LOS ANGELES — A federal judge in California on Feb. 19 granted summary judgment to franchisor 7-Eleven Inc. on unpaid overtime claims brought by franchisees on behalf of themselves and a class, finding that the franchisees failed to provide sufficient evidence; however, the judge permitted the franchisees to proceed with their claims seeking unpaid reimbursements (Serge Haitayan, et al. v. 7-Eleven, Inc., No. 17-7454, C.D. Calif.).
GREENSBORO, N.C. — A federal judge in North Carolina on Feb. 18 partially granted a motion for partial judgment on the pleadings filed by a convenience store franchisor and the landlord for a North Carolina location but allowed the franchisees, who allege that they were misclassified and were really employees, to proceed with their federal claim seeking unpaid overtime along with a claim for national origin discrimination (Amro Elsayed, et al. v. Family Fare LLC, et al., No. 18-1045, M.D. N.C., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 27064).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — An amicus curiae brief filed by the United States on Feb. 10 in the U.S. Supreme Court along with 35 other briefs filed between Feb. 6 and Feb. 10 all support the position of two Catholic schools that argue that the Ninth Circuit’s decision to impose a new “rigid” ministerial exception test in two discrimination cases — under which religious functions alone are not enough for the exception to apply — can’t be reconciled with Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church & School v. EEOC (Our Lady of Guadalupe School v. Agnes Morrissey-Berru, St. James School v. Darryl Biel, Nos. 19-267 & 19-348, U.S. Sup.).
JERSEY CITY, N.J. — A New Jersey appeals court panel on Jan. 13, in a case it noted was one of first impression, affirmed a trial court’s decision ordering an employer to reimburse an employee for his use of medical marijuana for chronic pain due to a work-related accident and affirmed the court’s finding that the employee is permanently partially disabled (Vincent Hager v. M&K Construction, No. A-0102-18T3, N.J. Super., App. Div., 2020 N.J. Super. LEXIS 4).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A former Mayo Clinic anesthesiologist asks the U.S. Supreme Court in a Feb. 3 petition for a writ of certiorari to decide whether the “motivating factor” standard rather than the “but-for” standard, is the appropriate one to be applied when deciding causation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) (Michael J. Murray, M.D. v. Mayo Clinic, No. 19-995, U.S. Sup.).
ATLANTA — Claims brought under the antiretaliation provision of the False Claims Act must be analyzed under the but-for causation standard and not the motivating factor standard, an 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Jan. 3, affirming a trial court’s summary judgment ruling for a Georgia county accused of firing a worker for whistleblowing (Jamie Nesbitt v. Candler County, Georgia, No. 18-14484, 11th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 64).
CHICAGO — Notice of a wage lawsuit may be sent to employees who allegedly entered into arbitration agreements unless no employee contests the existence of the agreement or the employer is able to show after discovery by a preponderance of the evidence that a valid agreement exists, a Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Jan. 24 (Susie Bigger v. Facebook, Inc., No. 19-1944, 7th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 2273).
NEW ORLEANS — A hospital employee fired after the hospital was privatized and underwent a reorganization may proceed with her retaliation case as the district court failed to properly analyze most of her claims and misstated her burden of proof, a Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Feb. 14 in a per curiam opinion (Patricia G. Williams v. B R F H H Shreveport, L.L.C., et al., No. 19-30124, 5th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 4894).
PHILADELPHIA — A hospital employee who was fired after refusing to get a flu shot failed to show that she was the victim of religious discrimination as her allegations did not show that her beliefs related to the vaccination were religious, a Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Feb. 14 in a per curiam opinion (Niaja Brown v. The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, No. 18-3685, 3rd Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 4831).
BOSTON — The National Federation of the Blind Inc. (NFB) failed to establish that a software firm violated an employment discrimination law by selling software that was inaccessible to a hospital employee, a Massachusetts federal judge ruled Jan. 31, granting the company’s motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim (The National Federation of the Blind Inc. v. Epic Systems Corp., No. 1:18-cv-12630, D. Mass., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 19858).
LOS ANGELES — The state of California and its attorney general filed a motion on Feb. 13 seeking dismissal of a case by Uber Technologies Inc., Postmates Inc. and two individuals challenging the state’s new gig worker law; the motion came several days after a federal judge in California denied the plaintiffs’ motion for preliminary injunction (Lydia Olson, et al. v. California, et al., No. 19-10956, C.D. Calif.).
SAN DIEGO — A California federal judge on Feb. 10 found a $1.75 million settlement of a wage-and-hour class action against retailer Ulta Beauty over such things as unpaid overtime and inconsistent meal breaks to be “fair, reasonable, and adequate,” granting final approval to the agreement, while reducing requested attorney fees and service award amounts that she deemed excessive (Raychael Tellez, et al. v. Ulta Salon, Cosmetics & Fragrance Inc., et al., No. 3:18-cv-02480, S.D. Calif., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 23372).
LOS ANGELES — The California Supreme Court on Feb. 13 ruled that time spent waiting for and undergoing exit searches is compensable under California Industrial Welfare Commission Wage Order No. 7, answering a question certified by the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals (Amanda Frlekin, et al. v. Apple, Inc., No. S243805, Calif. Sup., 2020 Cal LEXIS 547).
NEW HAVEN, Conn. — The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on Feb. 11 sued a Connecticut hospital in federal court, claiming that its policy requiring individuals 70 and older to undergo ophthalmologic and neuropsychological examinations when seeking medical staff privileges violates the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) and the Age Discrimination Act (ADA) (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Yale New Haven Hospital, Inc., No. 20-cv-187, D. Conn.).
FRESNO, Calif. — In reconsidering an order based on new controlling authority from the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, a California federal judge on Jan. 31 granted summary judgment to former employers of home cleaners on the ostensible agency theory of liability in a wages dispute (Angela Cruz, et al. v. MM 879 Inc., et al., No. 15-01563, E.D. Calif., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 16333).
CHICAGO — A worker’s failure to show causal nexus between his disability, hypothyroidism and motion sickness that caused him to have issues working in a room with multiple monitoring screens and electronic equipment doomed his disability bias suit following his termination, a Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Jan. 24 (Edward L. Youngman v. Peoria County, et al., No. 18-2544, 7th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 2200).
PHILADELPHIA — A hotel franchisor was awarded summary judgment by a federal judge in Pennsylvania on Feb. 6 in a suit brought by a former housekeeper accusing it of failing to pay overtime wages in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and Pennsylvania Minimum Wage Act (PWMA), ruling that it could not be found liable as a joint employer because a franchise agreement did not give the franchisor any power over the employment policies (Gina DiFlavis v. Choice Hotels International Inc., et al., No. 18-3914, E.D. Pa., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 20801).
PHILADELPHIA — The widow of a union laborer who drowned after falling through an uncovered hole into Philadelphia’s Delaware River reached a $10.5 million settlement with the general contractor of a pier renovation project, her attorneys announced Jan. 9 (Kimberly Bolden-Johnson v. Agate Construction Co. Inc., No. 1066, Pa. Comm. Pls., Philadelphia Co.).
PHILADELPHIA — Neither the reliance provision nor the inquiry provision of an ordinance enacted by the city of Philadelphia barring employers from asking a prospective employee about their wage history when negotiating that employee’s wage violates the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, a Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Feb. 6, partially reversing a trial court’s order in favor of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce that struck down the inquiry provision (Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce v. Philadelphia, et al., Nos. 18-2175 and 18-2176, 3rd Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 3598).
NEW YORK — Migraines that were allegedly caused by work-related stress that an employee alleged prevented him from performing a single job do not constitute “a substantial limitation,” a Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Feb. 6, holding that the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA) did not change the fact that an employee with a work-related disability must show the inability to work a large range of jobs (Ronald Woolf v. Melissa Strada, et al., No. 19-860, 2nd Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 3555).