Labor & Employment – FLSA – Off-the-clock Work – Civil Practice – Conditional Class Certification (access required)

Curtis v. Time Warner Entertainment-Advance/Newhouse Partnership Plaintiffs have made the modest factual showing required for conditional class certification under the Fair Labor Standards Act: plaintiffs have made a showing that defendant’s sales representatives were required to work off the clock in order to make sure that defendant’s software correctly credited them with commissions.

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Labor & Employment – Tort/Negligence – Wrongful Discharge – Public Policy – Hospice LPN – Vulnerable Adult – Internal Report (access required)

Riley v. Southern Care, Inc. Assuming that S.C. Code Ann. § 43-35-25 requires nurses working for hospices to report abuse of vulnerable adults, abuse is to be reported to the Adult Protective Services Program. Plaintiff only alleges that she made internal reports; she does not allege that she even threatened to report the alleged abuse to the Adult Protective Services Program or any other public entity.

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Labor & Employment – City Worker’s USERRA Claim Too Late (access required)

A chief warrant officer in the U.S. Coast Guard Reserves, who left his job as a municipal waste manager for periods of active service with the Coast Guard, waited too long to file his suit under the Uniform Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994, and the 4th Circuit affirms the district court decision that the suit is barred by the four-year federal “catchall” statute of limitations under 28 U.S.C. § 1658(a).

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Labor & Employment – Union Member’s Complaint Not ‘Free Speech’ (access required)

Trail v. Local 2850 UAW United Defense Workers of America A union member who alleged she was fired in retaliation for reporting to the regional union that she had seen the union local’s president and vice president viewing pornography on a union computer does not have a claim for violation of her free-speech rights under the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act; the 4th Circuit says the district court ruled too broadly against union members’ speech rights under the Act, but nevertheless affirms dismissal of the claim. Appellant argued before the district court and again here that she need not allege that she was formally disciplined within the meaning of § 609 in order to state a retaliation claim under the LMRDA. The Supreme Court has indicated there is a freestanding retaliation claim under sections 101 and 102. This makes perfect sense, for Congress did not intend to provide union members an extensive list of free-speech rights only to then permit all sorts of retaliation against them so long as such retaliation fell short of formal discipline. In this respect, therefore, the district court went too far in curtailing the free-speech rights of union members under the Act. The circuits have disagreed as to what precisely constitutes actionable retaliation under §§ 101 and 102. We need not, however, address what qualifies as actionable retaliation because appellant’s complaint falters over the threshold question of whether her allegations fell within the ambit of § 101 in the first place.

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