Showing 8 posts in Second Circuit.

Second Circuit Declares Sexual Orientation Discrimination is Sex Discrimination under Title VII

Acknowledging the “changing legal landscape” surrounding Title VII protections against discrimination, the Second Circuit overturned prior precedent and held sexual orientation is discrimination because of sex. The Second Circuit, sitting en banc in Zarda v. Altitude Express, Inc., examined the issue “from the perspective of sex stereotyping,” and unequivocally concluded that “sexual orientation discrimination is predicated on assumptions about how persons of a certain sex can or should be,” which is “an impermissible basis for adverse employment actions.” In Zarda, a deceased skydiving instructor was allegedly fired for disclosing his sexual orientation to a client and not conforming to the “straight male macho stereotype.” More ›

Facebook “Like” Protected Speech Under the NLRA

We all have them. Friends and family who overshare on Facebook. Their food choices (complete with pictures), exercise routine, and relationship drama, all solidified in the form of a status update. Annoying maybe, but mostly harmless, right? 

But what about status updates about work? Particularly those that criticize a company, supervisor, or work environment? Can your friend’s employer terminate or take recourse against him? Or does social media fall into a category of protected speech the employer cannot touch? More ›

It may be a Lawyer Doing work at a law firm…but don't call it 'Legal Work'

As e-discovery issues abound, the increased number of contract lawyers combing through massive document productions for privilege and relevance has developed into a cottage industry in the past decade. Companies helping law firms whose clients are embroiled in litigation with huge document productions has spawned new international businesses hiring American lawyers. And like any profitable business innovation, competition follows. Now law firms are bringing these document review lawyers on board and asking them to analyze myriad documents for their clients instead of farming this work to outside companies. But are these document review lawyers performing 'legal work'? The answer may depend on who you ask and why you're asking, but if you ask the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, they will tell you "no." More ›

Second Circuit: Parent Company has Liability for Subsidiary’s WARN Violations

The Worker Adjustment Retraining and Notification Act ("WARN") requires employers with 100 or more employees to provide 60 calendar days' notice of plant closings or mass layoffs to give transition time to workers and their families to adjust to the prospective loss of employment, seek alternative jobs, and/or enter skill training or retraining to successfully compete in the job market. 29 U.S.C. §2201 et seq. Employers who fail to comply with WARN are liable to affected employees for up to 60 days of pay and benefits. 29 U.S.C. §2104(a)(1).

In this case, the employee was laid off by the employer and filed a class action alleging that the employer and its parent company and other related ownership entities violated WARN. Specifically, the employee claimed that the parent was liable for the employer's WARN violations because the parent company disregarded the employer's corporate form and exercised de facto control of the employer. As it turns out, the parent company was the sole member and manager of the employer, and the parent company's board operated as the employer's board.

The Second Circuit reversed summary judgment in favor of the parent company, finding that a triable issue of fact existed that would allow a jury to conclude that the employer was so controlled by the parent that the employer lacked the ability to make any decisions independently and that a parent company resolution authorizing the employer to layoff this employee and the class of similar employees was a function of being an employer and created liability. Adopting Department of Labor regulations to determine if separate entities are a single employer, the court considered whether there was (1) common ownership; (2) common directors and/or officers; (3) de facto exercise of control; (4) unity of personnel policies emanating from a common source; and (5) dependency of operations. The Second Circuit observed that the inquiry is a fact-specific balancing test, no one factor controls, and all factors need to be present for liability to attach to the related entity. Significantly, a separate legal existence will not insulate a parent company from liability for a subsidiary's WARN violations if the parent is the decision-maker responsible for the employment practice giving rise to the litigation.

If you have questions about Guippone v. BH S&B Holdings, LLC et al., No. 12-183 (2nd Cir. December 10, 2013), please contact David I. Dalby.

Employee’s Settlement Proceeds from age Discrimination Dispute Subject to FICA Tax Withholding

After the financial services employee was terminated, he filed a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, claiming that his employer discriminated against him in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act and New York state law. The parties ultimately resolved the dispute for $250,000. When making the payment, the employer withheld taxes pursuant to the Federal Insurance Contribution Act (FICA). The employee claimed that this was improper and filed suit, seeking a refund of the $4,218 withholding. More ›

Private Employee has no Right to Pursue Pattern or Practice Claim; Thus, no Entitlement to Class Action Procedural Mechanism

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals issued its ruling today in the matter of Parisi v. Goldman, Sachs & Co. et al., No. 11-5229-cv (2nd Cir., Mar. 21, 2013). More ›

Being on time to work may be Essential Function of Position

A city case manager had schizophrenia but was taking medication on a calibrated schedule. The employer had a flex-time policy which allowed employees to arrive at work anytime within a one hour window in the morning. If an employee was late, the supervisor had to approve or disprove the tardiness. The employee often could not get to work within that window of time due to his medication, and for roughly ten years, the employer excused such tardiness and allowed him to arrive later. Subsequently, however, the supervisor ceased approving the late arrivals. The employee repeatedly requested that he be permitted to arrive later so that he would not be disciplined for tardiness, but his supervisor would not allow it. His doctor recommended that his medication schedule not be altered at that time, which made it difficult for him to arrive earlier. The supervisor then recommended disciplinary action against the employee for his long history of tardiness, and at a grievance hearing, the City recommended his termination. The union representative argued that the employee’s mitigating circumstances (the disability) should be considered. The employee then made formal requests for accommodation to arrive at work later, and a higher-level supervisor denied the request without talking to the employee. He was then suspended for 30 days without pay as a sanction for his tardiness.  More ›

Employee Failed to State Valid First Amendment Claim Because she was Speaking Pursuant to her Official Duties

A former school payroll employee reported incidences of fiscal irregularities to the superintendent, and later reported the same concerns to an outside consultant. Thereafter, she was suspended when it was discovered she falsified her employment application. In response, the employee wrote a personal letter to individual board members expressing frustration with how the superintendent responded to fiscal concerns, and that her suspension was in retaliation for reporting fiscal malfeasance. The superintendent recommended the employee’s termination, which the board approved, and the termination was later made official following a disciplinary hearing. More ›

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