President Trump's pick for Labor Secretary, Hardee's and Carl's Jr. CEO, Andrew Puzder, has come under attack by workers and their advocates since his nomination was first announced in December. Rightly so. Puzder's approach to doing business and his previous statements regarding key workplace issues paint a very worrisome picture regarding how workers will fare under his watch. Just ask the workers at his own company, who, in a report issued this week, describe a pattern of workplace violations, including being required to work sick and without pay, resulting from business decisions that appear to give low priority to workers' health and well-being.
Professional athletes are often likened to warriors and lionized for pushing their bodies to the breaking point, ignoring pain, and remaining stoic. Most accept that some injuries - sprains, pulled muscles, etc. - are part of the job. More and more, however, professional athletes are drawing a line when it comes to preventable injuries that can be attributed to the often willful negligence of the teams and leagues that employ them.
State and federal labor laws ensure that employees are fairly compensated for their work. When companies become insolvent, similar protections give wages and benefits a higher priority in bankruptcy over other creditors' claims. But does a bankruptcy judge have the power to switch that order?
Last week, the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals struck a blow to employers that require their employees to waive their right to bring class and collective actions to remedy wage and hour violations, finding these waivers violate the National Labor Relations Act's right to engage in "concerted activities" to improve workplace conditions.
Here are two employment cases about second-chances. A plan participant who filed an ERISA claim too late under a contractual limitations period is rescued by a decision that the plan violated its duty by not telling the participant about the shortened deadline. The EEOC wins a second opportunity to advance claims on behalf of a class of female victims of harassment, in the wake of Mach Mining, LLC v. EEOC, 135 S. Ct. 1645 (2015).
One of the challenges recently facing groups of employees hurt by discriminatory employment practices has been to persuade courts to allow the entire controversy to be decided in a single class action. Today, the Seventh Circuit issued a decision that helps break down some of the barriers to effective class certification, in a case involving a city school board's policy of placing schools on suspension - primarily affecting minority neighborhoods - and firing teaching staff.
The Fourth Circuit for a second time holds that a district court erred in refusing class certification in a Title VII (and § 1981) case involving denial of promotion on the basis of race. Six years ago, a 2-1 panel ordered certification of a class of black employees denied promotions. Brown v. Nucor Corp., 576 F.3d 149 (4th Cir. 2009). Another 2-1 panel, with two of the same judges authoring the majority and dissenting opinions (totaling 154 pages!), today reverses the decertification of the same class.
The NYPD has entered into a class-wide settlement of claims by officers who performed active military service during their employment with the NYPD. The officers alleged that the NYPD's method of calculating pension contributions for the period in which they were on military leave short-changed them in violation of the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA).
For employers and their counsel who insist that Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes, 131 S. Ct. 2541 (2011), is a silver bullet against Title VII discrimination class actions, today's decision in the McReynolds case was not good news. The Seventh Circuit sweeps past the employer's arguments and holds that the district court erred by not certifying a Rule 23 class action in a disparate-impact race discrimination case.
In this long-lived appeal, involving an antitrust tying claim against the American Express Company, the Second Circuit reaffirms its prior holding that an arbitration clause preventing class-action litigation of a medium-dollar claim may be unenforceable if its practical effect is to prevent the plaintiffs from vindicating their statutory rights.