Justia U.S. D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Labor & Employment Law
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The DC Circuit held that the Coal Industry Retiree Health Benefit Act of 1992 (Coal Act) required Arch Coal, as a person related to a 1988 last signatory operator (LSO), to provide security, and the security previously provided on behalf of Arch Coal's former subsidiaries does not satisfy that requirement. In this case, the letter of credit was no longer in force and the proceeds that the Trustees drew from it did not satisfy the requirement that Arch Coal provide security in one of the three ways allowed by statute. Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court's order granting summary judgment to the Trustees of the United Mine Workers of America 1992 Benefit Plan. View "Holland v. Arch Coal, Inc." on Justia Law

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The DC Circuit granted Constellium's petition for review of the Board's decision determining that the company violated sections 8(a)(1) and (3) of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) by suspending and discharging an employee. The court held that, although the Board's decision was based upon substantial evidence and did not impermissibly depart from precedent without explanation, the Board failed to address the potential conflict between its interpretation of the NLRA and Constellium's obligations under state and federal equal employment opportunity laws. In this case, the arguments advanced by Constellium in its Answering Brief and reprised in its motion for reconsideration were sufficiently specific to apprise the Board that the issue might be pursued on appeal. Because the Board offered no argument on the merits of this point, remand was necessary for the agency to address the issue in the first instance. View "Constellium Rolled Products Ravenswood, LLC v. NLRB" on Justia Law

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The DC Circuit denied Affinity's petition for review of the Board's finding of labor practices violations. The court held that substantial evidence supported the finding that Affinity committed unfair labor practices by disciplining firing, and reporting to the state nursing board a pro-union nurse; excluding a union organizer from the hospital; and threatening nurses who filled out union complaint forms. The court was without jurisdiction to review Affinity's only defense to the refusal-to-bargain charge. View "DHSC, LLC v. NLRB" on Justia Law

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After the Board found that the company violated Sections 8(a)(1) and 8(a)(3) of the National Labor Relations Act by suspending and discharging one of its employees, the company petitioned for review. The DC Circuit granted the petition for review, denied the Board's application for enforcement of its order as it related to the employee, and held that, although the Board was not obliged to agree with either the judge or its dissenting member, the Board was obligated to confront evidence detracting from its conclusions, particularly where the dissenting member has offered a nonfrivolous analysis. The court held that the Board failed to adequately explain the basis of its disagreement with the ALJ and took action against the company without the support of substantial evidence. In this case, the Board's decision relating to the company's suspension and discharge of the employee, the Board's conclusion regarding the significance of the post-discharge investigations, and the Board's disparate treatment finding were all unsupported by substantial evidence. View "Windsor Redding Care Center, LLC v. NLRB" on Justia Law

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After the Union proposed that, in appraising employee work performance, the Agency not use any "performance appraisal rating levels above the Successful rating level for purposes of the annual appraisal process," Agency representatives declined to negotiate over the matter. The Union then filed a negotiability petition with the Authority, but the Authority denied the petition and held that the number rating levels for both individual elements of the job and overall performance were essential aspects of an agency's rights to direct employees and assign work. The DC Circuit denied the Union's petition for review, holding that the Authority's position rests on a permissible and reasonable construction of the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute and it was consistent with well-established precedent. The court explained that, because proposals restricting the number of performance ratings interfere with an agency's ability to measure and evaluate its employees, they interfere with an agency's nonnegotiable rights to assign work and direct employees. View "National Treasury Employees Union v. Federal Labor Relations Authority" on Justia Law

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After the labor union representing CBP employees proposed a new way to determine an employee’s eligibility for travel time and expenses, CBP viewed the union's proposal as running afoul of government travel regulations. The FLRA agreed with CBP and the union petitioned for review. The DC Circuit vacated the FLRA's decision, holding that the decision relied on a mathematical error and misunderstood the union's proposal. In this case, the proposition that the Union's proposal would create an official station that, one, extends beyond a fifty-mile-radius circle and, two, varies with each employee and every trip, was incorrect. Accordingly, the court vacated and remanded. View "National Treasury Employees Union v. Federal Labor Relations Authority" on Justia Law

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After the University terminated plaintiff, she filed suit under the False Claims Act's (FCA) anti-retaliation provision. The DC Circuit reversed the district court's dismissal of the action and held that the district court's decision reflected too narrow a view of the Act's protection for whistleblowers. The court held that the complaint sufficiently alleged that plaintiff's actions were undertaken to try to prevent what she reasonably believed would be the presentation of false claims by the University regarding the conditions of laboratory animals. The court held that the district court erred by defining protected activity as requiring plaintiff to have investigated matters that reasonably could lead to a viable FCA case, which only applied to the first prong of Section 3730(h)(1), but not the second prong. Furthermore, the district court wrongly required plaintiff to allege that her efforts were outside the scope of her responsibilities as Attending Veterinarian. The court also held that plaintiff adequately alleged termination of her position, the University's awareness of her protected activity, and facts connecting her termination to that protected activity. View "Singletary v. Howard University" on Justia Law

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First Student petitioned for review of a decision and order of the NLRB finding it was a "perfectly clear" successor employer and violated the National Labor Relations Act by changing the terms and conditions on which it would hire the incumbent employees without bargaining with their union. The DC Circuit denied the petition, holding that not only is the Board's finding that First Student was a perfectly clear successor consistent with Board precedent, it also rests on a reasonable interpretation of the perfectly clear successor doctrine. The court explained that the Board's interpretation was consistent with the Supreme Court's understanding that the doctrine applies where it is perfectly clear that the new employer plans to retain all the employees in the unit. Furthermore, the Board's interpretation also protects the incumbent employees. The court also rejected First Student's alternative claim that the general manager's statements at the March 2nd meeting gave unit employees adequate notice of its intent to impose new terms of employment. Accordingly, the court denied First Student's petition for review and granted the Board's cross-petition for enforcement of its order in full. View "First Student, Inc. v. NLRB" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit alleging that DHS engaged in discrimination and retaliation in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The district court granted summary judgment for DHS and denied plaintiff's motion to stay proceedings to allow for discovery. The DC Circuit held that the district court erroneously concluded that the evidence sought by plaintiff could not create a dispute of material fact as to whether DHS's proffered reasons for taking adverse action were pretextual. The court also held that summary judgment was inappropriate with respect to plaintiff's claim that her reassignment to the Resource Management Branch was retaliatory. However, summary judgment was appropriate with respect to DHS's initial decision to extend her detail, because plaintiff did not create a genuine dispute of material fact. Accordingly, the court affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded for further proceedings. View "Cruz v. McAleenan" on Justia Law

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The DC Circuit denied a petition for review of the Board's findings, including the finding that Ingredion violated the National Labor Relations Act by dealing directly with employees and denigrating a union in the eyes of employees. The court held that substantial evidence supported the Board's factual finding that Ingredion engaged in direct dealing with employees; Ingredion misrepresented the union's position in a way that tended to cause employees to lose faith in the union; although the format of the new contract was a major issue, it did not create an overall impasse; Ingredion's delay in providing requested information was unreasonable; and Ingredion violated the Act when one of its managers made threats of job loss to employees. The court also held that Ingredion's contentions that the Board violated its due process rights and improperly imposed a notice-reading remedy lacked merit. In regard to the Board's remedial order, the court held that Ingredion was on notice and was therefore not denied due process. Furthermore, the Board had broad discretion in fashioning remedies for violations of the Act. View "NLRB v. Ingredion Inc." on Justia Law