Articles Posted in Labor & Employment Law

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Plaintiff filed suit against Southern Home under Title VII and 42 U.S.C. 1981, asserting claims for discriminatory termination, hostile work environment, and retaliation. The Eleventh Circuit held that plaintiff's discriminatory termination and retaliation claims failed as a matter of law because she provided insufficient evidence of pretext in response to Southern Home's legitimate, nondiscriminatory reasons for terminating her. The court held, however, that plaintiff offered sufficient evidence to create a genuine issue of material fact that the harassment plaintiff suffered was severe or pervasive to alter the terms or conditions of her employment. The court also held that plaintiff offered sufficient evidence to create a genuine issue of material fact that Southern Home had actual notice of the hostile work environment. Accordingly, the court affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded. View "Smelter v. Southern Home Care Services Inc." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit against Kia for gender and national origin discrimination and retaliation under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as well as race and alienage discrimination and retaliation under 42 U.S.C. 1981. The district court granted summary judgment for Kia. The Eleventh Circuit reversed the district court's judgment as to the retaliation claims under Title VII and section 1981. The court held that, viewing the record in the light most favorable to plaintiff, the manner of her opposition to discrimination was reasonable. In this case, were it not for plaintiff's position as a human resource manager, her action of providing the name of an attorney in connection with her EEOC charge would be protected opposition conduct, because it assisted the employee with filing her own charge. The court affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment on plaintiff's claim of sex and national origin discrimination under Title VII and section 1981. View "Gogel v. Kia Motors Manufacturing of Georgia, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Eleventh Circuit reversed the district court's award of sanctions against plaintiff and his attorneys in an action against Pro Transport and its owners, seeking to recover unpaid wages under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The court held that Slater v. U.S. Steel Corp., 871 F.3d 1174 (11th Cir. 2017) (en banc), made clear that plaintiff and his attorneys did not act in bad faith or took legal action that had no reasonable chance of success in litigating the FLSA claim. Therefore, the district court abused its discretion by imposing sanctions. View "Antonio Silva v. Pro Transport, Inc." on Justia Law

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Acosta challenged the district court's entry of a default judgment against them after they failed to pay their required arbitration fees in a dispute with a former employee who sought unpaid wages under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The Eleventh Circuit vacated and remanded, holding that it found no basis in the Federal Arbitration Act, caselaw, or anywhere else to support a court's decision to enter a default judgment solely because a party defaulted in the underlying arbitration. Because the court concluded that the district court erred in entering a default judgment against Acosta based solely on Acosta's default in the underlying arbitration, the court did not reach the remaining arguments. View "Hernandez Hernandez v. Acosta Tractors Inc." on Justia Law

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The Eleventh Circuit withdrew its previous opinion and issued this opinion in its place. Plaintiffs, who are valets, filed a putative class action against FCPS, alleging claims under the minimum-wage and overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The court held that the district court correctly ruled that the vehicles parked by plaintiffs while working as valets for FCPS were not "materials" under the FLSA. Nonetheless, FCPS was not entitled to summary judgment on the issue of "enterprise" coverage. The court held that, viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to plaintiffs, a jury could find that the valet tickets used by plaintiffs in their work for FCPS constituted "materials" under the FLSA's "handling clause," and thus provided "enterprise" coverage. Accordingly, the court affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded. View "Rodriguez Asalde v. First Class Parking Systems, LLC" on Justia Law

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At issue in this appeal was the meaning between the term "employer" under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and under the general common law. The Eleventh Circuit applied the common law of agency definition of "employer" in this case and held that Consolidated Citrus was not a joint employer for purposes of plaintiffs' breach-of-contract claim since the company was not an "employer" under the common-law definition of that term. In this case, the relevant factors for determining whether Consolidated Citrus was a common law "employer" were control, the source of the instrumentalities and tools, the location of the work, and the provision of employee benefits. Accordingly, the court vacated the district court's judgment and remanded for entry of judgment in favor of Consolidated Citrus on the breach-of-contract claim. View "Garcia-Celestino v. Consolidated Citrus Limited Partnership" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit against her former employer, the Salvation Army (TSA), alleging that the organization had discriminated against her based on her disability when it denied her a reasonable accommodation in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), retaliated against her for statutorily protected activities in violation of the ADA and the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), and interfered with her rights under the FMLA. The district court granted summary judgment to TSA on all claims. The Eleventh Circuit held that plaintiff failed to establish that TSA discriminated against her by refusing to accommodate her under the ADA. However, plaintiff was entitled to trial on her ADA and FMLA retaliation claims where she exhausted her administrative remedies and she carried her burden of demonstrating that TSA did not hire her because of her illness, not because of her interview or job performance. Therefore, the employer's explanations to the contrary were pretextual. In regard to the FMLA interference claim, plaintiff established as a matter of law that TSA would have terminated her regardless of her request for or use of FMLA leave. Accordingly, the court affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded for further proceedings. View "Batson v. The Salvation Army" on Justia Law

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In February 2016, the Mayor of Birmingham signed Birmingham Ordinance No. 16-28, which guaranteed plaintiffs and all other wage earners in the city $10.10 per hour. The following day, the Alabama Governor signed the Minimum Wage and Right-to-Work Act into law, which nullified Ordinance No. 16-28, preempted all local labor and employment regulation, and mandated a uniform minimum wage throughout Alabama ($7.25 per hour). The Eleventh Circuit held that plaintiffs have stated a plausible claim that the Minimum Wage Act had the purpose and effect of depriving Birmingham's black citizens equal economic opportunities on the basis of race, in violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The court affirmed the dismissal of the city from the suit, but reversed the district court's holding that plaintiffs lacked Article III standing to assert their claims against the attorney general and the State. On the merits, the court reversed the dismissal of the intentional discrimination claim, holding that a sensitive but thorough examination of plaintiffs' detailed allegations showed that plaintiffs have plausibly stated a claim of disparate impact and discriminatory intent. The court affirmed the dismissal of plaintiffs' remaining claims. View "Lewis v. Governor of Alabama" on Justia Law

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The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of plaintiff's complaint against his employer, the Customs and Border Protection Agency, alleging discrimination in violation of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. After plaintiff suffered multiple injuries on the job, he returned to work and was erroneously placed in a lesser-paying position. Although the agency quickly corrected the error, plaintiff filed suit for retaliation and disability discrimination. The district court dismissed the complaint for lack of jurisdiction based on the Federal Employees' Compensation Act. The court held that plaintiff waived his claim of retaliation on appeal when he failed to make arguments and cite authorities in support of his position. The court also held that the district court erred in ruling that it lacked jurisdiction where the statutory schemes of the Compensation Act and the Rehabilitation Act concerned different kinds of injuries and thus did not conflict. Therefore, the court could not avoid giving effect to both statutory schemes. Although the district court had jurisdiction to consider plaintiff's claim of disability discrimination, plaintiff failed to present evidence that the nondiscriminatory reasons offered by the agency were a pretext for discrimination. Therefore, the district court properly granted summary judgment as to the disability discrimination claim. View "Center v. Secretary, Department of Homeland Security" on Justia Law

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The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment for defendants in an action brought by plaintiff for unpaid overtime compensation under the Fair Labor Standards Act. The court held that the district court did not err by entering summary judgment for Abalux where plaintiff's employment was not covered by the Act because Abalux had annual gross sales of less than $500,000; Abalux was entitled to use the cash method to calculate its annual gross sales for 2015; the district court did not abuse its discretion by denying plaintiff's motion to expand discovery; and the district court did not commit any error when it struck plaintiff's notice of acceptance after a final judgment had already been entered. View "Collar v. Abalux, Inc." on Justia Law