Category: Supreme Court

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US Supreme Court Gives Green Light For Employers To Use Offers Of Judgment To Moot FLSA Collective Actions

Today the US Supreme Court issued its long-awaited opinion in Genesis Healthcare v. Symczk. In the case, the Court held that employers could effectively end collective action lawsuits under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) by agreeing to pay the named plaintiffs in those lawsuits whatever they claim they are owed. The Court held that because the … Continue Reading

U.S. Supreme Court Swats Case Back To Arbitration

In a terse per curium opinion issued today in Nitro-Lift Technologies v. Howard, the U.S. Supreme Court sent a very clear reminder to lower courts, and especially state courts, that once arbitration agreements are found enforceable, arbitrators, and not judges, are to decide everything else in the case involving interpretation of an arbitration agreement.  In … Continue Reading

Stoel Rives Presents Webinar On Employer Group Health Plans After U.S. Supreme Court Decision Upholding “Obamacare”

As everyone who was not on Mars this summer knows, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a surprising and historic decision upholding key provisions of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act ("ACA").  To help employers navigate the requirements of the law now that it has the stamp of approval of the Supreme Court, and to provide other updates … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Rules Oral Complaints Of Wage Violations Are Protected Under FLSA

Today the U.S. Supreme Court issued another employee-friendly opinion in Kasten v. St. Gobain Performance Plastics Corp., holding by a 6-2 margin that the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA") anti-retaliation provisions protect an employee’s oral complaints to supervisors about wage and hour violations. This is the latest of three opinions this term that have expanded the … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Upholds “Cat’s Paw” Theory In Employment Discrimination Cases

Today the Supreme Court issued its opinion in Staub v. Proctor Hospital, upholding the "cat’s paw" theory of employer liability, under which employers are liable for discrimination where lower-level supervisors with discriminatory motives influence, but do not make, adverse employment decisions made by higher-level managers.  The near unanimous opinion, authored by Justice Scalia, is likely to … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Holds Title VII Can Cover Third Party Retaliation Claims

The United States Supreme Court issued a unanimous opinion today in Thompson v. North American Stainless, LP., 562 U.S. ___ (2011), that confirms the expansive scope of persons protected by Title VII. The Court held that it is unlawful for an employer to intentionally harm one employee in order to retaliate against another employee who engaged in … Continue Reading

Oregon Supreme Court Allows Greater Punitive Damage Award in Some Employment Cases

The Oregon Supreme Court has recognized an exception to limits on punitive damage awards in certain employment cases where the compensatory damages are low.  In Hamlin v. Hampton Lumber Mills, Inc., the Oregon Supreme Court considered the case of a plaintiff who was injured on the job and whose employer failed to reinstate him as required … Continue Reading

Supreme Court issues Favorable Ruling for Employers in Texting/Privacy Case

Yesterday the United States Supreme Court issued a long-anticipated decision in City of Ontario v. Quon, unanimously ruling that a search of sexually explicit personal text messages sent by a police officer using his department pager was reasonable and did not violate the individual officer’s privacy rights. At issue was the right of a government employer … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Invalidates Nearly 600 Decisions Made by Two-Member NLRB

This morning the United States Supreme Court issued a highly-anticipated decision in New Process Steel v. National Labor Relations Board, ruling 5-4 to effectively invalidate almost 600 decisions made by the NLRB during the time it only had two members.  Normally, the NLRB is comprised of five members, but typically delegates its powers to decide most cases … Continue Reading

Supreme Court: Disparate Impact Plaintiffs Can Sue Based on the Application of the Discriminatory Practice

The Supreme Court today issued a judicial smackdown to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, unanimously reversing its decision in Lewis v. City of Chicago (as we suggested it should when we reviewed the details of this case back in October!). Briefly put, the plaintiffs are a group of approximately 6,000 black firefighter applicants who filed … Continue Reading

Supreme Court To Decide Scope of Cat’s Paw in Employment Cases

  Yesterday, the Supreme Court granted certiorari in Staub v. Proctor Hospital to address the question of when an employer may be held liable in “cat’s paw” situations, where an employee with unlawful intent influences a decisionmaker but is not involved in making the ultimate employment decision. In this case the employee, Vincent Staub, was … Continue Reading

Supreme Court to Review Text Message Case; Primarily of Interest to Public Employers

Yesterday the United States Supreme Court agreed to consider whether a police officer has a reasonable expectation of privacy in text messages sent using his department-issued pager.  The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled earlier this year that the officer had such a privacy right.  Click here to read the opinion below in City of Ontario, California v. Quon.  In Quon, … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Lets Stand Ruling Allowing EEOC to Issue Subpoenas After Right-To-Sue

Yesterday the U.S. Supreme Court declined to review a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision that allows the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to continue investigating allegations of employment discrimination, and even to issue subpoenas to employers, after issuing a right-to-sue letter to the employee who filed the initial complaint.  Click here to read the Ninth Circuit decision in … Continue Reading

Supreme Court to Rule on Authority of Two-Member NLRB

This week the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear an appeal in New Process Steel v. NLRB and determine whether the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB or "the Board") has the authority to decide cases with only two sitting members.  The NLRB is the independent federal agency that administers the National Labor Relations Act, the … Continue Reading

The First Monday in October: Supreme Court Roundup

The first Monday in October traditionally marks the beginning of the United States Supreme Court’s yearly term – and it provides an excellent opportunity to look at the cases the Court will be hearing this year.  In an earlier post, the World of Work brought you detailed discussion of the Court’s only Title VII case this term:  Lewis v. City of Chicago.  … Continue Reading

2009 Mid-Term Federal Legislative Update

We expected many changes in federal labor and employment law in 2009 – for the first time in years, Democrats control the White House and both houses of Congress and have the political ability to make significant reforms.  However, not much has happened in 2009: we have only significant labor and employment bill signed into … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Case About Meddling International Union

The US Supreme Court just agreed to hear a case asking just how much international unions will be allowed to meddle in the affairs of their local affiliates.  In Granite Rock v. Teamsters, the employer sued the International Brotherhood of Teamsters in federal court claiming that the International interfered with the relationship between the employer and the Local Teamsters … Continue Reading

Ricci v. DeStefano — Supreme Court Holds City Violated Title VII By Rejecting Racially Disparate Test Results

To end its term, the Supreme Court today issued its long awaited opinion in Ricci v. DeStefano–a case that has received extra media attention because Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor was on the Second Circuit Court of Appeals panel that decided the case below. The conservative justices on the Court  reversed the Second Circuit (and by … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Tightens Standards for Age Discrimination Plaintiffs

Yesterday the United States Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that trial courts may not use a "mixed motive" framework in federal age discrimination cases.  Rather, plaintiffs in age discrimination cases must prove that "but for" their age, they would not have been discriminated against.  Click here to read the Court’s decision in Gross v. FBL Financial Services.  Under a 1991 … Continue Reading

Judge Sotomayor’s Record Shows Even-Handed Approach to Employment Law

President Obama recently nominated Judge Sonia Sotomayor to replace outgoing Justice David Souter on the United States Supreme Court.  If you’re like us, you’re wondering what her nomination might mean for employment law.  While it’s never easy to predict how a nominee will rule once on the Supreme Court (just ask George H.W. Bush), early … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Clears Pension Plan That Differentiated Pregnancy Leave Prior to the PDA

Today the U.S. Supreme Court held that an employer does not violate the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) if it pays pension benefits based in part on pre-PDA calculations that gave employees less retirement credit for pregnancy leave than for other types of medical leave.  Click here to read the Court’s decision in AT&T Corp. v. Hulteen.  The … Continue Reading

Supreme Court: Arbitration Provisions in Collective Bargaining Agreements Enforceable on Statutory Claims

Today the United States Supreme Court issued a decision of paramount importance to union employers, holding that arbitration clauses in collective bargaining agreements (CBAs) are enforceable as to statutory claims.  Click here to read the decision in 14 Penn Plaza LLC v. Pyett.  In Penn Plaza, several union members asserted claims against their employer under the Age Discrimination … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Upholds Idaho Law on Union Speech 6-3

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled earlier this week that an Idaho law banning local government employers from allowing payroll deductions for political activities does not violate unions’ First Amendment free speech rights.  You can download the opinion here:  Ysursa v. Pocatello Ed. Ass’n, U.S., No. 07-869, 2/24/09). The Idaho Voluntary Contributions Act, enacted in 2003, prohibited … Continue Reading
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