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California Public Employees’ Pension Reform Act Of 2013 Partially Violates Prohibition Against Impairment Of Contracts When...

In Deputy Sheriffs' Association of San Diego County v. County of San Diego, et al., (January 11, 2015, D065364) 2015 WL 273138, the Fourth District Court of Appeal held that the provisions of the California Public Employees'...more

Facebooker–Good Citizen or Fired?

Can an employee’s Facebook post be grounds for termination? The Fifth Circuit says, “Yes.” Graziosi v. City of Greenville Mississippi, No. 13-60900 (5th Cir. January 9, 2015). A police officer posted on her Facebook page and...more

U.S. Supreme Court Update - February 2015

Court Considers Constitutionality of Maryland's Personal Income Tax - On 11/12/14, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments on the constitutionality of Maryland's personal income tax in Comptroller of the Treasury...more

United Firefighters' Union of Australia v Country Fire Authority [2015]

In a landmark judgment with significant implications for the state public sector, the Full Court of the Federal Court of Australia (Full Court) has upheld an appeal by the United Firefighters' Union of Australia (UFU) against...more

BREAKING: Supreme Court Will Review States’ Right To Ban Same-Sex Marriage

The Supreme Court decided today to review the right of states to ban same-sex marriage. The Court granted certiorari in four cases, all from the Sixth Circuit (Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee), whose U.S. Court of...more

NLRB Election Rule Under Fire

On January 5, 2015, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace (CDW), the National Association of Manufacturers, the National Retail Federation, and the Society for Human Resource Management...more

Bill 3 Amendments to Alberta's Privacy Legislation Now in Force

Amendments to Alberta's Personal Information Protection Act (PIPA), originating in Bill 3, came into force on December 17, 2014. As discussed in our November 2014 Blakes Bulletin: Privacy Exceptions for Picketing: Alberta's...more

Braun v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc: Opening the Door to Class Actions?

In Braun v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., the Pennsylvania Supreme Court upheld a $187 million jury verdict in favor of class action plaintiffs. The rationale of the ruling raises the concern that Pennsylvania state courts may...more

The National Labor Relations Board Strikes Again – How Managerial Are Your Faculty and How Religious Is Your Institution?

In the latest example of dramatic changes to well-developed principles of federal labor law and policy, the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB” or “Board”) issued its long awaited decision in Pacific Lutheran University,...more

Whistleblower Takes Next Step in Lawsuit Against Philadelphia School District

Four years ago, Francis X. Dougherty was fired after revealing the existence of a $7.5 million no-bid security camera contract within the Philadelphia School District. Now, he has won a major victory in his whistleblower...more

Federal District Court Dismisses “100% Equity Strategy” Claims on Statute of Limitations Grounds

A federal district court held that participants in a defined benefit plan had standing to challenge plan fiduciaries’ strategy of investing 100% of the plan’s assets in equities, but dismissed those claims based on ERISA’s...more

Seventh Circuit Finds No ADA Liability for Employer Not Involved in Decisionmaking

Joyce Whitaker began working for Milwaukee County as a corrections officer in 2001. In 2005, she sustained a work-related back injury and subsequently was diagnosed with several related medical conditions. As a result, her...more

SLAPP’d in San Bernardino: Public Defender’s Retaliation Lawsuit Deemed a SLAPP

In an unpublished decision on Friday, Division One of the Fourth Appellate District ruled that a retaliation civil claim filed by a former public defender against the County of San Bernardino was a Strategic Lawsuit Against...more

Employment Client Alert: Punitive Damages Award in Title VII Sexual Harassment Case Does Not Violate Due Process

In State of Arizona v. ASARCO LLC, WL 6918577, published December 10, 2014, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held that an award of $300,000 in punitive damages did not violate due process even though no compensatory damages...more

Continuing to Withstand Attack: Indiana Supreme Court Unanimously Upholds Indiana’s Right to Work Law

Last month, the Indiana Supreme Court unanimously upheld the Indiana Right to Work Law, rejecting a union’s claim that the state statute violates the Indiana Constitution. The Indiana Supreme Court’s decision comes roughly...more

Defined Benefit Plan Participants Have Standing to Pursue Fiduciary Breach Claims

A federal district court in Minnesota found that participants in a defined benefit pension plan had standing to assert claims that defendants breached their fiduciary duties by, among other things, shifting to an...more

Fourth Circuit Applies Sovereign Immunity to Shield State Hospital Supervisors from Suit

Some employers are immune from liability by virtue of their status as a state-run operation. Employees have become more creative in attempting to obtain recovery from their employers in such situations by naming individual...more

The Ninth Circuit Provides Clarity on ERA Whistleblower Protections.

On November 7, 2014, the Ninth Circuit issued its ruling in Tamosaitis v. URS Inc. and provided clarity on three key aspects of the whistleblower protections afforded under the Energy Reorganization Act (ERA), 42 U.S.C. 5801...more

D.C. Circuit Upholds Contraceptive Coverage Mandate

Last week, a unanimous three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit upheld the religious accommodation to the Affordable Care Act’s (“ACA”) contraceptive coverage mandate (Priests for Life v. HHS, D.C. Cir. No. 13-5368, Nov. 14,...more

D.C. Circuit: USAID Worker Jailed in Cuba Can’t Recover Damages from the Government

On November 14, 2014, in Alan Gross and Judith Gross v. U.S.A., a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit unanimously held that a humanitarian aid worker, who sub-contracted with the...more

DC Circuit Dismisses Appeal By Three Hospitals Challenging Subcontractor Status

On November 14, 2014, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia dismissed as moot an appeal by three hospitals affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. The hospitals had challenged...more

Illinois Supreme Court Debates Scope of Whistleblower Statute

During the September term, the Illinois Supreme Court debated an important question about the scope of the state Whistleblower Act: does a plaintiff state a claim under the statute by alleging that the defendant falsified...more

Illinois Supreme Court Agrees to Return to Pension Debates

In the closing days of its September term, the Illinois Supreme Court agreed to return once again to what surely must be the most controversial subject at the moment in all of Illinois’ civil law: public pensions. Matthews v....more

U.S. Supreme Court Rules that Failure to Include Section 1983 Claim in Complaint is Not Fatal to Suit Against State Actor

On November 10, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court entered a per curiam order in Johnson v. City of Shelby, Mississippi, reversing the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals’ opinion affirming the dismissal of a suit against a Mississippi...more

Supreme Court Concludes Plaintiffs Not Required to Plead Specific Legal Theory

Plaintiffs are not required to explicitly mention the statute that allows them to plead their case, according to a per curiam opinion issued by the U.S. Supreme Court earlier this week. This decision effectively clarifies the...more

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