Category: Supreme Court

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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

Supreme Court Broadens Scope of Title VII’s Anti-Retaliation Protections

The U.S. Supreme Court issued an important decision yesterday, clarifying that employees who report discrimination in response to an employer’s internal investigation are protected by the anti-retaliation provisions of Title VII.  Click here to download the case:  Crawford v. Metropolitan Government of Nashville.  In Crawford, the plaintiff was interviewed as part of her employer’s investigation into another … Continue Reading

Supreme Court to Hear Mixed-Motive Age Discrimination Case

Last week, the United States Supreme Court agreed to review Gross v. FBL Financial Services, Inc., a case involving whether a plaintiff alleging a claim under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act must present "direct evidence" of discrimination to be entitled to a mixed-motive jury instruction.  A mixed-motive case in one where the evidence shows that … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Rejects Appeal on Aliens’ Right to Vote in Union Elections

Earlier this month, the United States Supreme Court declined to review a ruling from the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit holding that unauthorized aliens are "employees" under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) and therefore entitled to cast votes in a union election.  In Agri Processor Co. v. NLRB, the employees elected … Continue Reading

U.S. Supreme Court to Hear Six L&E Cases This Term

The U.S. Supreme Court opened its 2008-2009 term on October 6 with six labor and employment law cases on its docket.  (For docket information and questions presented, click on the name of the case).  Locke v. Karass:  may a public employee union may charge nonmembers for representational costs for litigation expenses incurred by the international union on … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Accepts Review of AT&T Retirement Benefits Case

Earlier this week, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to consider whether employers may be liable under Title VII for not giving female employees full credit for pregnancy leaves in calculating retirement benefits.  AT&T Corp. v. Hulteen, U.S., No. 07-543. The Ninth Circuit ruled last August that AT&T violated Title VII by calculating the female plaintiffs’ retirement … Continue Reading

Big Day at the Supreme Court: Four New L&E Decisions

Today the U.S. Supreme Court issued four labor and employment-related decisions; none, however, were big surprises or substantial changes in the law.  First, in Meacham v. Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory, the Court held 8-0 that an employer defending an Age Discrimination in Employment Act case bears the burden of proving a "reasonable factors other than … 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
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