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Showing 17 posts in United States Supreme Court.

SCOTUS Aligns Application of Statute of Limitations in Constructive Discharge and Actual Discharge Cases

The U.S. Supreme Court held in Green v. Brennan that the statute of limitations for a constructive discharge begins to run on the date of resignation, not the date of the employer’s last discriminatory act, resolving a circuit split. As a result, in determining the deadline for filing a charge of discrimination with the EEOC, constructive discharge cases will be treated the same way as actual discharge cases. More ›

Perception is Everything: Supreme Court Expands First Amendment Protections for Public Employees

In a decision that may expand the "zone of interest" protected by the First Amendment via 42 U.S.C. §1983, the Supreme Court in Heffernan v. City of Paterson, strengthened free speech rights for public employees by holding a public employee may bring a suit premised on his engagement in protected political activities, even when the employee did not engage in those activities, and the employer was mistaken in its belief that he had.

The Case

The city demoted a police officer (Heffernan) after it believed Heffernan was holding a campaign sign supporting a mayoral candidate and speaking to the candidate’s campaign staff. The demotion was intended as punishment for Heffernan's "overt involvement" in the campaign. However, the city was mistaken about his political activity, because Heffernan was only transporting the challenger's sign to his sick mother, at her request. More ›

U.S. Supreme Court Rules Employers Cannot Avoid Class Actions By Offering Complete Relief to Plaintiffs

In a 5-3 decision, the United States Supreme Court affirmed the Ninth Circuit’s decision in Campbell-Ewald Co. v. Gomez, holding that an unaccepted settlement offer or offer of judgment providing for an individual plaintiff complete relief does not moot a class action complaint, resolving a split among circuits. However, the Court limited its holding by declining to address “whether the result would be different if a defendant deposits the full amount of the plaintiff's individual claim in an account payable to the plaintiff, and the court then enters judgment for the plaintiff in that amount.” The Court’s dissenting opinions and concurring opinions suggest actual tender would moot the plaintiff’s claim. More ›

Of Interest: U.S. Supreme Court Finds Constitutional Support For Same-Sex Marriage

Note: Though the Supreme Court's decision in Obergefell v. Hodges (issued today) does not directly implicate an employment issue, the opinion represents a significant shift in U.S. culture and society, and therefore is likely of import to many employers. Thus, we share a summary of the opinion.

In a monumental decision, the United States Supreme Court ruled today that same-sex marriage is a fundamental right protected by the 14th Amendment of the United States Constitution. The laws of Michigan, Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman were upheld by the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit but then struck down by the Supreme Court's decision.  More ›

Of Interest: U.S. Supreme Court Saves Obamacare a Second Time

Note: Though the Supreme Court's decision in King v. Burwell (issued today) does not directly implicate an employment issue, the opinion is quite significant and likely of interest to many employers who have been following the developments of the Affordable Care Act. Thus, we share a summary of the opinion addressing the latest challenge to the ACA prepared by our colleagues in Hinshaw's national Appellate Practice Group.

By a 6-3 margin, the Supreme Court has ruled in King v. Burwell that the provision in the Affordable Care Act (also known as "Obamacare") that offered tax credits to people who purchase health insurance on a health insurance exchange created under the ACA applied whether or not the exchange was established by a State or by the federal government. In doing so the Court saved the ACA from the consequences of what was largely thought to be a "scrivener's error," that is, a drafting mistake in a bill that was nearly 1,000 pages long. More ›

Beware of Dog(ma): Did the Supreme Court just Require Employers to Accommodate Whenever a Request *Might* be due to Religion?

The U.S. Supreme Court has issued its long-awaited decision in the "Looks Policy" case. It's not terribly unexpected, but it is a little scary considering the potential far-reaching effects going forward.  More ›

Supreme Court Vacates fourth Circuit in UPS Pregnancy Discrimination case, but Rejects EEOC's "Most Favored Employee" Argument

Since the case was argued on December 3, 2014, practitioners and clients alike have been anxiously awaiting the Supreme Court's decision in Young v. United Parcel Service, Inc.That wait is over as the Supreme Court issued a divided opinion yesterday. The majority opinion vacated the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals decision that had affirmed summary judgment in UPS's favor in a suit that arose out of the company's decision to deny leave to a pregnant driver in accordance with the terms of its leave provisions set out in a collective bargaining agreement.   More ›

Abercrombie & Fitch Doesn't look too good to Supreme Court

In a case we discussed earlier, the U.S. Supreme Court did not appear impressed with Abercrombie & Fitch's recent argument that a hijab wearing applicant needed to ask for religious accommodation before they were obliged to grant it to her. News sources have reported that oral argument this past Wednesday seemed to favor Samantha Elauf's right to an accommodation even though the teenage, Muslim job applicant in Tulsa did not explicitly tell Abercrombie & Fitch that she was wearing the black head scarf for religious reasons.   More ›

Supreme Court: Ordinary Contract Principles do not Allow Inference of Vesting Rights Absent Clear and Express Language

In 2000, M&G Polymers purchased the Point Pleasant Polyester Plant in Apple Grove, WV. At that time, M&G entered into a collective-bargaining agreement and a related Pension, Insurance, and Service Award Agreement (P & I Agreement) with the union. The P & I Agreement provided for medical coverage with a full employer contribution to be provided for the duration of the agreement, subject to future negotiations. When those agreements expired, M&G announced that it would require retirees to contribute to the cost of their health care benefits. Several retirees sued M&G in federal district court, alleging that the P & I Agreement created a vested right to a lifetime contribution of free healthcare benefits. More ›

Supreme Court Backs Whistleblowing Air Marshall

On January 21st, the Supreme Court affirmed a former air marshal's right to whistleblower protection relating to his leaking of air security plans to the media. The 7-2 decision written by Chief Justice John Roberts in the case, Department of Homeland Security v. MacLean, No. 13-894 (U.S. January 21, 2015), represents a rare victory for government whistleblowers who expose dangers to public health or safety. More ›

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