Showing 4 posts in First Circuit.

NLRB: Unions can Picket on Private Walkways in California

After a grocery store opened a warehouse grocery store under a different name in Sacramento, California, the store became a target for union picketing. The United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 8 began picketing the store because the workers were not represented by a union and did not have a collective bargaining agreement. The Union agents held signs and distributed fliers in front of the store’s entrance and walkways, but did not impede customer access to the store. The grocery store contacted the Sacramento Police Department to remove the Union agents, but the police declined to do so without a court order. More ›

Isolated Age Comment Insufficient to Overcome Employer’s Legitimate Reason for Layoff

The technology company, which manufactured components for large-scale computer networks and data storage systems, employed a team of sales account managers. This particular account manager was successful in generating significant revenue for the company over the course of several years. The Company began to make changes to procedures and started to cut costs due to the downturn in the economy and the industry changes in terms of how data is stored, which ultimately led to the reduction in force of the sales team from five employees to two. The account manager, however, felt that this rationale was a pretext for age discrimination, and that he was selected for lay off because of his age. To back this up, he pointed to comments made by the vice president of sales about needing to “re-energize” the team, which he considered disparaging remarks regarding the ages of the sales team. He accordingly filed a charge with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination, who dismissed the complaint for a lack of probable cause. He then filed suit in state court, claiming, among other things, age discrimination under Massachusetts law. The employer removed the case to the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts based on diversity jurisdiction, and then moved for summary judgment on all counts. The district court granted this motion, and Woodward appealed. More ›

First Circuit Holds that Private Companies’ Employees not Entitled to Whistleblower Protections Under SOX

Former employees of private companies that act under contract as advisers to and managers of mutual funds organized under the Investment Company Act of 1940 filed suit against their respective employers for unlawful retaliation after they were terminated. The employees claimed that they were entitled to the whistleblower protection provision within the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (18 U.S.C. 1514A) (“SOX”) because they had reported potential fraud and security violations. The employers contested this, arguing that SOX’s protections did not extend to employees of private companies, and filed motions to dismiss the lawsuits.The district court disagreed with the employers, holding that this particular provision of SOX did protect employees of private companies that are contractors or subcontractors to “public companies" (as defined under the Act), where those employees were reporting violations relating to fraud against shareholders. More ›

Terminated Employee Denied Accommodations has Triable ADA Claims

An employee was on a flexible work schedule for a number of years to accommodate her disability, chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). After being assigned to a new supervisor, the employee was served with written reprimands for attendance and deprived of other accommodations that eased her symptoms, including a flexible work schedule. The employee took medical leave from her job because of the stress caused by her supervisor’s actions and was subsequently terminated. The employee claimed that her employer had violated the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) when it failed to provide her with reasonable accommodations for her disabilities and that it retaliated against her by terminating her employment. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit held that although attendance is an essential function of any job, whether a reasonable accommodation, such as a flexible work schedule, will allow an employee to maintain good attendance must be considered by the employer. With the recent implementation of new regulations addressing the ADA, employers must carefully consider whether reasonable accommodations are available that will aid employees in performing the essential functions of their job, including accommodations that will adequately address employee attendance.

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