LOS ANGELES — A California judge on Dec. 11 declined to strike class allegations and partially overruled a demurrer by Walt Disney Co. and related companies in female workers’ pay discrimination complaint, granting it only as to some of the plaintiffs’ California’s Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) claims (LaRonda Rasmussen, et al. v. The Walt Disney Company, et al., No. 19STCV10974, Calif. Super., Los Angeles Co.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A divided National Labor Relations Board on Dec. 13 announced changes to representation case procedures that include clarifications to procedures before an election and allowing for additional time to comply with pre-election requirements that were instituted in 2014.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Over objections by the charging parties, a split National Labor Relations Board panel on Dec. 12 ruled 2-1 to vacate an administrative law judge’s (ALJ) order that denied approval of multiple settlement agreements involving McDonald’s USA LLC, McDonald’s Restaurants of Illinois Inc. and a large number of franchisees accused of retaliating against workers involved in an organizing campaign for higher pay based on a lack of finding that McDonald’s USA was a joint employer and remanded the case to the ALJ with instructions to approve the agreements (McDonald’s USA, LLC, et al. v. Fast Food Workers Committee and Service Employees International Union, CTW, CLC, et al., Nos. 02-CA-093893 et al., NLRB).
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — A franchisor of Golden Corral restaurants and a former server at one of its chains on Dec. 9 settled their dispute in Arkansas federal court over allegations that the server’s firing was based upon discrimination for having human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) (Jimmy Davis v. Golden Partners, Inc., No. 18-5188, W.D. Ark.).
SAN FRANCISCO — The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Dec. 11 denied a petition for rehearing or rehearing en banc following an Oct. 1 decision in which a split panel held that McDonald’s Inc. and its subsidiaries aren’t a joint employer of franchised locations’ workers and can’t be held liable for overtime claims (Guadalupe Salazar, et al. v. McDonald’s Corp., et al., No. 17-15673, 9th Cir.; 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 36683).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Nov. 22 vacated a ruling by the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA) for Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in a dispute with a labor union concerning eligibility for travel time and expenses, finding that the FLRA relied on faulty math and misunderstood the union’s proposal (National Treasury Employees Union v. Federal Labor Relations Authority, No. 18-1250, D.C. Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 34842).
BOSTON — Massachusetts regulations that provide overtime pay to au pairs and have tighter restrictions than federal regulations when it comes to room and board reductions are not preempted by the U.S. Department of State’s (DOS) “au pair program,” a First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Dec. 2, affirming a district court’s ruling for the Massachusetts attorney general (Erin Capron, et al. v. Office of the Attorney General of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, et al., No. 17-2140, 1st Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 35778).
DENVER — A 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Nov. 8 reinstated an employee’s claim of disability discrimination against a former employer that was dismissed after the employee failed to provide expert medical evidence of her alleged disability, finding that “expert medical evidence is not required to establish a disability in all ADA [Americans with Disabilities Act] cases” and ordering further consideration on remand (Jonella Tesone v. Empire Marketing Strategies, No. 19-1026, 10th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 33488).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — BNSF Railway Co. on Nov. 22 waived its right to respond to a petition for a writ of certiorari filed in the U.S. Supreme Court by the widow of a worker who was killed as a result of an accident that occurred while driving to work (Rita Guerrero v. BNSF Railway Co., No. 19-625, U.S. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A North Dakota attorney filed a petition for a writ of certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court on Nov. 21 seeking a ruling on whether state bar association mandatory fees are subject to the same scrutiny outlined in Janus v. AFSCME and whether an automatic collection of fees until an attorney opts out violates the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (Arnold Fleck v. Joe Wetch, et al., No. 19-670, U.S. Sup.).
ST. LOUIS — In a dispute over attorney fees in a gender bias case initiated by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission before the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals for a second time after making its way to the U.S. Supreme Court, the appellate panel on Dec. 10 ruled that there was no abuse of discretion in a trial court’s award of attorney fees to the employer after the Supreme Court rejected the finding that the employer did not “prevail” on the EEOC’s claims (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. CRST Van Expedited, Inc., No. 18-1446, 8th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 36511).
CHICAGO — A Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) program worker who was fired by the Indiana Army National Guard after her supervisor discovered she published a book about her time as a phone-sex operator may proceed with a 42 U.S. Code Section 1983 claim against a program director, a Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Dec. 3, finding that the National Guard supervisor carried out the firing under the color of state law (Amy Harnishfeger v. United States, et al., No. 18-1865, 7th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 35879).
PASADENA, Calif. — A Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Dec. 9 affirmed a District Court’s ruling for a Mexican fast food chain and a restaurant supervisor on claims that undocumented workers’ hours were cut and preference was given to English-speaking, documented workers, finding that there was no showing of bias or other violations of California state law (Demetrio Mejia, et al. v. Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc., et al., No. 18-55085, 9th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 36422).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on Dec. 9 denied a petition for a writ of certiorari in an Employee Retirement Income Security Act, case filed by a certified class of insurance agents who were seeking to challenge the standard of review applied by the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to findings that the agents were misclassified as independent contractors by an insurer (Walid Jammal, et al. v. American Family Insurance Company, No. 19-248, U.S. Sup.).
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Individual employees and their union suing a gas company for allegedly eliminating their sick time banked under previous collective bargaining agreements (CBAs) in violation of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act and the Labor Management Relations Act (LMRA) and age bias in violation of Tennessee law have not stated claims against the named defendant due to their failure to establish a basis for successor liability or veil piercing, a federal judge in Tennessee ruled Nov. 26 (Darrell Pridy, et al. v. Duke Energy Corporation, No. 19-468, M.D. Tenn., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 205188).
NEW YORK — An employer’s offer of settlement that is accepted by the plaintiff in a case brought under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) doesn’t require judicial approval, a split Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Dec. 6 (Mei Xing Yu, et al. v. Hasaki Restaurant, Inc., et al., No. 17-3388, 2nd Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 36222).
CHICAGO — A Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel Dec. 2 granted an employer’s motion for extension of time to file a petition for rehearing, a motion filed less than a week after the appellate panel affirmed a district court’s permanent injunction ordering the continuation of health insurance benefits for retirees and their families, finding that a 2002 agreement “unambiguously provided retirees vested lifetime health-care benefits” (Harold Stone, et al. v. Signode Industrial Group LLC, et al., No. 19-1601, 7th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 34501).
ATLANTA — Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Georgia Inc. discriminated against one of its employees when it denied her request to access her workplace using nonrevolving doors, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleges in a Dec. 5 complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Georgia, Inc., No. 19-5484, N.D. Ga.).
ST. LOUIS — An equity partner failed to show that a law firm’s requirement that partners retire at age 70 violates the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) as the equity partner wasn’t an “employee,” an Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Dec. 3, noting that the status of an equity partner was one of first impression for the court (Joseph S. von Kaenel v. Armstrong Teasdale, LLP, No. 18-2850, 8th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 35854).
PHILADELPHIA — A federal judge in Pennsylvania on Nov. 25 denied a motion to dismiss filed by Jiffy Lube International Inc. in a putative class complaint by a former employee over the franchisor’s no-poach provision as it related to a Sherman Act claim but granted it to the extent that Jiffy Lube argued that the employee lacked standing to seek injunctive relief and as to the plaintiffs’ antitrust claims older than four years (Victor Fuentes v. Royal Dutch Shell PLC, et al., No. 18-5174, E.D. Pa.).