Showing 18 posts in Supreme Court.

U.S. Supreme Court Holds the ADEA Applies to All Public Employers

In a recent 8-0 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision holding the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) applies to public employers of any size. More ›

Unpacking the Supreme Court's Janus Decision

The United States Supreme Court issued its long-anticipated decision in Janus v. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employee Council 31 on June 27, 2018.  The five to four majority held that requiring public-sector employees who are not union members to pay union agency fees violates the First Amendment.  In the final paragraphs of the majority opinion, the Court made it clear that in the context of a public sector employer-union relationship, non-member employees in the bargaining unit must provide express consent before union dues can be deducted from their paychecks.  Janus' implications for public employers are wide-ranging. However, the immediate question that unionized public-sector employers must address is how to administer existing agency fee provisions in collective bargaining agreements and distinguish between union members and non-members, whose express consent is now required before union dues can be deducted from their paychecks.  It is important to note that this decision is grounded in constitutional principles and only applies to public sector unionized employees. More ›

U.S. Supreme Court Rejects Narrow Reading in Favor of "Fair" Reading of FLSA Exemptions

The US Supreme Court recently issued a five-four decision addressing whether service advisers of a car dealership fell within the automobile sales exemption. While the opinion may not seem particularly helpful for businesses that do not sell cars, a deeper reading reveals that it is a positive case for employers. More ›

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 ›

U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Arbitrator’s Decision Finding that Contract Provides for Class Arbitration

One U.S. Supreme Court decision has not received great attention from the media, but it may have considerable impact on how employers structure their relationships with employees. In this instance, the issue is what authority does an arbitrator have to interpret contractual terms so as to provide for class arbitration. Justice Kagan, without dissent, explained that the Court viewed arbitration clauses that provide for all civil actions to be arbitrated as giving arbitrators the authority to find a contractual basis to support class arbitration. More ›

In Significant Title VII Harassment Decision, U.S. Supreme Court Limits Definition of “Supervisor”

An African-American female who served in a University's dining services division filed a complaint against the University alleging racial harassment and discrimination due to the actions of a white catering specialist who worked at the same location. The catering specialist did not direct the employee's day-to-day activities or have authority to hire, fire, demote or discipline the employee, but sometimes handed the employee her list of tasks and directed the employee in the kitchen. The employee alleged that the catering specialist was her supervisor and that the University was liable for the creation of a racially hostile work environment. More ›

Supreme Court: Proving Title VII Retaliation Claim Requires “But-For” Causation

Adding to a recent string of victories for employers, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on June 24, 2013, that claims for retaliation under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 must be proved "according to traditional principles of but-for causation." More ›

Supreme Court Approves Class-Action Arbitration Waiver, Rejects Argument that Individuals Will Not Have Financial Incentive and Capacity to Prove Claims

In a significant victory for businesses and employers, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on June 20, 2013, that a class-action waiver in an arbitration agreement is valid and enforceable under the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) even if the costs of prosecuting the claim on an individual basis are financially impracticable. The majority based its ruling on two findings: first, that the federal statute at issue did not expressly override the FAA’s preference for enforcing private arbitration agreements as written and, second, that the financial burdens imposed on individual claimants did not require application of the “effective vindication” rule, which permits courts to invalidate arbitration agreements that prevent a party from effectively pursuing a remedy provided by federal law. More ›

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