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Preview: LexisNexis® Mealey's™ Employment Law Legal News

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Supreme Court Hears Arguments On Personal Jurisdiction For BNSF Injury Suits
WASHINGTON, D.C. - BNSF Railway Co. is not subject to general personal jurisdiction in Montana because it is not at home in that state, the attorney representing BNSF argued on April 25 before the U.S. Supreme Court in the appeal of two personal injury cases that were consolidated by the Montana Supreme Court (BNSF Railway Company v. Kelli Tyrrell, as Special Administrator for the Estate of Brent T. Tyrrell, et al., No. 16-405, U.S. Sup.).



7th Circuit Upholds Firing Of Assistant Principal With Student Contact Restrictions
CHICAGO - A school district that failed to find a new position for an assistant principal with medical restrictions that included minimal contact with students was not liable for disability discrimination because the employee was not the most qualified candidate for the only job that she was interested in that did not require being in the proximity of potentially unruly students, the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled May 4 (Sherlyn Brown v. Milwaukee Board of School Directors, No. 16-1971, 7th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 7958).



10th Circuit: A Limitation Caused By Disability Is Necessary To Show Bias
DENVER - An employee who was fired following a breakdown and his refusal to return to his position failed to show that the limitations he suffered were caused by his depression, the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled May 4, affirming a summary judgment ruling for the employer on the employee's Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) discrimination claim (Steven W. Russell v. Phillips 66 Company, No. 16-5063, 10th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 7922).



2nd Circuit: Sexual Orientation Is Not Protected By Title VII
NEW YORK - A Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on April 18 declined to overturn a 2000 ruling in its court holding that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 does not prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation (Melissa Zarda, co-independent executor of the estate of Donald Zarda, et al. v. Altitude Express, doing business as Skydive Long Island, et al., No. 15-3775, 2nd Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 6578).



9th Circuit: Prior Salary Alone Can Be An Affirmative Defense In Equal Pay Suit
SAN FRANCISCO - An Equal Pay Act suit is controlled by Kouba v. Allstate Ins. Co., 691 F.2d 873 (9th Cir. 1982), a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled April 27, remanding the case for the trial court to determine whether the female employee's pay differential based on the employer's use of prior salary was used "reasonably in light of [its] stated purpose as well as its other practices" Kouba, 691 F.2d at 876-77 (Aileen Rizo v. Jim Yovino, Fresno County Superintendent of Schools, No. 16-15372, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 7427).



5th Circuit Orders Re-Examination Of Privilege Log In EEOC Bias Suit
NEW ORLEANS - A trial court must further examine an employer's privilege log in a bias suit brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission as the employer has failed to establish that the 278 entries were protected under the attorney-client privilege, a Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled May 4, vacating the trial court's judgment (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. BDO USA, L.L.P., No. 16-20314, 5th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 7965).



Fox Hit With Gender, Racial Bias Complaints
NEW YORK - On May 4, one month after three Fox News employees filed a complaint alleging years of race discrimination, another Fox News employee, represented by the same attorneys, filed a complaint in New York state court accusing Twenty-First Century Fox Inc., Fox News Network LLC and two individuals of gender discrimination and retaliation (Jessica Golloher v. Twenty-First Century Fox, Inc., et al., No. 154148/2017, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).



Los Angeles Jury Awards Whistle-Blower $22.4 Million In Wrongful Termination Suit
LOS ANGELES - A Los Angeles County Superior Court jury on April 25 awarded $22.4 million in punitive damages to an employee who sued his former employer, Cardiovascular Systems Inc., for whistle-blower retaliation and wrongful termination in violation of public policy (Steven Babyak v. Cardiovascular Systems, Inc., No. BC601259, Calif. Super., Los Angeles Co).



Federal Circuit Finds Constitutional Flaw In Veterans Access Act
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The portions of the Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act (Veterans Access Act) that prohibit review by the full Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) of the removal or transfer of senior executives are constitutionally flawed, a Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled May 9, severing those positions of the statute and leaving the remainder intact (Sharon M. Helman v. Department of Veterans Affairs, No. 2015-3086, Fed. Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS).



3rd Circuit Upholds Dismissal Of PSU Assistant Football Coaches' Suit Over Firings
PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania federal judge did not err when he dismissed deprivation of liberty and property interests claims brought by two former assistant football coaches against The Pennsylvania State University, a Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled May 9 (Joseph V. Paterno, a/k/a Jay, et al. v. The Pennsylvania State University, No. 16-1720, 3rd Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 8234).



Judge Remands Wrongful Termination Suit For Untimely Removal
LOS ANGELES - After finding that an advertising firm's removal of a former employee's case asserting claims for wrongful termination and violation of California's unfair competition law (UCL) was not proper, a California federal judge on April 26 remanded the case to a state court (Annabel Hernandez v. YP Advertising and Publishing LLC, No. 16-9612, C.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 63485).



10th Circuit Orders Reconsideration Of Personal Liability In Bias Suit
DENVER - A Colorado federal court erred in finding that under the cat's paw theory, an unbiased decisionmaker may be personally liable for an adverse action based on a subordinate supervisor's racially motivated recommendation, a 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeal panel ruled April 21; however, the panel remanded the matter for the trial court to reconsider whether the decisionmaker himself was actually biased based on the limited scope of his investigation prior to firing the patrol officer (Stanley Crews v. Clifford Paine, et al., No. 16-1216, 10th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 6979).



Divided 5th Circuit Denies En Banc Rehearing Bass Pro Race Bias Suit
NEW ORLEANS - A divided Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in a 7-7 vote on April 28 denied a petition for rehearing en banc in an appeal by Bass Pro Outdoor World LLC and Tracker Marine Retail LLC (collectively, Bass Pro) that the court notes is one of "first impression" in that circuit, concerning whether the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission can bring a "pattern or practice" case under Sections 706 and 707 of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 asserting the violation of the rights of 50,000 job applicants (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Bass Pro Outdoor World, L.L.C., et al., No. 15-20078, 5th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 7628).



Supreme Court Hears 'Mixed' Civil Service Termination, Discrimination Case
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court grappled April 17 with a statutory scheme for federal workers who challenge employment decisions that is designed to prevent claim splitting and to streamline the judicial process for often pro se litigants but that Justice Samuel Anthony Alito Jr. called "unbelievably complicated" when it comes to deciding what court should hear "mixed cases" involving both civil service claims and discrimination claims (Anthony W. Perry v. Merit Systems Protection Board, No. 16-399, U.S. Sup.).



3rd Circuit: Covering A Shift By Floating Nurses Is Not An Adverse Action
PHILADELPHIA - Occasionally assigning a nurse to cover a shift in a different unit than her home unit is not an adverse action, a Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled April 27 (Willie Kay Betts v. Summit Oaks Hospital, No. 17-1320, 3rd Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 7418).



5th Circuit Reverses Ruling Finding Technician Repairing Oil Rigs Is A Seaman
NEW ORLEANS - A Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on April 19 reversed a trial court's summary judgment ruling in favor of an employer, finding that it had not been established as a matter of law that the Fair Labor Standard Act's (FLSA) seaman exemption applies to the plaintiff, who operated a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) (Kyle Halle, et al. v. Galliano Marine Service, L.L.C., et al., No. 16-30558, 5th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 6833).



California Federal Judge Keeps CVS Pharmacist's Wage Class Suit In Federal Court
LOS ANGELES - A wage class complaint filed by a California pharmacist against his employer belongs in federal court, not state court, a California federal judge ruled April 11, holding that even though removal occurred more than 30 days after the complaint was filed, it was still timely (Sevag Chalian v. CVS Pharmacy, Inc., et al., No. 16-8979, C.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 55485).



2nd Circuit Affirms Ruling Refusing To Certify FLSA And NYLL Class Actions
NEW YORK - The Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on April 14 rejected an appeal of a court decision that refused to certify multiple class actions asserting violations of labor law, finding that the court's ruling was well reasoned and that it did not err when it found that the proposed classes failed to meet the sufficient requirements for class certification (Donna Ruiz, et al. v. Citibank, N.A., No. 15-3941 and Frederic Winfield, et al. v. Citibank, N.A., No. 15-3946, 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 6399).



New York Federal Judge Reduces Attorney Fees After Wage Settlement
NEW YORK - A New York federal judge on April 28 awarded more than $705,000 in attorney fees for class counsel who settled a wage-and-hour class dispute, nearly $389,000 less than counsel was seeking, but conditioned the award on paying to class members approximately $131,000 that would have, under the reversionary nature of the settlement, been returned to the defendant (Margaret McGreevy, et al. v. Life Alert Emergency Response, Inc., No. 14-7457, S.D. N.Y., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 65085).



Costco Truck Drivers' Wage Settlement Is Rejected For The 2nd Time
SAN DIEGO - A California federal judge on April 26 rejected a $2 million amended settlement proposed by Costco Wholesale Corp. to end truck drivers' wage claims, finding that the amended settlement motion corrected certain shortcomings identified by the judge in her Feb. 22 denial of the original proposed settlement, but still contained inadequate release language (Douglas Thompson, et al. v. Costco Wholesale Corporation, et al., No. 14-2778, S.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 63504).



2nd Circuit Panel: New York Drivers Of Black Cars Are Independent Contractors
NEW YORK - A Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on April 12 affirmed a New York federal judge's ruling that drivers of black cars in New York City who own or rent franchises are independent contractors, not employees, because the franchisors exert little control over the day-to-day operation of their businesses (Mazhar Saleem, et al. v. Corporate Transportation Group Ltd., No. 15-88, 2nd Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 6305).



EEOC Sues Miami Beach Hotel For Firing Black Haitian Kitchen Workers
MIAMI - The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed suit on April 18 against the owners, operators and managers of SLS Hotel South Beach in Florida federal court on behalf of a class of black Haitian kitchen workers claiming that the defendants fired them because of their national origin, race and/or color (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. SBEEG Holdings, LLC, et al., No. 17-21446, S.D. Fla.).



8th Circuit Upholds Ruling For Target, Contractor In Bias, Hostile Environment Suit
ST. PAUL, Minn. - The Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on May 5 affirmed a trial court's ruling clearing Target Corp. and an independent contractor in a lawsuit filed by a former employee of the contractor, alleging national origin discrimination and a hostile work environment (Mazen Abdel-Ghani v. Target Corporation, No. 16-2395, Mazen Abdel-Ghani v. MarketSource, Inc., No. 16-2397, 8th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 7985).



Insurance Brokerage Firm Settles EEOC Pregnancy Bias Suit For $100,000
ORLANDO, Fla. - A Florida federal judge on May 3 granted a joint motion for approval and entry of consent decree under which an insurance brokerage firm will pay $100,000 to settle a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, et al. v. Brown & Brown of Florida, Inc., No. 16-1326, M.D. Fla.).



D.C. Circuit: Hotel Did Not Violate Labor Act When It Suspended A Bellman
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A Las Vegas hotel did not violate the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) when is suspended a bellman to investigate a customer complaint after the bellman refused to make a statement about the incident without a union representative present, the District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled April 25, granting the hotel's petition for review and denying the National Labor Relations Board's cross-application for enforcement (Bellagio, LLC v. National Labor Relations Board, No. 15-1327, D.C. Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 7226).



6th Circuit: Union Reps' Questions About Testifying Was Protected Action
CINCINNATI - Questions from two union representatives about a co-worker's willingness to testify regarding another worker's grievance was protected activity, a Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled May 4, enforcing an order by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) (Roemer Industries, Inc. v. National Labor Relations Board, Nos. 15-1917/2109, 6th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 8089).



Employee's Profane Facebook Post Protected By NLRA, 2nd Circuit Finds
NEW YORK - Even though a fired employee's Facebook post was vulgar and offensive, a Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on April 21 found that it constituted protected, union-related speech under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), leading the panel to grant a petition to enforce by the National Labor Relations Board, which found the man's firing to be retaliatory in violation of the act (National Labor Relations Board v. Pier Sixty LLC, No. 15-1841, 2nd Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 6974).



American Dental Association To Pay $1.95M To Settle EEOC Bias Charges
CHICAGO - The American Dental Association (ADA) has agreed to pay $1.95 million to settle two discrimination charges, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced April 21.



Pennsylvania Federal Judge Dismisses ADEA Disparate Impact Claim In Romero
PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania federal judge presiding over a suit brought by a nationwide class of former sales agents accusing Allstate Insurance Co. and its president of age discrimination and violating the Employee Retirement Income Security Act on April 27 granted Allstate's motion for summary judgment on the plaintiffs' Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) disparate impact claim, saying the insurance agents cannot show that the insurer decided to terminate agents to eliminate older agents or stop pension accruals (Gene R. Romero, et al. v. Allstate Insurance Company, et al., No. 01-3894, consolidated with No. 01-6764, 03-6872, 15-1017, 15-1049. 15-1190, 15-2602, 15-2961, 15-3047, E.D. Pa., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 64005).



Fired Tribal Employee Says Constitution Trumps Tribal Sovereign Immunity
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Dismissal of a woman's age discrimination claim against an Alabama Indian tribe based on the tribe's sovereign immunity should be reversed because the ruling deprives her of rights guaranteed to her by the U.S. Constitution, the woman argues in a March 1 U.S. Supreme Court petition for certiorari (Christine J. Williams v. Poarch Band of Creek Indians, No. 16-1324, U.S. Sup., 2017 U.S. S. Ct. Briefs LEXIS 1541).



California High Court: Employer May Not Force Employee To Work 7 Days A Week
SAN FRANCISCO - Under California's day of rest statutes, an employer may not force an employee to work seven days a week; however, an employee, fully apprised of his or her entitlement, is permitted to choose to work seven days a week, the California Supreme Court ruled May 8 (Christopher Mendoza v. Nordstrom, Inc., No. S224611, Calif. Sup., 2017 Cal. LEXIS 3171).



Split 6th Circuit Reinstates Retaliation Claims For Firing After FMLA Leave
CINCINNATI - An employee with mental health issues who was demoted and then fired after taking leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) may proceed with his retaliation claims brought under the FMLA and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a split Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled April 20, partially reversing a trial court's ruling (Gloria Marshall v. The Rawlings Company LLC, No. 16-5614, 6th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 6854).



Labor Board ALJ Finds AT&T's Privacy Rule For Workers Is Too Broad
WASHINGTON, D.C. - AT&T Mobility LLC's privacy policy for employees that prohibits the recording of conversations with co-workers, managers and third parties is overly broad and violates the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), an administrative law judge (ALJ) ruled April 25 (AT&T Mobility, LLC and Marcus Davis, No. 05-CA-178637, NLRB).



Waffle House Job Applicants Sue Over Background Reports
ORLANDO, Fla. - Waffle House Inc. and WH Capital LLC (together, Waffle House) and other companies violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), 15 U.S.C. 1681, by obtaining and using information from background reports for job applicants without providing proper disclosures to the applicants before taking adverse actions against them by not hiring them, more than a dozen applicants allege in an April 17 class complaint filed in Florida federal court (Alex Holt, et al. v. Waffle House, Inc., et al., No. 17-693, M.D. Fla.).



Retiree Class Certified In Suit Over Union's Authority To Agree To Medical Changes
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - A Connecticut federal judge on April 19 certified a class of retirees in a suit filed by an employer seeking a court declaration that a union has the authority to agree to changes in retiree medical benefits for those persons who retired after a 1996 class action settlement that provided the retirees with medical benefits without violating federal law (Barnes Group, Inc. v. International Union United Automobile Aerospace & Agricultural Implement Workers of America, et al., No. 16-559, D. Conn., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 59761).



Employee Class Certified In Suit Alleging Docking Of Vacation Time For Leave
FORT WAYNE, Ind. - An Indiana federal judge on April 26 certified a class of insurance company employees who claim that their paid time off (PTO) was accrued at the beginning of each calendar year, but was improperly docked if they took short-term leave during the year (Gretchen B. Carrel, et al. v. MedPro Group, Inc., No. 16-130, N.D. Ind., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 62969).



D.C. Circuit Upholds Labor Board's Decision On Employer's Trust Contributions
WASHINGTON, D.C. - An employer acted within its right when it suspended contributions to three out of four health benefit and pension trusts after a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) expired because the subscription agreements clearly allowed for that; however, it violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) when it suspended contributions to a fourth trust that did not contain such an agreement and when it unilaterally imposed its medical plan, a District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled May 2 (Oak Harbor Freight Lines, Inc. v. National Labor Relations Board, No. 14-1226, D.C. Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 7723).



Split 6th Circuit Orders Reconsideration Of Pension Benefits During Military Leave
CINCINNATI - A trial court must reconsider how pension benefits during military leave are calculated, a split Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled May 10, finding that other cases outside of its circuit examining the 12-month look-back rule in the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) support the appellant's argument that the prior pay rate and hours - including overtime hours - should be used to calculate the benefits owed by the employer (Kenneth E. Savage v. Federal Express Corporation, et al., No. 16-5244, 6th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 8267).



4th Circuit Panel Affirms Tatum Decision As Being In Line With Dudenhoeffer
RICHMOND, Va. - A split Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on April 28 affirmed a North Carolina federal judge's ruling that R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. (RJR) is not liable for losses suffered by its 401(k) retirement employee benefit plan after its 1999 decision to divest Nabisco stock from the plan because a prudent fiduciary would have made the same divestment decision at the same time and in the same manner (Richard G. Tatum, et al. v. RJR Pension Investment Committee, et al., No. 16-1293, 4th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 7561).



Pennsylvania Federal Judge Rules Allstate Didn't Violate ERISA Anti-Cutback Rules
PHILADELPHIA - On April 27, a Pennsylvania federal judge presiding over a suit brought by a nationwide class of former sales agents accusing Allstate Insurance Co. and its president of age discrimination and violating the Employee Retirement Income Security Act ruled that Allstate did not violate ERISA's anti-cutback rules when it eliminated an early retirement subsidy known as the "beef-up" because it had offered plan participants the greater of two alternatives with a baseline of their beef-up subsidy as of the time of the amendment (Gene R. Romero, et al. v. Allstate Insurance Company, et al., No. 01-3894, consolidated with No. 01-6764, 03-6872, 15-1017, 15-1049. 15-1190, 15-2602, 15-2961, 15-3047, E.D. Pa., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 64150).



6th Circuit Panels Issue 3 Collective Bargaining Rulings In Retiree ERISA Cases
CINCINNATI - Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panels on April 20 issued three rulings in Employee Retirement Income Security Act cases involving collective bargaining agreements (CBAs), ruling in one case that the retiree plaintiffs had a right to lifetime health care benefits, in another that the retirees did not and in another that an employer was properly enjoined from changing health care benefits provided to workers who retired from a plant before its closing (Jack Reese, et al. v. CNH America LLC, et al., Nos. 15-2382, 6th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 6856; Robert Cole, et al. v. Meritor, Inc., et al., No. 06-2224, 6th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 6853; International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America (UAW), et al. v. Kelsey-Hayes, Co., et al., No. 15-2285, 6th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 6857).



Supreme Court Rules Against Tribal Casino Limo Driver In Couple's Negligence Suit
WASHINGTON, D.C. - An Indian tribe's sovereign immunity does not protect a tribal casino limousine driver from an individual capacity lawsuit filed by a couple injured in a crash with the limo because the driver is the actual party in interest, not the tribe, a unanimous U.S. Supreme Court held April 25 (Brian Lewis and Michelle Lewis v. William Clarke, No. 15-1500, U.S. Sup.).



Denial Of Cert Allows Negligence Action Against Tribal Workers To Proceed
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Three tribal casino employees must face claims that they negligently allowed a customer to get drunk, drive away and crash into another car, killing two people, after the U.S. Supreme Court on May 1 denied certiorari in the case, which had been held pending Brian Lewis and Michelle Lewis v. William Clarke, in which the court held last week that a couple can pursue negligence claims against a tribal employee because the worker, not the tribe, is the real party in interest (Tunica-Biloxi Gaming Authority, et al. v. Zachary Zaunbrecher, et al., No. 15-1486, U.S. Sup.).



Split 11th Circuit: Gender Norms, Not Orientation, Protected Under Title VII
ATLANTA - Job discrimination based on an individual's gender nonconformity is protected under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, but discrimination based on sexual orientation is not, a divided 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled March 10 (Jameka K. Evans v. Georgia Regional Hospital, et al., No. 15-15234, 11th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 4301).



2nd Circuit Reinstates Gay Employee's Title VII Gender-Stereotyping Claim
NEW YORK - A Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on March 27 reinstated a gay employee's bias claim, finding that while it can't reconsider the ruling in Simonton v. Runyon, 232 F.3d 33 (2d Cir. 2000), which held that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 does not prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, it does find that the employee plausibly alleges a gender-stereotyping claim cognizable under Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins, 490 U.S. 228 (1989) (Matthew Christiansen v. Omnicom Group, Incorporated, et al., No. 16-748, 2nd Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 5278).



Split En Banc 7th Circuit: Sexual Orientation Bias Is Form Of Sex Discrimination
CHICAGO - The en banc Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals agreed "to take a fresh look" at bias on the basis of a person's sexual orientation and issued a divided opinion on April 4 in which the majority ruled that that type of discrimination is a form of sex discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Kimberly Hively v. Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana, No. 15-1720, 7th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 5839).



8th Circuit: Employer Failed To Show It Had A Legal Reason To Pay Females Less
ST. PAUL, Minn. - An employer accused by three female workers of paying them less than male counterparts failed to show that an economic downturn or audit evidence, which was excluded during the trial, cleared it of discrimination charges, the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled April 3 (Erin Dindinger, et al. v. Allsteel, Inc., No. 16-1305, 8th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 5661).



Split Supreme Court: Nominee May Not Also Serve In An Acting Capacity
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Section 3345(b)(1) of the Federal Vacancies Reform Act of 1998 (FVRA) prevents any acting office for an office under this section from serving as a nominee and acting official, a divided U.S. Supreme Court ruled March 21 (National Labor Relations Board v. SW General, Inc., doing business as Southwest Ambulance, No. 15-1251, U.S. Sup.).



U.S. High Court: Abuse Of Discretion Review For EEOC Subpoena
WASHINGTON, D.C. - When a district court is deciding whether to enforce or quash an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission subpoena, it should review the subpoena for abuse of discretion, not de novo, a divided U.S. Supreme Court ruled April 3, vacating a decision by the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals and remanding for a new review under the appropriate standard (McLane Company, Inc. v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, No. 15-1248, U.S. Sup.).



Pregnancy Bias Class Suit Against UPS Dismissed For Lack Of Sufficient Proof
CHICAGO - An Illinois federal judge on March 3 dismissed, with leave to amend, a proposed nationwide pregnancy discrimination class suit against United Parcel Service Inc. (UPS) based on the lead plaintiff's failure to show that UPS accommodated other employees while denying accommodation to pregnant ones (Jamie Anfeldt, et al. v. United Parcel Service, Inc., No. 15-10401, N.D. Ill., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 30150).



Final Approval Of $27M Lyft California Driver Settlement Granted
SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal judge on March 16 granted final approval of a $27 million settlement between Lyft Inc. and its drivers who provide ride-sharing services after removing from the proposed order language enjoining settlement class members from filing any action in the future based on claims that are released in the agreement (Patrick Cotter, et al. v. Lyft, Inc., No. 13-4065, N.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 38256).



Class Of Minor League Baseball Players Is Recertified In Wage Suit
SAN FRANCISCO - A little more than seven months after a class of minor league baseball players was decertified in a lawsuit seeking unpaid wages from the Office of the Commissioner of Baseball, its member franchises and former Commissioner Allan H. "Bud" Selig, a California federal magistrate judge granted in part a motion class certification and recertification of a Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) collective action (Aaron Senne, et al. v. Kansas City Royals Baseball Corp., et al., No. 14-608, N.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 32949).



Target Team Leaders Accept $83,000 Offer To End Collective Wage-And-Hour Action
TRENTON, N.J. - Two former executive team leaders on April 6 accepted a $83,000 offer of judgment filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey by Target Corp. and Target Corporation of Minnesota (collectively, Target), ending their proposed collective action that accused the retailer of misclassifying them as exempt from receiving overtime pay (Richard Locicero, et al. v. Target Corporation, et al., No. 16-5592, D. N.J.).



1st Circuit Reverses Judgment For Employer In Dispute Over Serial Comma
BOSTON - Noting that the lack of a serial comma in a list of activities exempted from Maine's overtime law caused the present dispute, the First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on March 13 reversed summary judgment for a Maine dairy company in a wage-and-hour lawsuit filed by delivery drivers, finding that state law requires that the exemption must be construed in the narrow manner favored by the drivers (Kevin O'Connor, et al. v. Oakhurst Dairy, et al., No. 16-1901, 1st Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 4392).



6th Circuit: Amazon Doesn't Need To Pay Workers For Time Going Through Security
CINCINNATI - Warehouse workers are not owed wages under Kentucky state law for time spent going through post-shift security screening because the Kentucky Supreme Court would apply Integrity Staffing Solutions, Inc. v. Busk, 135 S. Ct. 513 (2014), to the Kentucky Wages and Hours Act (KWHA), the Sixth Circuit ruled March 31 (Tina Vance, et al. v. Amazon.com, Inc., et al., No. 16-5533, 6th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 5622).



Nevada High Court: NLRA, ERISA Don't Preempt Minimum Wage Amendment
CARSON CITY, Nev. - Nevada's Minimum Wage Amendment (MWA), which allows employers to pay a lower minimum wage if they provide health benefits, is not preempted by the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) or the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) and is not unconstitutionally vague, the Nevada Supreme Court ruled March 16 (Western Cab Company v. The Eighth Judicial District Court of the State of Nevada, in and for the County of Clark, et al., No. 69408, Nev. Sup., 2017 Nev. LEXIS 16).



Class Of Call Center Agents Decertified In Unpaid Wages Dispute
ST. LOUIS - A Missouri federal judge on March 6 decertified a class of call center agents in a wage-and-hour lawsuit, finding that after discovery, the plaintiffs were unable to provide reliable evidence to overcome a lack of common policy (Penny Davenport, et al. v. Charter Communications, LLC, No. 12-7, E.D. Mo., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 31076).



California Federal Judge Denies Sephora's Request For Partial Stay In Wage Dispute
SAN FRANCISCO - A motion for a partial stay filed by an employer in a wage-and-hour dispute pursuant to the Colorado River Water Conservation Dist. v. United States, 424 U.S. 800 (1976), doctrine must be denied because it was an attempt to dismiss "the potentially meritorious" claims of a nationwide class, a California federal judge ruled March 13 (Lacey Hernandez, et al. v. Sephora USA, Inc., No. 16-5392, N.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 35758).



California Federal Judge Denies Decertification, Finds Vendors Are Employees
SAN FRANCISCO - A network of "vendors" who perform maintenance and repair services at properties owned by Field Asset Services Inc. (FAS) are employees, not independent contractors, and are owed overtime and business expenses, a California federal judge ruled March 17 in an order granting the vendors' motion for partial summary judgment and denying FAS's motion to decertify the class of vendors (Fred Bowerman, et al. v. Field Asset Services Inc., et al., No. 13-57, N.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 39000).



9th Circuit: Cab Drivers Working The Phoenix Airport Are Not Employees
SAN FRANCISCO - Taxi drivers who lease cabs to pick up passengers at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport in Arizona are in business for themselves and not economically dependent on AAA Cab Service Inc. and are not employees under federal or state law, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled March 27 in the drivers' consolidated class action, affirming a trial court's grant of summary judgment in AAA Cab (Ivan Pentchev Iontchev, et al. v. AAA Cab Service, Inc., et al., No. 15-15789, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 5326).



Plaintiffs' Counsel Sanctioned For Behavior During Wage-And-Hour Deposition
SAN FRANCISCO - An attorney representing the named plaintiffs in a wage-and-hour class complaint must pay $7,706.32 in sanctions after acting in an "unprofessional" and "disrespectful" manner during deposition, a California federal magistrate judge ruled March 21, adding that the attorney "might benefit from mental health treatment and sensitivity training" (Shaon Robinson, et al. v. The Chefs' Warehouse, No. 15-5421, N.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 40824).



Seismic Workers Granted Class Certification In Wage Dispute
HOUSTON - A Texas federal magistrate judge on March 27 certified a class of workers paid on a day-rate basis who allege that they worked more than their allotted 12 hours per day but were not paid overtime (Darnell Senegal, et al. v. Fairfield Industries, Inc., d/b/a Fairfield Nodal, No. 16-2113, S.D. Texas, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 43830).



Judge Remands Class Action Filed Against Ford To California Court
LOS ANGELES - A California federal judge on March 10 remanded a class action lawsuit filed by product specialists who assert wage-related claims against a car maker and staffing companies, finding that the amount in controversy did not meet federal jurisdictional requirements (Henry Chen, et al. v. United Talent Agency LLC, et al., No. 17-1848, C.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 34960).



Judge Finds Employees Failed To Prove Theory Of Joint Liability
SAN DIEGO - A California federal judge on March 8 found that former employees, who sold skincare products for various entities, failed to show that a company was the alter ego of other defendants named in the case, granting the owner of the product's motion to dismiss claims for violation of California labor code and California's unfair competition law (UCL) (Candle Horton, et al. v. NeoStrata Company Inc., et al., No. 3:16-CV-02189, S.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 34059).



Court Affirms Verdict For Unpaid Overtime For Newspaper Employees
LOS ANGELES - After finding that all of a newspaper's challenges to a jury verdict in favor of former employees, who asserted claims for violation of California's unfair competition law (UCL) and other causes of action related to the termination of their jobs, failed, a California court on March 23 affirmed an award of damages in their favor for unpaid wages and overtime (Sun K. Byun, et al. v. Joong-Ang Daily News California, Inc., No. B270539, Calif. App., 2nd Dist., Div. 8, 2017 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 2015).



California Federal Judge Grants McDonald's Corp. Judgment On Labor Code Claims
SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal judge on March 10 granted McDonald's Corp.'s second motion for summary judgment in a wage-and-hour putative class action brought by a franchisee's workers, again finding that McDonald's Corp. does not exercise control over the plaintiffs' wages, hours or working conditions (Guadalupe Salazar, et al. v. McDonald's Corp., et al., No. 3:14-cv-02096, N.D. Calif.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 34886).



New York Federal Judge Denies Certification Of Papa John's Drivers Class
NEW YORK - In an oral ruling, a New York federal judge on March 29 denied a motion for conditional certification of a nationwide class of Papa John's delivery drivers that would have included drivers at corporate-owned stores and stores operated by franchisees for lack of commonality, according to the court docket (William Durling, et al. v. Papa John's International, Inc., No. 16-3592, S.D. N.Y.).



Texas Roadhouse Agrees To Pay $12 Million To Settle EEOC Age Bias Suit
BOSTON - A Kentucky-based steakhouse chain will pay $12 million to settle an age discrimination lawsuit brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on behalf of class of applicants who allegedly have been denied positions due to their ages, the EEOC announced March 31 (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Texas Roadhouse, Inc., et al., No. 11-11732, D. Mass.).



San Diego Jury Awards Former Kaiser Worker $492,000 For Wrongful Termination
SAN DIEGO - A San Diego County Superior Court jury on March 16 awarded a former Kaiser Foundation Health Plan Inc. medical assistant $492,000 on claims that she was wrongfully terminated because of her son's medical needs (Maria T. Gonzalez v. Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc., et al., No. 37-2015-00019384-CU-WT-CTL, Calif. Super., San Diego Co.).



Twice Fired Garbage Truck Driver May Proceed With Wrongful Termination Claim
PASADENA, Calif. - A Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on April 7 reinstated a wrongful termination claim by a garbage truck driver who was fired twice by the same employer, finding that the employer's proffered reason for the second firing - the employee's failure to provide proof of his legal right to work in the United States - violated California public policy (Gilberto Santillan v. USA Waste of California, Inc., No. 15-55238, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 6027).



NLRB Rules In-N-Out Burger Can't Make Workers Remove Union, Wage-Related Buttons
WASHINGTON, D.C. - In-N-Out Burger Inc. violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) when it prohibited employees from wearing unauthorized buttons or insignia that referenced union activity and wages, the National Labor Relations Board ruled March 21 (In-N-Out Burger, Inc. and Mid-South Organizing Committee, Nos. 16-CA-156147 and 16-CA-163251, NLRB).



1st Circuit Enforces Labor Board's Bargaining Order Against Successor Employer
BOSTON - The National Labor Relations Board did not err when it adhered to the "successor bar doctrine" established in UGL-UNICCO Service Co., 357 N.L.R.B. 801 (2011), and ruled that the company that obtained a portion, including employees, of a bankrupt auto parts delivery company was a successor employer and had to bargain with the workers' union, the First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled March 31 (National Labor Relations Board v. Lily Transportation Corporation, No. 15-2398, 1st Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 5634).



D.C. Circuit: Union Dues Dispute Differs From Precedent Upon Which NLRB Relied
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A split District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on March 21 vacated a decision by the National Labor Relations Board in a dispute over the attempted revocation of auto-paid union dues and remanded for the NLRB to explain how its ruling against the employees can be squared with its precedent and governing law (Kimberly Stewart, et al. v. National Labor Relations Board, No. 15-1102, D.C. Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 4977).



8th Circuit: Cargill Inc.'s Refusal To Bargain Violated The Labor Act
ST. LOUIS - An oil manufacturer failed to show that the National Labor Relations Board erred when it determined that the employer violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) by refusing to bargain with the union representing its workers or when it refused to set aside the union election due to a pro-union demonstration outside of the polling room, the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled March 24 (Cargill, Inc. v. National Labor Relations Board, Nos. 16-1565 and 16-1930, 8th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 5193).



2nd Circuit Abandons $1.8M Award For Pharmacist Fired For Not Giving Shots
NEW YORK - A New York federal court erred when it denied a pharmacy's motion for judgment as a matter of law on a pharmacist's wrongful termination and retaliation claims and left in place a more than $1.8 million award for the pharmacist, who was fired after citing a needle phobia as the reason he could not give immunizations, a Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled March 21 (Christopher Stevens v. Rite Aid Corporation, et al., Nos. 15-277, 15-279 and 15-3491, 2nd Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 4985).



10th Circuit: Grip Strength Impairment Is Not A Disability
DENVER - A job applicant whose offer of employment was revoked after the employer found that his grip strength impairment was not compatible with the job failed to show that his impairment was a disability, the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled April 11, affirming a grant of summary judgment in favor of the employer (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. BNSF Railway Company, Nos. 15-3259 and 15-3265, 10th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 6204).



6th Circuit: Bipolar Worker Failed To Show Firing After Outburst Was Biased
CINCINNATI - A glass factory worker who suffered from bipolar disorder and was fired after losing his temper at work and screaming at co-workers failed to show that his firing constituted violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled March 14 (Michael Waggoner v. Carlex Glass America, LLC, No. 16-6241, 6th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 4621).



Respondents: FELA Gives State Courts Jurisdiction Over BNSF In Injury Cases
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Two sentences in the Federal Employers' Liability Act (FELA) provide state courts the right to exercise personal jurisdiction over an interstate rail carrier that does business in that state, the parties who brought two personal injury cases against BNSF Railway Co. argue in a respondent brief filed March 29 in the U.S. Supreme Court (BNSF Railway Company v. Kelli Tyrrell, as Special Administrator for the Estate of Brent T. Tyrrell, et al., No. 16-405, U.S. Sup.).



Judge Compels Arbitration Of Chef's Injury-Related Claims Against Ship Owner
MIAMI - A Florida federal judge on March 13 compelled arbitration of a sous chef's injury-related claims against the owner of a ship, finding that they directly related to an underlying mandatory arbitration provision in her employment contract but remanded her claims against another vessel owner to a state court for lack of jurisdiction (Linnea Wexler v. Solemates Marine Ltd., et al., No. 16-cv-62704, S.D. Fla., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 36376).



Class Suit Over Costco Employment Application's FCRA Disclosure Will Proceed
SEATTLE - A Washington federal judge on March 10 denied a motion to dismiss filed by Costco Wholesale Corp. in a class complaint accusing the retailer of violating the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) by failing to provide a full and correct disclosure when requesting authorization to conduct background checks of job applicants (Julius Terrell v. Costco Wholesale Corp., No. 16-1415, W.D. Wash., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 34821).



Judge Finds Coke Had No Contractual Duty To Safeguard Employee Information
PHILADELPHIA - Finding that The Coca-Cola Co. (Coke) had neither an express nor implied contractual duty to protect its employees' personally identifiable information (PII), a Pennsylvania federal judge on March 31 granted summary judgment to the beverage company on a putative breach of contract class action related to the theft of laptops containing employee information (Shane K. Enslin v. The Coca-Cola Co., et al., No. 2:14-cv-06476, E.D. Pa., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 49920).



6th Circuit Reverses Summary Judgment For Employer On Worker's Retaliation Claim
CINCINNATI - A public health employee may proceed with her retaliation claim against her employer, the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled April 7, finding that the trial court erred when it granted summary judgment for the employer as the employee presented sufficient evidence to support her claims that her primary duties were reassigned in retaliation for filing a complaint against the health commissioner for assaulting her at work (Jennifer Frazier v. Richland Public Health, et al., No. 16-3765, 6th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 6081).



3rd Circuit Partially Reinstates Professor's Contract Revision Claims
PHILADELPHIA - A terminated university professor may proceed with her claim that her contract was revised in retaliation for filing a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against the university and the provost who recommended the revision, the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled March 21, finding that a plaintiff asserting a Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 retaliation claim, at the prima facie stage, needs to proffer only enough evidence to show that her engagement in a protected activity was the likely reason for the adverse action (Millicent Carvalho-Grevious v. Delaware State University, et al., No. 15-3521, 3rd Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 4992).



Former Federal Employee: Cases Involving Bias Claims Always Go To District Court
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The appeal of claims brought by a federal employee must always go to the federal district court when discrimination claims are involved, a former federal employee tells the high court in his Feb. 27 petitioner brief (Anthony W. Perry v. Merit Systems Protection Board, No. 16-399, U.S. Sup.).



U.S. Steel Subsidiary Will Pay $150,000 To Settle Hair Follicle Test Dispute
HOUSTON - U.S. Steel Tubular Products Inc. (USSTP) has agreed to pay $150,000 to settle religious bias and retaliation claims after it revoked a job offer when the worker requested an alternate hair follicle drug test due to his religious beliefs, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced April 10 (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. U.S. Steel Tubular Products, Inc., No. 14-2747, S.D. Texas).



KASCO Will Pay $110,000 For Firing Muslim Afghan Woman
ST. LOUIS - A St. Louis company that manufactures and sells butcher supplies and meat-processing equipment will pay $110,000 to end a national origin and religious discrimination case, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced March 22 (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. KASCO, LLC, No. 16-1333, E.D. Mo.).



EEOC Sues South Carolina Company For Firing Driver Due To His Sabbath Requirement
CHARLESTON, S.C. - The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed a complaint on March 20 in the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina accusing J.C. Witherspoon Jr. Inc. of firing one of its truck drivers due to his strict observance of the Sabbath (U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. J.C. Witherspoon Jr., Inc., No. 17-745, D. S.C.).



Judge: Company's Misappropriation Of Trade Secrets Claims Sufficient
BISMARCK, N.D. - A company provided sufficient evidence to support its misappropriation of trade secrets claims against a former employee, a federal judge in North Dakota ruled March 13 in denying the former employee's motion to dismiss (Aggreko LLC v. Guillermo Barreto, et al., No. 16-353, D. N.D., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 35573).



Costco Wage Settlement For Truck Drivers Is Rejected By Federal Judge
SAN DIEGO - A California federal judge on Feb. 22 denied preliminary approval of a $2 million settlement proposed by Costco Wholesale Corp. to end truck drivers' wage claims and ordered plaintiffs' counsel to show why sanctions should not be imposed after counsel agreed to file an amended complaint that added a Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), 29 U.S.C. 201, et seq., claim that was subsequently released in the settlement agreement without any additional compensation to the class (Douglas Thompson, et al. v. Costco Wholesale Corporation, et al., No. 14-2778, S.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 24964).



D.C. Circuit: FedEx Drivers Are Independent Contractors, Not Employees
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Single-route FedEx Home Delivery drivers in Hartford, Conn., just like drivers in Massachusetts in FedEx Home Delivery v. NLRB (FedEx I) are independent contractors, not employees, a District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled March 3, vacating orders by the National Labor Relations Board (FedEx Home Delivery, an operating division of FedEx Ground Package System, Inc. v. National Labor Relations Board, No. 14-1196, D.C. Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 3826).



Avon Will Pay $1.8 Million To Settle District Sales Managers' Class Wage Claims
SAN JOSE, Calif. - Under a settlement agreement that was granted final approval by a California federal judge on Feb. 24, Avon Products Inc. will pay $1.8 million to end a class complaint filed by California district sales managers (DSMs) who alleged that they were improperly denied overtime wages (Jacqueline Cavalier Nelson v. Avon Products, Inc., et al., No. 13-2276, N.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 26451).



Pa. Tilted Kilt Pub Will Pay $300,000 To Settle Tipped Employees' Wage Claims
PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania federal judge on Feb. 24 granted final approval of a $300,000 settlement to be paid by a suburban Philadelphia restaurant to end class claims by its tipped employees who alleged that the pub failed to pay them for all compensable time and required them to purchase employer-mandated uniforms in violation of federal and state wage laws (Victoria Graudins v. KOP Kilt, LLC, d/b/a The Tilted Kilt Pub, et al., No. 14-2589, E.D. Pa., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 25926).



Calif. Federal Judge: No Pseudonym For Former NFL Cheerleader In Wage Class Suit
SAN FRANCISCO - The rights of the public, the press and the class she is seeking to represent outweigh the privacy interests of the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit accusing NFL Enterprises LLC and individual teams of conspiring to suppress the wages of cheerleaders, a California federal judge ruled Feb. 22, denying the plaintiff's motion to proceed using a pseudonym (Jane Doe, et al. v. NFL Enterprises LLC, et al., No. 17-496, N.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 24991).



Server's Total Wages Don't Clear Employer In Minimum Pay Dispute, 10th Circuit Says
DENVER - A Colorado federal judge failed to consider, when ruling in favor of the employer in a wage-and-hour complaint, whether the employer was entitled to treat the server's tips as wages for all hours worked, a 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled March 7, reversing and remanding (Aarica Romero v. Top-Tier Colorado LLC, et al., No. 16-1057, 10th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 3996).



Arkansas Top Court Upholds Certification Of City Employee Class In Suit Over Raises
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - The Arkansas Supreme Court on Feb. 16 upheld a circuit court's certification of a class of city workers suing for breach of contract after mandated raises ended (City of Conway, an Arkansas Municipality v. Richard Shumate, Jr., et al., No. CV-16-284, Ark. Sup., 2017 Ark. LEXIS 41).



Judge Halts Multiple Wage Suits By Exotic Dancers Pending $6.5M Settlement
DETROIT - A Michigan federal judge on Feb. 9 granted a joint motion seeking to enjoin numerous pending wage proceedings against nightclub owners in 12 different federal and state courts based on a $6.5 million settlement that was granted preliminary approval two days earlier (Jane Doe 1, et al. v. Deja Vu Services, Inc., et al., No. 16-10877, E.D. Mich., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 18369).



Court Dismisses Employment Claims Related To Shared Tip-Pooling Policy
SAN DIEGO - After finding that a restaurant chain's shared tip-pooling policy is not unlawful, a California federal judge on Feb. 28 dismissed a former server's claims for violation of California's unfair competition law (UCL) and for penalties under the California's Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) (Brendan Wilkes v. Benihana Inc., et al., No. 16cv2219, S.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 29127).



Federal Judge Denies Class Certification For Class Of Truck Drivers
LOS ANGELES - A California federal judge on March 3 denied a former truck driver's request to certify a class of truck drivers in relation to an alleged failure to pay a minimum wage for the hours worked, finding that he failed to meet the federal pleading requirements (Robert Gatdula, et al. v. CRST International Inc., et al., No. 11-1285, C.D. Calif., 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 184720).



Court Finds Nurse Did Not Waive Right To Pursue Claims Judicially
LOS ANGELES - A California appeals court on Feb. 7 affirmed a district court's decision to deny a hospital's motion to compel arbitration of numerous class action claims asserted against it by a former nurse, finding that the nurse did not waive her right to assert her claims in a judicial forum under her collective bargaining agreement (CBA) (Tanya Vasserman v. Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital, No. B267975, Calif. App., 2nd Dist., Div. 4, 2017 Cal. App. LEXIS 90).



Judge Finds Truck Drivers Cannot Claim Damages Under Safe Harbor Provision
FRESNO, Calif. - A California federal judge on Feb. 15 issued his findings of fact and conclusions of law on causes of action asserted by truck drivers in relation to wage and rest break claims, finding that judgment should be entered in favor of a transport company on all of its claims (Todd Shook, et al. v. Indian River Transport Co., No. 1:14-1415, E.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 21522).