Family Feud Over Affair Not Retaliation

By Brooke Colaizzi Title VII does not prohibit all favoritism in the workplace. Recently, a sister discovered that her complaints to the family business about her brother’s affair with a company employee were not protected by Title VII. The sister was the company’s human resources manager. Her two brothers were vice presidents. When one brother […]

Another NLRB Facebook Fiasco

By Mike Grubbs The NLRB continues its preoccupation with employee use of social media. Design Technology Group, LLC d/b/a Bettie Page Clothing and Vanessa Morris, 359 NLRB No. 96 (April 19, 2013)(“Bettie Page”). In Bettie Page, three employees worked at a retail clothing store in San Francisco. The store closed later than other stores in […]

Medical Marijuana: Still Not Lawful Activity

By Bill Wright Colorado, like many states, prohibits employers from discharging an employee for the employee’s “lawful” off-work activities. Since Colorado ended criminal penalties for certain medical uses of marijuana, several people who failed drug tests have sued their former employers, arguing that the employers discharged them for their “lawful” use of medical marijuana. Also, […]

Equity “Informs” Lien By Agreement

By Bill Wright The Supreme court returned today to the “equitable” enforcement of an employee welfare benefit plan. A health plan participant had a car accident and the Plan spent $66,866 on his benefits. The participant recovered $110,000 from other parties, but 40% ($44,000) went to his attorney; the participant received only $66,000. Citing ERISA […]

Much Ado About Mootness

By Tom Kennedy The Supreme Court ruled yesterday that a single employee cannot maintain a collective wage and hour action once her own claim has become moot. In Genesis HealthCare Corp. v. Symczyk, the plaintiff-employee alleged that her employer had violated the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) by failing to pay for work performed during […]

Stock Brokers Cannot Open Up Outside Trading Accounts

By Vance Knapp In McDaniel v. Wells Fargo Investments, et al., No. 11-17017, (9th Cir. April 9, 2013), the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the dismissal of four separate class actions pending against several Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) member securities firms. The cases raised the question of whether stock brokers are entitled to […]

Sexual Assault Was Not Sexual Harassment

By Andy Volin A security guard and her husband thought she had claims for harassment and retaliation after she was sexually assaulted (unwanted kissing and groping) at work by an employee of a customer, but the First Circuit recently upheld the dismissal of her claims on summary judgment. The harassment claim failed because the employer […]

Ex-NFL Players Fumble Their Cumulative Injury Claims

By John Alan Doran In a procedurally complex case involving workers compensation claims by former NFL players, a federal court recently ruled that the players could not take advantage of California’s workers’ compensation scheme. The former NFL players, all former members of the Kansas City Chiefs, asserted that they experienced cumulative injuries as a result […]