NEW YORK — A former employee who alleges harassment and biased treatment while his wife was pregnant was not a member of a class protected by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, a federal judge in New York ruled Oct. 16 (Steven Van Soeren v. Disney Steaming Service, No. 19-10196, S.D. N.Y., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 192028).
PORTLAND, Ore. — A federal magistrate judge in Oregon on Oct. 15 granted insureds’ motion to stay an insurer’s lawsuit disputing employment practices liability coverage for underlying sexual harassment and discrimination claims, finding that a stay is appropriate until the underlying lawsuits are resolved (Kinsale Insurance Company v. Northwest Surgical Development of Portland LLC, No. 19-01286, D. Ore., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 19127).
SAN JOSE, Calif. — A federal judge in California on Oct. 14 granted a construction worker’s motion for leave to amend his second amended complaint to bring California unfair competition law (UCL) claims on behalf of himself and all similarly situated employees of a “staffing solutions” company and granted the company’s motion to dismiss Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) and wrongful termination claims (Peter Albers v. Yarbrough World Solutions, LLC, et al., No. 19-05896, N.D. Calif., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 190545).
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A radiology technologist and his employer on Sept. 29 indicated that they reached a settlement in the employee’s lawsuit brought under California’s unfair competition law (UCL) against the employer and his supervisor eight days after a federal judge in California found that the supervisor was fraudulently joined because the employee failed to establish a UCL claim against him as an individual defendant (Hasibullah Abdali v. Agiliti Surgical Inc., et al., No. 19-02362, E.D. Calif., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 173989).
SAN FRANCISCO — A split Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Oct. 13 denied a marine painting and sandblasting company’s petition for rehearing after a split panel ruled that its reduction of pension payments without bargaining violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) and, on the same day, that the company filed notice of a pending Chapter 11 case (Delta Sandblasting Company, Inc. v. National Labor Relations Board, No. 18-73097, 9th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 32272).
PEORIA, Ill. — A federal judge in Illinois on Oct. 8 partially granted a motion by a restaurant chain to dismiss or stay a class complaint over its collection of employees biometric data via its timekeeping system and staying proceedings pending arbitration, ruling that the agreement leaves to an arbitrator to decide the enforceability (Austin Kuznik, et al. v. Hooters of America, LLC, et al., No. 20-1255, C.D. Ill., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 186548).
HARTFORD, Conn. — A trial court didn’t err in a restaurant worker’s wage-and-hour class suit by declining to test the sufficiency of the worker’s legal theory or outlining what the class needed to prove to prevail before granting class certification, the Connecticut Supreme Court ruled Oct. 6 (Jacqueline Rodriguez v. Kaiaffa, LLC, et al., No. SC 20274, Conn. Sup., 2020 Conn. LEXIS 226).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — An arbitration clause containing no delegation of gateway questions to arbitrator means a court, not an arbitrator, decides arbitrability, Archer and White Sales Inc., a dental product company, argues in its respondent brief filed Oct. 13 in the U.S. Supreme Court, adding that incorporation of American Arbitration Association (AAA) rules doesn’t change anything (Henry Schein Inc. v. Archer and White Sales Inc., No. 19-963, U.S. Sup.).
ATLANTA — The 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals should hold that a Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 violation may be established where a personnel action is tainted by retaliation even without a but-for showing and should remand a retaliatory hostile work environment claim for reconsideration in light of an intervening decision in Monaghan v. Worldpay US, Inc., a Veterans Affairs pharmacist argues in her Oct. 8 supplemental opening brief following the court’s grant of rehearing (Noris Babb v. Secretary, Department of Veterans Affairs, No. 16-16492, 11th Cir.).
PASADENA, Calif. — The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Oct. 9 affirmed a lower federal court’s ruling that a courier company insured failed to raise a genuine dispute of material fact that underlying putative class claims brought by its delivery drivers potentially triggered employment practices liability coverage, finding that the insurer has no duty to defend (Unity Courier Services, Inc., et al. v. Hudson Insurance Company, No. 19-56168, 9th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 32067).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced Oct. 9 that it has cited 62 establishments due to violations related to the novel coronavirus since the start of the pandemic and has proposed penalties totaling $913,133.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A California federal judge on Oct. 7 granted preliminary approval of a $10 million settlement in a putative wage and hour class action against a staffing agency, one of its franchisees and a wine servicing company because an issue of commonality in the class had been resolved (Michael H. Stoddart, et al. v. Express Services, et al., No. 12-1054, E.D. Calif.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on Oct. 9 published a notice of proposed rule-making (NPRM) to outline steps taken during the conciliation process in light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Mach Mining, LLC v. EEOC and asks the public to comment on the proposal within the next 30 days.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A dozen unions and nonprofits filed a complaint on Oct. 8 in a District of Columbia federal court, alleging a failure to employ the Defense Production Act (DPA) to ensure that essential workers had sufficient personal protective equipment (PPE) during the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic (Amalgamated Transit Union, AFL-CIO-CLC, et al. v. Alex Azar, et al., No. 20-2876, D. D.C.).
CHICAGO — A Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Sept. 14 reversed summary judgment for a railroad company based on existence of issues of fact and remanded a disability bias case by a fired conductor who alleges that the trial court improperly found that wearing hearing protection was an essential function of his job and that there were no reasonable accommodations (Mark Mlsna v. Union Pacific Railroad Company, No. 19-2780, 7th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 29072).
ANCHORAGE, Alaska — The Alaska State Commission on Human Rights had “substantial discretion” when it declined to prosecute a pilot’s marital status bias complaint against Federal Express Corp. (FedEx) despite its finding of “substantial evidence of illegal discrimination” and did not err in finding no retaliation by the employer, the Alaska Supreme Court ruled Sept. 18 (Russell Baker v. Alaska State Commission for Human Rights, et al., No. S-17379, Alaska Sup., 2020 Alas. LEXIS 117).
CHICAGO — An Illinois judge on Sept. 15 ruled that a nurse who alleges that she was fired by a hospital in retaliation for warning co-workers that the facemasks they were given to protect them from the novel coronavirus were not as effective as the Particulate Respirator N95 facemask may proceed only with her retaliatory discharge claim against the hospital, partially granting a motion to dismiss, noting that the other claims and defendants were dismissed voluntarily (Lauri Mazurkiewicz v. Northwestern Memorial Hospital, et al., No. 2020-L-003511, Ill. Cir., Cook Co.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The National Labor Relations Board did not err when it focused on a Cadillac dealership's intent to discriminate against its workers as a group following a union vote rather than focusing on the union views held by the targeted employees, a split District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Oct. 6 (Napleton 1050, Inc. v. National Labor Relations Board, No. 19-1025, D.C. Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 31653).
PHILADELPHIA — In a matter that he noted was one of first impression, a federal judge in Pennsylvania on Sept. 25 ruled that a private right of action under Section 2103(b)(1) of the Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Act (MMA) appears to be consistent with the Legislature's intentions and permitted a former hospital employee to proceed with a claim of MMA discrimination due to her firing as a result of a drug test taken after her medical marijuana card lapsed (Donna R. Hudnell v. Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals, Inc., No. 20-1621, E.D. Pa., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 176198).
SAN FRANCISCO — A Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Sept. 11 denied a petition for panel rehearing in a case concerning inducing neutral workers to strike, and a split Ninth Circuit denied rehearing en banc, with two judges citing free speech and other reasons to explain why en banc rehearing should have been granted (National Labor Relations Board v. International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental, and Reinforcing Iron Workers, Local 229, AFL-CIO, No. 17-73210, 9th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 28822).