Surprise! Shocker! Court invalidates arbitration agreement…

…with “surprise” terms that “shock the conscience.” By Lori Phillips In Chavarria v. Ralphs Grocery Co., No. 11-56673 (9th Cir. Oct. 28, 2013), the Ninth Circuit shot down an employer’s motion to compel arbitration because it found the arbitration agreement both procedurally and substantively unconscionable under California contract law. In addition to the “take it […]

New Math. Old Math. Any Old Math Will Do.

By John Alan Doran The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals just struck down a trial court’s award of $300,000 in punitive damages in a sexual harassment case yesterday. State of Arizona and Angela Aguilar v. ASARCO. This was a sexual harassment lawsuit brought on behalf of former ASARCO employee, Angela Aguilar. The case went to […]

Avoiding Dukes

By Andy Volin Female employees at national employers claim systemic pay discrimination in a variety of settings. The most famous example is the Supreme Court’s 2011 decision in Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes. There, the Supreme Court ruled that a nationwide class action for female workers was improper because individual stores had discretion to set […]

Temporary Work Assignments and the FMLA

By Bryan Stillwagon An employee in a 90-day temporary assignment alleged FMLA retaliation when her employer returned her to her permanent position after she left work to care for a terminally ill uncle. Although she admitted her absence wasn’t covered under the FMLA, she argued the defendant was equitably estopped from disputing her FMLA eligibility […]

EEOC Benchslapped on Way to Furlough

By John Alan Doran On the eve of the Government shutdown, a federal judge in Atlanta sharply chastised the EEOC for highly abusive investigative practices against a relatively small employer. EEOC v. HomeNurse, Inc., No. 1:13-CV-02927-TWT-WEJ (N.D. Georgia September 30, 2013). In a nutshell, the judge refused to enforce an EEOC administrative subpoena after the EEOC: […]

“Because of Sex” Need Not Rely on Stereotypes

By Bill Wright For a supervisor to engage in same sex harassment, his (or her) conduct does not need a basis in sex stereotypes. EEOC v. Boh Bros. Constr. Co., No. 11-30770 (5th Cir. September 27, 2013). In this case, a supervisor picked on an iron worker because the worker used Wet Ones to clean […]