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Labor & Employment

Labor & Employment – Fired for False Records, Retaliation Claim Fails (access required)

Balas v. Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc. A woman terminated for falsifying time records cannot win her Title VII case alleging she was fired in retaliation for complaining about not being allowed to wear ripped jeans, although men could wear ripped jeans; the 4th Circuit also says her supervisor’s thank-you hug for Christmas cookies she gave him was not assault and battery.

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Labor & Employment – Fired for False Records, Retaliation Claim Fails (access required)

Balas v. Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc. A woman terminated for falsifying time records cannot win her Title VII case alleging she was fired in retaliation for complaining about not being allowed to wear ripped jeans, although men could wear ripped jeans; the 4th Circuit also says her supervisor’s thank-you hug for Christmas cookies she gave him was not assault and battery.

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Labor & Employment – Ex-Husband Can’t Keep ERISA Benefits (access required)

Andochick v. Byrd A man who waived his benefits under his ex-wife’s ERISA retirement and insurance plans in a divorce settlement cannot rely on the preemption doctrine for protection from a state court action by the ex-wife’s parents to enforce the divorce decree in which husband waived his rights; the 4th Circuit says ERISA does not preempt post-distribution suits against ERISA beneficiaries.

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Labor & Employment – Retiree Wins ‘Retroactive’ Pension Benefits (access required)

Helton v. AT&T Inc. A retired AT&T employee wins her ERISA suit for recoupment of $121,563.90 in pension benefits due to an eight-year delay in receipt of her full pension benefits; the 4th Circuit says the district court properly considered limited evidence outside the administrative record but known to AT&T when it determined the employee’s eligibility for benefits, and correctly determined that AT&T breached its statutory and fiduciary duties to the employee.

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Labor & Employment – Public Employees – Municipal – Administrator – Void Contract – Tort/Negligence – Wrongful Discharge Claim (access required)

Cunningham v. Anderson County A lame-duck county council could not bind the newly elected council to an employment contract with a county administrator. Since the employment contract is void, plaintiff may go forward with his claim that the county wrongfully discharged him – as an at-will employee – for reasons that violate public policy.

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Labor & Employment – Public Employees – Municipal Retirees – Health Insurance – Contract – Estoppel (access required)

Bishop v. City of Columbia Although neither the defendant-city’s employee handbook nor an insurance benefits booklet formed a contract with the plaintiffs – retired police officers and firefighters – the plaintiff-retirees may have been entitled to rely on statements made by their supervisors and city human resources personnel about free health insurance after retirement. We affirm in part and reverse in part the circuit court’s grant of summary judgment to the city.

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Labor & Employment — Driver Fired for False Records, Not FMLA Leave (access required)

Laing v. Federal Express Corp. Because defendant FedEx had sufficient evidence that plaintiff had falsified delivery records to gain time, it could terminate her employment as a delivery driver even though she claims she was terminated in violation of the Family & Medical Leave Act when she was not returned to her prior employment after a knee injury; the 4th Circuit says plaintiff has not shown the false records issue was a pretext for her discipline.

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Labor & Employment — No ERISA Claim Against BOA Benefits Committee (access required)

David v. Alphin The 4th Circuit upholds dismissal of a putative class claim by participants in two BOA retirement plans, alleging defendant members of the Bank’s Corporate Benefits Committee breached their ERISA fiduciary duties by putting Bank-affiliated mutual funds in the Bank’s 401(k) investment menu; the district court did not err in dismissing claims related to the Pension Plan for lack of standing and in granting summary judgment to defendants on additional claims that were time-barred.

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