A Sixth Circuit case demonstrates that a employee's release of claims, even a broad general release, may not be effective against ERISA claims. The court affirms class certification and liability in favor of the plaintiffs in a case where a class of release-signers challenged the calculation of their pensions. The court holds that the future accrual of retirement benefits may not be within the scope of a standard release.
Two recent decisions from the Eighth Circuit serve as a reminder that employment discrimination and retaliation cases are being tried and employees are winning. In Hudson, the Court affirms a nearly $180,000 jury verdict in a Title VII and ADA discrimination case, including $100,000 in emotional distress damages. In Al-Birekdar, the court upholds a $200,000 verdict for retaliation under the Missouri Human Rights Act.
A recent ERISA case from the Fourth Circuit reaffirms that, sometimes, it is appropriate for a district court to consider evidence outside the administrative record in deciding whether the plan administrator abused its discretion in denying benefits. Here, the court upholds a judgment in the beneficiary's favor holding that she was erroneously denied early retirement benefits that she only belatedly learned were available to her.
Here's a potentially important case for disabled persons and their advocates residing in the Second Circuit (NY, CT and VT) and elsewhere. A panel reverses summary judgment in a case involving a city professional employee with schizophrenia under medication, holding that accommodations such as flex-time and unsupervised work may be reasonable in some instances. In this particular case, the record reflected that the employee had been so accommodated for ten years before a supervisor suddenly and inexplicably called an end to it.