News & Analysis as of

Better Check The Brakes

The previous month’s sales numbers are final and Jane’s sales are abysmal…again. You’ve had enough and decide to fire her. You call HR to get the paperwork started. Your HR manager tells you that Jane has just left her office...more

California Family Rights Act Interference Claims Proceed

Moore v. Century Gaming Management, Inc., No. B249978 (June 4, 2014): The California Court of Appeal recently ruled in an employee’s favor in a suit in which she claimed that her employer interfered with her rights under the...more

EEOC Sues Erie Strayer Company for Disability Discrimination

Erie Equipment Supplier Made Unlawful Medical Inquiries and Engaged in Retaliation, Federal Agency Charges - PITTSBURGH - The Erie Strayer Company, an Erie-Pa.-based construction equipment supplier, violated federal...more

Safety committee members lose claim that employer retaliated against them

Disciplinary letters issued to three members of a safety “Policy Committee” were not retaliatory under the Canada Labour Code, the Canada Industrial Relations Board has decided. Air Canada issued letters to three...more

Mediating with Whistleblowers Who Have Suffered Retaliation

Winston Churchill once said, “Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak. Courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.” Whistleblowers take it upon themselves to stand up and speak when they believe something is...more

To the Woodshed: Self-Defense, Defense of Others and Retaliatory Discharge

The workplace can be very tumultuous. Employees working in close quarters inevitably have disagreements, and some employees prove themselves to be disagreeable troublemakers. Workplace bullying is considered by some to be...more

Illinois Supreme Court Agrees to Clarify Proof Standards in Wrongful Termination Cases

In the closing days of its May term, the Illinois Supreme Court agreed to clarify a fundamental issue for the employment bar: what are the parties’ respective burdens of proof in a case for wrongful termination?...more

Nebraska District Court: Employee’s Disclosures To FINRA Make Her A Dodd-Frank Whistleblower

In a first-impression decision, the U.S. District Court for the District of Nebraska recently ruled that an employee who disclosed information about potential securities law violations to FINRA may qualify as a...more

Missouri Supreme Court Lowers Burden of Proof For Workers’ Compensation Retaliation Claims

The Missouri Supreme Court has issued a decision that significantly lowers the burden of proof for employee claims of workers’ compensation retaliation under the law. Under the new standard announced in Templemire v. W&M...more

Annapolis Internal Medicine to Pay $22,500 to Settle EEOC Pregnancy Discrimination and Retaliation Suit

Medical Practice Fired Receptionist Who Complained About Pregnancy Discrimination, Federal Agency Charged - BALTIMORE - Annapolis Internal Medicine, a large Annapolis-based internal medicine practice, will pay $22,500...more

Employee Needs More Than Speculation to Support his Retaliation Claim

To prevail on a claim of retaliation under federal law, an employee must prove that he or she engaged in a “protected activity” under an antidiscrimination statute and subsequently suffered an adverse employment action. In...more

Don't let medical absences cloud your judgment

In late January, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a decision in Smothers v. Solvay Chemicals Inc. (No. 12-8013, 10th Cir. Jan. 22, 2014) that emphasized the importance of conducting a proper investigation and...more

Last Call! Third Circuit Court Of Appeals Rules That Employer Can Terminate Employee For Violating Strict No Alcohol Return To...

The Third Circuit Court of Appeals recently issued a decision holding that an employer's termination of an employee for violating a very broad and restrictive return to work agreement (RWA), which prohibited the employee from...more

Sixth Circuit Holds General Contractor Can Be Liable in Discrimination Suit Brought by Sub-Contractor's Employees

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals recently reversed a district court's ruling granting summary judgment to a general contractor on the question of whether it could be held liable to its sub-contractor's employees as a joint...more

FMLA FAQ: Can Excess Trips To The Potty Be Counted As FMLA Leave?

Q: One of our employees drinks a lot of water at work and goes to the bathroom continuously throughout the day. As a result, she uses far more than her normal breaks allow. ...more

Federal Courts Take Divergent Approaches to Jury Trials for Whistleblower Plaintiffs Under Dodd-Frank and Sarbanes-Oxley

A recurring question under the federal whistleblower laws is whether plaintiffs suing their employers for retaliation have the right to a jury trial. The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act1 appears...more

The Meaning of “But-For” Harassment: The Second Circuit Breaks Its Silence and it is not Good for Employers

In 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court held that Title VII retaliation claims must be proven according to traditional principles of “but-for” causation. Since Univ. of Tex. Sw. Med. Ctr. v. Nassar, 133 S. Ct. 2517 (2013), ...more

Will California Be The Next Battlefront For An Onslaught of Whistleblower Claims?

Last week, we identified five important questions employers should ask themselves to test whether they are ready for key changes in California law that are coming in 2014. Here, we take a closer look at one of those changes:...more

San Francisco Adopts Ordinance That Prohibits Caregiver Discrimination and Provides Flexible Work Arrangements for Caregivers

San Francisco recently adopted the “Family Friendly Workplace Ordinance,” which prohibits caregiver discrimination and gives employees a right to request “flexible” or “predictable working arrangements” to assist employees...more

Top Ten Policies Every Employee Handbook Should Have

An Employee Handbook is a critical communication tool that sets forth corporate goals, policies and objectives as well as the expectations demanded of employees....more

International Employment Law Review: August 2013 - Issue 4: Recent Employment Law Developments in the United States

U.S. Supreme Court Decisions - Court Limits Definition of “Supervisor” Under Federal Anti-Discrimination Law - In Vance v. Ball State University (June 24, 2013), in a 5-4 decision, a majority of the Supreme...more

Nassar’s “But For” Requirement Breaks the Chain for Retaliation Plaintiffs Relying on Temporal Proximity to Establish Causation

In a decision in favor of the University of Pennsylvania entered on August 7, 2013, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals reviewed the “but for” standard for liability under University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center v....more

Oregon Court of Appeals Continues Debate About Status of Wrongful Discharge Claims In Oregon in Kemp v. Masterbrand Cabinets, Inc.

Last week the Oregon Court of Appeals issued its opinion in Kemp v. Masterbrand Cabinets, Inc., holding that the plaintiff’s common law wrongful discharge claim was not precluded by the statutory remedies then available under...more

Does Demoting an Employee Equal Constructive Dismissal?

The British Columbia Supreme Court’s decision of Meyers v. Chevron Canada Limited, 2013 BCSC 420, demonstrates the uncertainty that can arise when predicting whether the conduct of an employer amounts to constructive...more

Fenwick Employment Brief - July 2013: Employee Claiming Retaliation Must Meet Higher Standard of Proof

In another favorable ruling for employers, the Supreme Court in University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center v. Nassar clarified that employees must satisfy a higher “but for” standard of proof to prevail in a Title VII...more

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