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BT Currents - Hot Topics in Employment Law
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27 Jun 2018 Will There Be An Epic Backlash?

By now, most have heard about the U.S. Supreme Court’s May 21, 2018 opinion in Epic Systems Corporation v. Lewis. Epic actually decided a trio of consolidated cases before the high court and held, as a matter of law, that class action waivers within arbitration agreements are enforceable, that is, arbitration agreements between an employee and employer may prohibit the employee from participating in most claims against the employer other than through one-on-one arbitration.   Workers’ advocates are echoing Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s stinging dissent,…

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14 Jun 2018 Supreme Court Says No To Repeat Class Actions After Statute Of Limitations

On June 11, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously held that filing a class action lawsuit does not toll the statute of limitations for the class to file the same claims again in the future. This means that if the class files claims but is denied class certification, it cannot return to court and file the same claims again if the limitations period expired during the course of the previous litigation.   In China Agritech, Inc. v. Resh, a class of stockholders timely filed a lawsuit…

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05 Mar 2018 Which Side Will Justice Gorsuch Fall On Public Sector Union Fees?

  Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court heard the issue of whether public sector agency shop arrangements violate the First Amendment.   Hearing this issue for a second time, the court will decide whether to overturn a 1977 ruling that held that the service charges used to finance expenditures by the public sector union for collective bargaining, contract administration, and grievance adjustment purposes, are valid, even if the public employee is not a union member.   Just last year, the court examined this very issue in…

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28 Feb 2018 U.S. Supreme Court to Take Up Independent Contractor Arbitration Case

  Our sister labor and employment blog, Labor Relations, recently posted about an important case on the horizon for those in the transportation industry. This week, the Supreme Court agreed to hear the appeal of New Prime, Inc., a transportation company that is asking the Court to overrule the First Circuit and find that an independent contractor’s class action claim should be compelled to arbitration.   Employers who rely on arbitration agreements with their employees and independent contractors will want to pay attention as the…

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28 Feb 2018 Dodd-Frank Whistleblowers: Supreme Court Holds Internal Complaints are Not Enough

  Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court held in the Digital Realty Trust, Inc. v. Somers case  that the definition of a “whistleblower” under the Dodd-Frank Act (“Dodd-Frank”) does not cover internal complaints made only to the company.  The employee is required to file a formal complaint with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) to qualify for the increased remedies and greater protections as compared to the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (“Sarbanes-Oxley”).  The Court found no ambiguity in the express definition of a “whistleblower”…

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22 Jan 2018 SCOTUS Declines to Consider Whether Tribal Courts Have Jurisdiction to Adjudicate Employment Claims

  The question of tribal jurisdiction arose when a group of current and former employees of two Arizona public school districts filed complaints with the Navajo Nation Labor Commission.   The districts operate schools on land leased from the Navajo Nation and most of the districts’ employees are members of that tribal nation. Among various complaints before the commission, the employees alleged that the districts owed them merit pay under Arizona law and others alleged that the districts violated their rights under the Navajo Preference…

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05 Jul 2017 Did a Lower Court Throw Schools an IEP Life Raft?

  In the wake of the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District, school districts are tasked with developing substantively appropriate Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) that will stand up to the court’s heightened scrutiny.  The only clear guidance provided from the court regarding how to meet this heightened standard is that an IEP must allow a child to make progress that is appropriate in light of his or her unique circumstances.   However, a recent decision from the U….

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10 Mar 2017 Supreme Court Nominee Gorsuch Receives ABA’s Highest Rating

  On Thursday evening, March 9, the American Bar Association (ABA) released its much-anticipated evaluation of Supreme Court Nominee Neil Gorsuch to the Senate Judiciary Committee.  After a thorough and detailed review of the candidate’s temperament, integrity, and overall competence, all 14 members of the ABA’s Standing Committee unanimously rated Gorsuch – currently a judge on the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals – as being “well-qualified,” the highest rating possible.   Getting a seal of approval from the ABA, which is often viewed as aligning…

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20 Feb 2017 Man’s Best Friend in School – What’s Next For Administrative Remedies?

  Do individuals have to exhaust administrative remedies outlined under the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) prior to bringing suit for damages in federal court? That is the question asked of the U.S. Supreme Court in Fry v. Napoleon Community Schools during oral arguments at the end of October. The Supreme Court is expected to rule this summer.   The case arose when a student with cerebral palsy wished to use a service dog, which helped her live independently, at school. Initially, the…

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