Supreme Court Re-Asserts “Ministerial Exception”

Bill Wright The U.S. Supreme Court (“the Court”) today re-emphasized the “ministerial exception” to discrimination laws. The “ministerial exception” is a court-created doctrine that prevents the U.S. courts from becoming entangled in the internal governance and doctrines of religious organizations. In 2012, in Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. USOC, the Court had affirmed […]

Marijuana Extracts Protected for Arizona Cardholders

By Matt Hesketh The Arizona Supreme Court recently ruled that the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act allows cardholders to possess and use marijuana resin and extracts, including forms with concentrated levels of THC like hashish.  Although the case involved a criminal prosecution, the takeaway for employers is that AMMA’s protection extends beyond dried marijuana flowers to […]

SCOTUS Limits Common Title VII Defense

By: John Alan Doran The U.S. Supreme Court ruled today that a plaintiff’s failure to properly perfect an EEOC charge is a “prudential” defense to a Title VII claim, which may be waived by the employer’s failure to promptly raise the defense in litigation.  Fort Bend County, Texas v. Davis (June 3, 2019).  Davis filed […]

5th Circuit Holds (Again) Title VII Does Not Protect Sexual Orientation; SCOTUS to Decide Ultimate Issue

By Lindsay Hesketh Last week, the Fifth Circuit held firm in its position that “Title VII in plain terms does not cover ‘sexual orientation.’”  In a slightly different iteration, plaintiff sued her former employer alleging that defendant had discriminated against her because she identifies as heterosexual and retaliated against her after she opposed the alleged […]

SCOTUS Restricts Class Arbitrations

By John Alan Doran In yet another pro-arbitration, employer-friendly decision, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled this morning that an individual cannot pursue claims in arbitration on behalf of a class unless the arbitration clause involved clearly and unequivocally permits class treatment of claims. Lamps Plus v. Varela, 17-988 (April 24, 2019). Varela worked for Lamps […]


By John Alan Doran Yesterday the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against a large national trucking company in its attempt to enforce an arbitration agreement against one of its independent contractor truck-drivers. New Prime Inc. v. Oliveira, No. 17-340 (U.S. January 15, 2019). The lawsuit alleged that New Prime contractors were actually employees, but were not paid minimum […]

State Law Bars Conditioning Employment on Agreement to Arbitrate

By Bill Wright Recently, the Kentucky Supreme Court considered whether the Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”) preempts a state law.  The FAA prevents states from setting higher standards for entering into or enforcing arbitration agreements than for contracts generally.  The Kentucky law at issue read: [N]o employer shall require as a condition or precondition of employment […]

CCRC Gets Benchslapped

By Mercedes Pineda Most everyone watching the news these days has heard of the Masterpiece Cakeshop case, which challenges the Colorado Civil Rights Commission’s ruling that a baker broke the law when he refused to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple on account of his own devoutly Christian beliefs.  The case presents a […]

SCOTUS Upholds Class-Action Waivers

By Bryan Stillwagon May employees and employers agree that any disputes between them will be resolved only through one-on-one arbitration? Today, the Supreme Court responded, “YES.” In a 5-4 decision, the Court held in Epic Sys. Corp. v. Lewis, Ernst & Young LLP et al. v. Morris et al., and NLRB v. Murphy Oil USA, […]