Articles Posted in Labor & Employment Law

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The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the dismissal of plaintiff's claims under state law and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), 29 U.S.C. 201-219, as well as the grant of summary judgment for the City as to claims under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 U.S.C. 794. The court held that plaintiff failed to plead facts sufficient on their face to state a plausible claim for a violation of the FLSA; the district court properly dismissed plaintiff's state law claims based on his failure to comply with Ala. Code 11–47–23; and the district court did not err in granting summary judgment in favor of the City as to plaintiff's Rehabilitation Act claims where plaintiff failed to make a prima facie showing that the City unlawfully failed to accommodate him or that he suffered an adverse employment action, plaintiff did not meet his burden of identifying a reasonable accommodation, and he did not show that he was constructively discharged. View "Boyle v. City of Pell City" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff, employed as a police officer with the city, filed suit under 42 U.S.C. 1983, alleging violation of his First Amendment rights when the city and the mayor arranged for plaintiff's termination based on plaintiff's support of a purported political enemy. The Eleventh Circuit reversed summary judgment for defendants and held that plaintiff did not voluntarily leave his employment with the city but rather was effectively terminated. Because a reasonable jury could conclude that plaintiff's resignation was not a product of his free will, plaintiff presented sufficient evidence to establish that he suffered an adverse employment action when his employment with the city ended abruptly. The court remanded for further proceedings. View "Rodriguez v. City of Doral" on Justia Law

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In 2007, plaintiff filed with the EEOC a charge of race and disability discrimination against her employer, the school board. In 2009, the Commission dismissed the charge and provided her notice of her right to sue within 90 days, but plaintiff failed to file within that period. Instead, in 2011, plaintiff filed a request for reconsideration with the Commission, which then vacated the dismissal of her first charge. The DOJ then granted plaintiff's request for a new notice of her right to sue about the same allegations of discrimination, and she filed suit within 90 days of the second notice. The district court then dismissed the complaint as untimely. The Fourth Circuit affirmed, holding that the Commission lacked the authority to issue the second notice of the right to sue and thus plaintiff failed to establish she was entitled to equitable tolling. View "Stamper v. Duval County School Board" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit against his former employers, alleging that the cars that he parks in his job as a valet parker are the interstate "materials" that bring his employer within the definition of an enterprise engaged in commerce such as to provide Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) coverage. The district court granted summary judgment for defendants and subsequently denied plaintiff's motion for reconsideration. The Eleventh Circuit held that because the cars plaintiff parks are "goods," not "materials," the ultimate consumer exception operates to exclude from the category of covered "goods" the handling of the cars at issue here. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "Rodriguez v. Gold Star, Inc." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit against the Georgia district attorney and others under 42 U.S.C. 1983, alleging that defendants conspired to violate his First Amendment rights. Plaintiff, employed as the director of the police department's crime lab, was terminated from his position after the district attorney contacted the police chief to express his concerns that plaintiff had written an expert report for and planned to testify on behalf of the defense in a criminal case. The Eleventh Circuit held that prosecutors were not entitled to absolute immunity for their alleged actions in this case because those actions were not taken in their role as advocates. However, the prosecutors were entitled to qualified immunity because they were acting within the outer perimeter of their discretionary skills in expressing concerns about plaintiff's outside work, and the law was not clearly established at the time. Accordingly, the court reversed the denial of the prosecutors' motion for judgment on the pleadings based on qualified immunity and remanded. View "Mikko v. Howard" on Justia Law

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Defendant filed suit against his former employer under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), 29 U.S.C. 2601-2654, alleging that the employer interfered with the exercise of his FMLA rights and later retaliated against him for asserting those rights. The district court granted summary judgment for the employer. Because plaintiff likely waived his FMLA right to reinstatement by taking an additional 30 days of medical leave, because he failed to submit a fitness-for-duty certification by the end of his FMLA leave, and because the record was devoid of proof challenging the employer's contention that its fitness-for-duty certification policy was implemented in a uniform fashion, plaintiff lost the right to be reinstated after failing to comply with this policy. Therefore, the court concluded that plaintiff failed to show that he was denied a benefit to which he was entitled under the FMLA, and the district court properly granted summary judgment as to the interference claim. The court affirmed as to this claim. The court held that temporal proximity, for the purpose of establishing the causation prong of a prima facie case of FMLA retaliation, should be measured from the last day of an employee's FMLA leave until the adverse employment action at issue occurs. In this case, plaintiff has met his burden of raising a genuine dispute as to whether his taking of FMLA leave and his termination were casually related. Therefore, the court reversed the judgment as to the retaliation claim and remanded for further proceedings. View "Jones v. Gulf Coast Health Care of Delaware, LLC" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit against his former employer, Prestige, for overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), 29 U.S.C. 207(a)(1). The parties agreed that plaintiff worked an average of sixty hours per week during his employment, but they disagreed about the number of hours he worked in any individual week. The court concluded that the district court erred when it allocated commissions earned in one month across weeks worked in other months. The court explained that each commission payment that plaintiff received reflected "commissions that were earned" within a single month. Under 29 C.F.R. 778.120, the district court could allocate commissions earned in January, for example, across weeks worked in January, but not across weeks worked from February through December. Because the district court may allocate commissions across only the weeks in the period (in this case, the month) in which the commissions were earned, the court concluded that this case presented a genuine dispute about a material fact. Accordingly, the court reversed and remanded. View "Freixa v. Prestige Cruise Services, LLC" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit under 42 U.S.C. 1983 against her employer, alleging that she was discriminated against because of her sexual orientation and gender non-conformity, and retaliated against after she lodged a complaint with her employer's human resources department. The district court dismissed her pro se complaint. The court held that discrimination based on failure to conform to a gender stereotype was sex-based discrimination. In this case, a gender non-conformity claim was not "just another way to claim discrimination based on sexual orientation," but instead constituted a separate, distinct avenue for relief under Title VII. Therefore, the court vacated the portion of the district court's order dismissing plaintiff's gender non-conformity claim with prejudice and remanded with instructions to grant plaintiff leave to amend such claim. The court concluded that binding precedent, Blum v. Gulf Oil Corp., foreclosed plaintiff's argument that she had stated a claim under Title VII by alleging that she endured workplace discrimination because of her sexual orientation. The Blum court held that discharge for homosexuality was not prohibited by Title VII. Therefore, the court affirmed the portion of the district court's order dismissing plaintiff's sexual orientation claim. Finally, the court considered any challenge to the district court's treatment of plaintiff's retaliation claim as waived. Accordingly, the court affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded. View "Evans v. Georgia Regional Hospital" on Justia Law

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American Dawn terminated plaintiff, a restaurant linen salesman, for participating in a fraudulent scheme against ALSCO, and plaintiff later found employment with American Dawn's competitor, Baltic. After plaintiff joined Baltic, a sales manager at American Dawn and a consultant for ALSCO allegedly conspired to freeze Baltic out of the restaurant linens market. Plaintiff lost his job as a result of the alleged conspiracy and subsequently filed suit, alleging violation of the antitrust laws, 15 U.S.C. 1 et seq. The court concluded that plaintiff lacked standing to challenge a conspiracy directed at his employer even if the conspiracy caused plaintiff's termination. The court further concluded that plaintiff failed to plead claims of racketeering, tortious interference, civil conspiracy, negligent misrepresentation, and fraud. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "Feldman v. American Dawn, Inc." on Justia Law

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The parties filed cross-complaints after Christopher Carmicle was terminated from Brown Jordan. After the district court entered judgment for Brown Jordan, Carmicle appealed. Carmicle raised issues regarding the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), 18 U.S.C. 1030, the Stored Communications Act (SCA), 18 U.S.C. 2701, wrongful discharge, and breach of an employment agreement. The court concluded that Carmicle’s CFAA arguments fail because Brown Jordan suffered “loss” as defined in the CFAA; Carmicle waived his unopened-versus-opened-email argument under the SCA because he did not fairly present it to the district court, and Brown Jordan showed Carmicle exceeded his authorization in accessing the emails of other Brown Jordan employees; and the district court did not err in granting summary judgment on Carmicle’s wrongful discharge claim or in concluding that Carmicle was terminated for cause as defined by the Employment Agreement. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "Brown Jordan International, Inc. v. Carmicle" on Justia Law