Articles Posted in Labor & Employment Law

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After plaintiff's employer failed to respond to his suit for wage underpayment, plaintiff obtained a default judgment for himself and two other employees. The district court subsequently vacated its default judgment as to the two employees because they failed to opt-in to the lawsuit, concluding that it had lacked subject matter jurisdiction to enter the judgment. The DC Circuit held that the opt-in omission did not oust the district court of subject matter jurisdiction. The court held, nonetheless, that the judgment may be void for a different reason. In this case, two defendants claimed they were never served with the complaint and thus the district court must hold an evidentiary hearing on remand. View "Montes v. Janitorial Partners, Inc." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit contending that USAID and NOAA violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. 2000e et seq., by terminating his employment because of his national origin. He also contended that NOAA violated 18 U.S.C. 1001, which criminalizes false statements to the government, by lying about why he was terminated. The DC Circuit affirmed the dismissal of plaintiff's claim under section 1001 because the statute did not create a private right of action. The court determined that plaintiff's remaining contentions lacked merit and affirmed, with one modification of the order of dismissal. View "Lee v. USAID" on Justia Law

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The company petitioned for review of the Board's order to reinstate an employee with make-whole relief, and to reimburse the employee for search-for-work and interim employment expenses regardless of whether those expenses exceeded her interim earnings. The DC Circuit held that the Board's determination that it unlawfully interrogated the employee must be vacated because this charge was not added to the General Counsel's complaint until after the commencement of the hearing before the ALJ. Therefore, the company had no reasonable notice of the interrogation charge or a fair opportunity to defend itself. The court found no merit in the company's remaining claims. The court granted the Board's cross-application for enforcement as to all matters except the finding that the company violated the National Labor Relations Act when it allegedly interrogated the employee about complaints she raised with the union. The court granted the company's petition for review as to that charge, but denied the petition for review as to the remaining matters. View "King Soopers, Inc. v. NLRB" on Justia Law

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The DC Circuit held that the district court properly dismissed plaintiff's claims against DHS for failure to exhaust his administrative remedies. Although plaintiff initiated this administrative exhaustion process for his claims of race discrimination and retaliation when his supervisors denied him leave in 2002, he did not file a formal complaint with DHS's EEO office until 2010. The court explained that such a lengthy and unexplained delay in filing his formal complaint with DHS did not evidence the diligent pursuit of Title VII rights that was required for equitable tolling. Therefore, the district court properly dismissed the complaint. View "Niskey v. Kelly" on Justia Law

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Piedmont Garden petitioned for review of the Board's determination that Piedmont Gardens violated the National Labor Relations Act by withholding certain of the requested information, and order requiring Piedmont Gardens to produce that information to the union and refrain from violating the Act in the same manner in the future. The DC Circuit enforced the cited language in the cease-and-desist order only to the extent that it required Piedmont Gardens to comply with the witness-statement disclosure requirements that the Board actually applied in this case: those of Anheuser-Busch (the Anheuser-Busch rule). In other respects, Piedmont Gardens must be treated as any other employer. Because the court's holding eliminated any risk of the only injury that Piedmont Gardens asserted it will suffer due to the Board's adoption of the new rule, Piedmont lacked standing to challenge that portion of the Board's decision. Accordingly, the court denied in part and dismissed in part the petition for review. The court granted the Board's cross-application for enforcement of its order with clarifications. View "American Baptist Homes of the West v. NLRB" on Justia Law

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Hawaiian Dredging petitioned for review of the Board's ruling that the company violated Sections 8(a)(3) and (1) of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), 29 U.S.C. 158(a)(3) and (1), by terminating welders because of their union membership. The DC Circuit granted the petition for review, holding that the Board failed to adequately address record evidence regarding the company's understanding of its twenty-year practice and appeared to have strayed from its precedent. The court denied the Board's cross-application for enforcement and remanded. View "Hawaiian Dredging Construction v. NLRB" on Justia Law

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Petitioner sought review of the Board's decision and order finding that the Hospital violated section 8(a)(1) and (a)(5) of the National Labor Relations Act, 29 U.S.C. 158(a)(1), (5), by unilaterally ceasing the payment of longevity-based wage increases to its nurses after the expiration of the parties' collective bargaining agreement (CBA). As a preliminary matter, the DC Circuit rejected the Hospital's claim that all the acts of Director Walsh were ultra vires and his appointment was invalid. On the merits, the court held that the Hospital violated section 8(a)(1) and (a)(5) by unilaterally ceasing the payment of longevity-based wage increases to nurses after the expiration of the parties' collective bargaining agreement. Accordingly, the court denied the Hospital's petition for review and granted the Board's cross-application for enforcement. View "Wilkes-Barre Hospital v. NLRB" on Justia Law

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Petitioners filed suit contending that the Board erred in holding that the union did not violate its duty of fair representation when it declined to provide petitioners with the anniversary of the dates when they signed dues-checkoff authorizations over the telephone. The DC Circuit denied the petition for review, holding that the Board reasonably concluded that the union's disputed policy was not arbitrary; the Board reasonably found that the union did not discriminate against petitioners nor acted in bad faith in requiring them to submit written requests in order to receive their authorization dates; and thus the Board did not err in concluding that the union did not breach its duty of fair representation. View "Ruisi v. NLRB" on Justia Law

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When Oak Harbor stopped making contributions to four health benefit and pension trusts, the Union filed unfair labor practice charges. The Board properly concluded that the Union waived its statutory rights to receive and bargain over continued contributions to three of the trusts, because the subscription agreements for those trusts "clearly and unmistakably" authorized Oak Harbor to cease trust contributions upon expiration of the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) after five days' notice; the Board properly concluded that considering the Union's additional evidence would not have changed its analysis or outcome; there is no merit to the Union's view that a ministerial subscription agreement cannot constitute a valid waiver; the Board reasonably concluded that, at most, there was speculation based on an asserted usual practice to have a subscription agreement that one existed for the fourth trust, but no evidence specific to that trust; the Board properly found there was no evidence that a "mutual mistake" prevented the Union from challenging the cessation of contributions to the fourth trust; and, as to the unilateral act of imposing its medical plan on employees after the strike ended, in some cases economic exigency may justify an employer's unilateral change, but this case was not one of them. Accordingly, the DC Circuit denied the petitions for review and granted the Board's cross-application to enforce its order. View "Oak Harbor Freight Lines, Inc. v. NLRB" on Justia Law

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The court affirmed vacatur of an arbitrator's ruling that Amtrak must reinstate an employee Amtrak fired for misconduct, holding that contractual provisions could not "add to nor subtract from" an Inspector General's investigative authority under the Inspector General Act, 5 U.S.C. app. 3 section 8G. In this case, Rule 50 of the collective bargaining agreement stated that the police department had established procedures to govern the conduct and control of interrogatories. The court explained that a federal court, reviewing an arbitration award, may refuse to enforce contracts that violate law or public policy. Rule 50, as applied to the Amtrak Inspector General, was such a contractual provision and the district court was right in refusing to enforce the arbitrator’s award based on that provision. View "National Railroad Passenger Corp. v. Fraternal Order of Police" on Justia Law