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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

Oregon Court Of Appeals Holds Non-Disabled Employees Are Protected When Requesting Accommodations

On Thursday, in Herbert v. Altimeter, the Oregon Court of Appeals held that an employee does not need to actually be disabled in order to be protected from retaliation for requesting an accommodation under Oregon’s disability anti-discrimination law.  The case serves as a useful reminder that anti-retaliation protections, like those in the Oregon disability law, … Continue Reading

Oregon Supreme Court Allows Workers’ Comp Coverage for Gastric Bypass

This morning, in SAIF Corp. v. Sprague, the Oregon Supreme Court upheld the workers’ compensation claim of an employee who sought coverage for gastric bypass surgery, on the grounds that the surgery was necessary to treat a decades-old on-the-job knee injury.  Sprague injured his knee on the job in 1976, filed a workers’ comp claim, and sought … Continue Reading

Oregon Supreme Court Denies Employee’s Wrongful Discharge Claim for Reporting Unlawful Trade Practices

The Oregon Supreme Court has denied a car salesman’s wrongful discharge claim. In Lamson v. Crater Lake Motors, Inc., the salesman, Kevin Lamson, claimed he was terminated for complaining to his employer that an outside entity managing sales on his employer’s car lot was engaging in unlawful trade practices.  Lamson refused to participate in special promotional events run by the … Continue Reading

Oregon Court of Appeals Rejects Wrongful Discharge Claims for Health and Safety Retaliation

This morning the Oregon Court of Appeals rejected a plaintiff’s common-law wrongful discharge claim that she was terminated for reporting a health and safety violation.  The Court ruled that the state and federal statutory remedies were adequate, and that she should have filed a statutory claim instead.  Plaintiff Andrea Deatherage was an employee of Super 8 Inn when she … Continue Reading

Another Circuit Court Agrees: ADA Amendments Act is Not Retroactive

Congress did not intend for the ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA) to be retroactive, the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled yesterday, and applied pre-ADAAA law to dismiss an employment discrimination claim.  Click here to read the court’s decision in Lytes v. DC Water and Sewer Authority.  Congress passed the ADAAA in 2008 and the new … Continue Reading

Oregon Court of Appeals Upholds Employer’s Right to Ask Potentially Disabled Employees to Take Medical Exams

Today in Heipel v. Henderson et al.,  the Oregon Court of Appeals affirmed summary judgment on an Oregon disability discrimination claim in favor of an employer who asked an employee to take an independent medical exam (IME) as part of an investigation into the employee’s disturbing work-related behavior.  The court confirmed that such exams must be "job … Continue Reading

Bus Driver’s “Shy Bladder Syndrome” a Disability

A school bus driver who was demoted after his "shy bladder syndrome" left him unable to comply with his employer’s drug testing procedures may proceed with claims under the Americans with Disabilites Act (ADA) according to a recent ruling from a Tennessee federal court.  Click here to read the full opinion in Melman v. Metropolitan Government … Continue Reading

9th Circuit Orders Damages, but Not Reinstatement for Unauthorized Alien Workers

What’s an employer to do when it is ordered to reinstate former employees, but those employees are not legally authorized to work in the United States?  Pay liquidated damages instead, according to the Ninth Circuit’s recent decision in NLRB v. C&C Roofing Supply Inc.  In C&C, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) alleged that the employer unlawfully … Continue Reading

Driving Not a “Major Life Activity” Under ADA

Is driving a car a major life activity under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)?  No, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals recently concluded, joining two other federal circuit courts that have held that just because a person cannot drive does not mean that person meets the legal definition of "disabled."  Kellogg v. Energy Safety Services, Inc. … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Upholds Legal Arizona Workers’ Act

This week the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Legal Arizona Workers Act (LAWA) is not preempted by the federal (IRCA).  Rather, the court held, LAWA falls within the scope of the “savings clause” of IRCA’s express preemption provision as a “licensing law” and is therefore enforceable.  A coalition of human rights and … Continue Reading

Calling Store Manager “Grandma” Evidence of Age Bias

Here’s a shocker out of Illinois:  a federal district court held that a retail chain’s store manager calling a department head "Grandma" was evidence of age discrimination.  In McDonald v. Best Buy Co., the plaintiff alleged she was demoted and forced out of her job because of her age in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Affirms “Emotional Distress Damages” Caused by Denial of FMLA Leave

Plaintiffs suing their employers under the Family and Medical Leave Act ("FMLA") may recover lost wages, but they may not recover emotional distress damages.  What if an employee misses work because of emotional distress that is caused by a wrongful denial of FMLA leave?  The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled that such damages … Continue Reading

Oregon Court of Appeals Upholds Employment Discrimination Statute

Oregon’s anti-discrimination statute allows an employee alleging employment discrimination to file either a lawsuit (which results in a jury trial) or an administrative complaint with the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries (which results in an administrative hearing with no jury). In Emerald v. Bureau of Labor, the employer argued that allowing an employee to … Continue Reading

Supreme Court: No “Class of One” Claims

This morning the U.S. Supreme Court struck a blow for public employers, ruling that the "class of one" theory does not apply in public employment cases.  In Engquist v. Oregon Department of Agriculture, the plaintiff alleged that she was fired not because she was a member of a protected class (such as race, sex, age, … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Expands Plaintiffs’ Relief in Race and Age Discrimination Cases

On May 27, the Supreme Court held that two civil rights laws prohibitretaliation against employees who complain about discrimination, even though neither law actually mentions retaliation. In CBOCS West, Inc. v. Humphries, the Court held that a restaurant employee could sue his employer for retaliation under Section 1981 of the Civil Rights Act of 1866 … Continue Reading

Oregon Employees Have No Wage Claim for Missed Rest and Meal Breaks

The Oregon Supreme Court ruled that employees could not sue their employer for back pay over missed rest and meal breaks. Want to know more?  You can either read the court’s opinion, or read a more concise yet equally informative summary of Garfur v. Legacy written by yours truly.  Note to employers:  don’t start making your employees … Continue Reading

Howard Stern + Work = Hostile Work Environment

The Eleventh Circuit (which covers Alabama, Florida and Georgia) held late last month that a female employee was subjected to an unlawful hostile work environment on the basis of her sex in part because of "vulgar radio programming" that was played daily in her workplace. Reeves v. C.H. Robinson Worldwide Inc., No. 07-10270, April 28, … Continue Reading
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