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).
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).
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).
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.).
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.).
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).
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).
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).
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.
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.).
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.).
BAY CITY, Mich. — A Michigan federal judge on April 13 directed an Indian tribe’s health care plan administrator to respond to the tribe’s request to file four sealed summary judgment documents on the public record in the tribe’s lawsuit alleging violations of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan, et al. v. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, No. 1:16-cv-10317, E.D. Mich., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 56562).
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).
ST. PAUL, Minn. — Thirty-three laid-off General Mills Inc. workers must have their age discrimination claims decided in arbitration individually, and not as a class, and they are not entitled to declaratory judgment regarding their rights under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) because the judgment would not resolve their claims, the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held April 14 (Elizabeth McLeod, et al. v. General Mills, Inc., et al., No. 15-3540, 8th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 6422).
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.).
ALBANY, N.Y. — A New York appeals panel on April 6 annulled a determination by the New York Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) that the city of Albany did not commit an improper employer practice when it failed to notify active members of a police department union of changes in its policy regarding reimbursing retirees for their Medicare Part B monthly premiums, saying the union’s active members could not object because they did not have notice of any potential changes (In the Matter of Albany Police Officers Union, Local 2841, et al. v. New York Public Employment Relations Board, et al., No. 523744, N.Y. Sup., App. Div., 3rd Dept., 2017 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 2655).
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).
SAN JOSE, Calif. — A California federal judge on April 11 granted a request by a former retail employee who asserts violations of California's unfair competition law (UCL) and labor code for the contact information of all employees of Eddie Bauer LLC that fall within the scope of her proposed class action, finding that the information was necessary to the class (Stephanie Heredia v. Eddie Bauer, LLC, No. 16-cv-06236, N.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 54709).
SANTA ANA, Calif. — A California federal judge on April 10 granted an insured’s motion for summary judgment in a declaratory judgment lawsuit arising from underlying claims for malicious prosecution and defamation brought by the insured’s employee (KPC Healthcare, Inc. v. Hudson Specialty Ins. Co., No. 16-01483, C.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 55443).