Articles Posted in Labor & Employment Law

by
After plaintiff was denied tenure and terminated by the University, he filed suit against the Board of Trustees, claiming that the University discriminated against him based on race and violated both the terms and spirit of its contract with him. The DC Circuit reversed the district court's grant of summary judgment to the University on the Title VII, D.C. Human Rights Act (DCHRA), and contract claims. As to the statutory claims under Title VII and the DCHRA, the court held that plaintiff raised a plausible inference that race was a motivating factor in the University's decision to deny him tenure. As to the contract claims, the court held that the claims were not time-barred. On the merits, the court held that there was an unresolved factual dispute regarding whether an implied-in-fact contract between plaintiff and the University existed and, if it did, what the terms and intent of that contract were. Accordingly, the court remanded for further proceedings. View "Mawakana v. Board of Trustees of the University of the District of Columbia" on Justia Law

by
The DC Circuit held that lacrosse officials working for the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) are independent contractors exempt from the protections of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). In this case, the union filed a petition with the Board seeking to represent 140 individuals who officiate lacrosse games. PIAA contested the union's right to hold an election. The Regional NLRB Director rejected PIAA's arguments and directed that a union election take place. The court granted PIAA's petition for review and vacated the Board's order, denying the cross-application for enforcement, because the lacrosse officials were independent contractors. View "Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Assoc. v. NLRB" on Justia Law

by
Plaintiffs, 47 former longtime employees of the District Child and Family Services Agency who were mostly African American, filed suit alleging claims that their terminations were unlawfully discriminatory on the basis of age and race. At issue on appeal, were the race-based claims. The DC Circuit generally affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment on plaintiff's race-based claims, but reversed as to one issue. The court held that nothing in Title VII suggests that the practices an employer uses to effectuate the adverse employment action of layoffs, whether or not dubbed a reduction in force, are exempt from disparate-impact scrutiny. Accordingly, the court reversed the "particular practice" holding and the accompanying denial of class certification, remanding for further proceedings. The court affirmed the district court's decisions with respect to plaintiffs' challenge to the college degree requirement the Agency added to one job category, and the applicability of estoppel to certain individual plaintiffs' claims. View "Davis v. District of Columbia" on Justia Law

by
After the Board found that DirectSat had refused to disclose information relevant to the union's statutory duties and thus violated its duty to bargain in good faith under the National Labor Relations Act, the Board issued its decision and DirecTV filed a motion to intervene. In this case, during negotiations with a union representing its employees, DirectSat proposed that any new work that arose during the term of the agreement would not count as bargaining unit work unless it was "pursuant to its Home Service Provider agreement with DirecTV." However, DirectSat repeatedly refused to provide the union the full Home Service Provider agreement to understand the proposed scope of bargaining unit work. The DC Circuit held that the Board reasonably concluded that DirectSat's bargaining proposal rendered the entire agreement relevant; there was no basis to set aside the Board's denial of DirecTV's motion to intervene on the ground that it was filed too late; and thus the court denied the companies' petition for review and grant the Board's cross application for enforcement. View "DirectSat USA LLC v. NLRB" on Justia Law

by
Rhea Lana, a for-profit consignment business, challenged the Department's determination that the company's workers qualified as employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act. The DC Circuit affirmed the district court's decision upholding the Department's determination. As a preliminary matter, the court held that the Darling declaration was admissible and affirmed the district court's denial of the company's motion to strike the declaration. On the merits, the court held that the Department correctly employed a totality-of-the-circumstances approach, and the Department's findings of facts under the Alamo test were adequately supported in the record. In this case, Rhea Lana's workers were employees rather than volunteers where there was evidence of in-kind compensation and control exerted by the company. View "Rhea Lana, Inc. v. DOL" on Justia Law

by
After plaintiff was eliminated as part of a reorganization from his job of nearly 30 years, he filed suit against DC Water, alleging claims under various federal and D.C. civil rights statutes. The DC Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of DC Water, holding that petitioner's Americans with Disabilities Act and DC Human Rights Act claims were time-barred; plaintiff failed to exhaust his administrative remedies prior to bringing his Title VII and Age Discrimination in Employment Act claims; it was within the district court's discretion to conclude that further discovery on plaintiff's only potentially viable claim—the one brought under 42 U.S.C. 1981—was unwarranted, given the lack of detail in plaintiff's Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(d) declaration; and summary judgment on plaintiff's section 1981 claim was appropriate given the record before the district court. View "Haynes v. District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority" on Justia Law

by
At the second prong of the McDonnell Douglas framework, an employer must proffer admissible evidence showing a legitimate, nondiscriminatory, clear, and reasonably specific explanation for its actions. Plaintiff filed suit alleging that one aspect of the Department's promotion process had a disparate impact on Hispanic and Latino candidates who applied for the position he sought, and that the Secretary in 2008 denied him a promotion because of his Hispanic ethnicity. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of the Secretary. The DC Circuit affirmed in part and held that plaintiff's disparate impact claim lacked merit where there were no genuine issues of material fact and plaintiff failed to establish causation as a matter of law. However, the court held that the district court misapplied the second step of the McDonnell Douglas framework as to the disparate treatment claim by accepting the Department's vague reason for the denial of the promotion. In this case, none of the presented evidence sheds light on how the selection boards applied the core precepts to defendant's case. Accordingly, the court reversed in part, vacated the denial of plaintiff's cross-motion in part, and remanded for further proceedings. View "Figueroa v. Pompeo" on Justia Law

by
Coal miners filed suit alleging that mine operators interfered with their rights under Section 103(g) of the Federal Mine Safety and Health Amendments Act of 1977 to raise anonymous complaints with the MSHA regarding health and safety issues. The Commission imposed various remedies, including a $20,000 penalty per violation and an order requiring Robert Murray, the President and CEO of Murray Energy, to personally hold a meeting at each mine and read a statement regarding the violations. The DC Circuit denied a petition for review and declined to decide whether the Commission applied the correct test of interference under Section 105(c)(1) because petitioners failed to raise and preserve the issue during the administrative proceedings before the ALJ and the Commission. The court also found that, even under the legal standard that petitioners would have the court adopt, substantial evidence in the record clearly supports the Commission's finding that petitioners interfered with miners' Section 103(g) rights. Furthermore, the court found no merit in petitioners' challenge to the assessment of monetary penalties. Finally, the court held that petitioners failed to properly raise and preserve, and thus forfeited, their claims challenging the order requiring Murray to read a statement. View "Marshall County Coal Co. v. Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission" on Justia Law

by
The DC Circuit denied UPS Ground's petition for review challenging the certification of a union at its Kutztown Pennsylvania distribution facility. The court held that UPS Ground failed to identify a defect in the Board's decision to certify the union where the Board certified an appropriate bargaining unit and reasonably determined that one of the drivers employed at the Kutztown center was an "employee" under the National Labor Relations Act and not a statutory "supervisor" who would be excluded from the Act's protections. The court held that UPS Ground's remaining objections to the application of the Board's rules and regulations all lacked merit. View "UPS Ground Freight, Inc. v. NLRB" on Justia Law

by
USC petitioned for review of the Board's ruling that the full- and part-time non-tenure-track faculty of USC's Roski School of Art and Design exercised no effective control over university policies and, as non-managerial employees, were therefore eligible to join a union. The DC Circuit granted the petition for review in part, holding that the Board's decision, extending the majority status rule in Pacific Lutheran University, 361 N.L.R.B. 1404 (2014), to faculty subgroups, conflicted with N.L.R.B. v. Yeshiva University, 444 U.S. 672 (1980). Because the Board's subgroup majority status rule ran afoul of Yeshiva, and because the court was uncertain whether the Board would have reached the same conclusion absent that rule, the court remanded to the Board for further consideration. View "University of Southern California v. NLRB" on Justia Law