Civil Remedies Labor & Employment

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Court Slashes “Princely Sum” Sought By Class Counsel in Wage & Hour Class Action

As we have noted in previous posts (most recently here and here), courts have been paying closer attention to the terms of FLSA settlements and occasionally refusing to approve agreements where the amount of attorneys’ fees...more

FMLA’s New Definition of “Spouse” Halted in Four States

The Department of Labor’s revised definition of “spouse” under the FMLA was recently struck down in Texas. On March 26, 2015, in Texas v. United States, the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas...more

Fifth Circuit Rejects Obama Administration’s Effort to Free Executive Actions From Injunction

On May 26, 2015 a three judge panel for the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a request by the Obama administration to lift an injunction currently blocking aspects of President Obama’s executive action on immigration....more

California Supreme Court Makes It Harder For Prevailing FEHA Defendants To Recover Their Costs

Under section 1032(b) of the California Code of Civil Procedure, “a prevailing party is entitled as a matter of right to recover costs in any action or proceeding” unless some statute expressly says otherwise. It has been...more

Asking Supervisor to Stop Harassment Qualifies as Protected Activity Under Title VII

A recent Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling may concern employers, since it gives a broad definition to Title VII retaliation claims. On April 22, the court of appeals affirmed the trial court in ruling that informal...more

OSHA Publishes New Whistleblower Investigations Manual

OSHA released an updated version of its Whistleblower Investigations Manual (CPL 02-03-005) on May 21, 2015–the first update since September 2011. The manual now reflects procedures for investigating MAP-21 whistleblower...more

Bad News, Good News: Disability Discrimination Plaintiff Sometimes Need Not Show He Was Qualified, But May Never Recover Punitive...

In a decision to be officially released on May 19, 2015, the Connecticut Appellate Court has addressed two interesting issues in the state law of employment discrimination, one of which is of considerable importance (and...more

Senate Approves Whistleblower Bill for the Auto Industry

The U.S. Senate passed the first-ever piece of whistleblower legislation specific to automotive safety April 28. The proposed measure provides incentives to whistleblowers within the auto industry to come forward about known...more

H2H Enterprises / Huddle House #670 to Pay $15,000 to Settle EEOC Racial Harassment Lawsuit

Restaurant Managers Created a Racially Hostile Work Environment For Black Employee, Federal Agency Charged - PINE BLUFF, Ark. - H2H Enterprises, Inc., d/b/a/ Huddle House #670 in Pine Bluff, Ark., will pay $15,000 to...more

Prevailing FEHA Defendant Not Entitled To Litigation Costs Unless Plaintiff’s Lawsuit Lacked Objective Basis

The California Supreme Court in Williams v. Chino Valley Independent Fire District affirmed the asymmetrical nature of litigation costs awards in discrimination lawsuits under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act...more

Supreme Court to Determine if Offer of Relief to Named Plaintiff Moots Class Action

Over the past several years, employers defending wage and other class action lawsuits have increasingly used a procedural move intended to defeat the class claim. In these cases, the employer offers complete financial and...more

Physicians as whistleblowers: Doctors get rich by exposing fraud

As the federal and state governments have evolved from Uncle Sam to Doctor Sam, the potential for healthcare waste, fraud and abuse has also increased. One way the government has deterred healthcare fraud is by enacting and...more

Managing Institutional Risk: Fraud-Proofing Your Organization

In this presentation: - Top 5 Fraud and Abuse Risks Facing Health Systems - Results of Enforcement Action - Top 5 Steps Health Systems Can Take To Minimize Fraud & Abuse Risk - Non-Compliant...more

Female Lawyer Plays The “V” Card, Wins $500 Sanction

Have you ever heard of the word “virilism”? Neither had I. But apparently it’s a real thing: the appearance of male secondary sex characteristics in a female. (Males can have the condition, too, but it’s usually more serious...more

Sticking up for Their Rights: Employers Taking the Offensive

The traditional posture of California employers apprehensive about “gotcha” wage and hour claims is to hunker down and wait for the next lawsuit. But a few brave souls have taken the offensive. We celebrate two examples here....more

Fenwick Employment Brief - May 2015

EEOC Conciliation Efforts Subject To Limited Judicial Review - In Mach Mining, LLC v. EEOC, the United States Supreme Court held that the conciliation efforts of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) are...more

SEC Announces $600,000 Award to Whistleblower in First-Ever Retaliation Payout

Since the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s whistleblower award program was launched more than three years ago, the agency has handed out payments of more than $50 million to 17 different whistleblowers. ...more

Third Circuit Adopts Catalyst Theory in ERISA Cases for Attorney Fee Awards

Under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), “the court in its discretion may allow a reasonable attorney’s fee and costs of action to either party.” The discretion of a court to award fees is not...more

The Future Of ERISA Litigation — Sleeper Supreme Court Case is Worth Watching Carefully

ERISA sets forth complex reporting, disclosure, vesting and funding rules for most private sector employee benefit plans. It also provides a private claim upon which relief may be granted in federal court for violations of...more

McPhee Electric and Bond Brothers to Pay $120,000 to Settle EEOC Disability Discrimination Suit

Construction Contractors Refused to Hire Applicant Because of His Dyslexia - NEW YORK - McPhee Electric Ltd., a construction company with offices in Connecticut, and Bond Brothers, Inc., a construction management and...more

Bad Faith Bargainer Beware: D.C. Circuit Enforces Award of Negotiation Costs

Last year the NLRB demonstrated an increased willingness to award negotiation costs as a remedy for bad faith bargaining in cases that are far less egregious than those where the remedy historically was given. Hospital of...more

California Court Allows Employee to Disaffirm Arbitration Agreement Due to Age

We thought we'd heard everything! This is a new one, that's for sure. It's no secret that employees try to wiggle out of arbitration agreements all of the time. There are the usual digs: the agreement was buried in the middle...more

Quick Hits: Transgender Workplaces; Proving Emotional Harm; “Digital Natives”; Labor History in Schools

With Twitter, I’ve been doing less “recap” posts of late. Why? For the simple reason that you can get all of the posts I’ve read of late on Twitter....more

April Whistleblower News Digest | Consider Targeted Anti-Retaliation Training as part of Your Ethics and Compliance Training...

If April showers bring May flowers, then May is going to be a veritable hurricane of whistleblower-related fines (and also pollen). Our first three items come to us from the SEC, with awards and fines galore, most notably the...more

Employers Who Prevail in FEHA Cases Cannot Recover Costs Unless the Employee’s Claims Are Frivolous, Unreasonable, or Groundless

In Williams v. Chino Valley Independent Fires District, (No. S213100, en banc, filed 5/4/15) (Williams), the Supreme Court of California held a prevailing defendant in an action under the California Fair Employment and...more

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