The U.S. Supreme Court held yesterday that the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) applies to state and local government employers, regardless of their size.  In doing so, the Court unanimously adopted the Ninth Circuit’s reading of the statute when four other Circuits held the opposing position.

Continue Reading Supreme Court Extends ADEA Coverage to Small State and Local Government Employers

The combination of a quirky procedural posture and broad language used by the Supreme Court in 1941 have left Home Depot trapped in a North Carolina state court defending against a class action, despite the removal provisions of the Class Action Fairness Act.  On September 27, 2018, the Supreme Court granted certiorari to decide whether CAFA authorizes removal of class action counterclaims when its requirements are otherwise met.

Continue Reading Supreme Court to Address CAFA Removal of Counterclaims

In a highly anticipated decision, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that public employee unions may not collect involuntary fees from the public employees they represent.  Janus v. AFSCME, U.S., No. 16-1466, 6/27/18.  Here are the key points of the court’s decision:

Janus involved state employees represented in a bargaining unit by an Illinois public employee union.  The union was the exclusive collective bargaining representative of all the employees in a bargaining unit.  The union bargained with the State of Illinois for a collective bargaining agreement covering the employees in bargaining unit.  The union also engaged in other activities not directly related to the bargaining and administration of the collective bargaining agreement. Continue Reading Supreme Court Strikes Down Involuntary Public Employee Union Fees

In China Agritech, Inc. v. Resh, the U.S. Supreme Court held that putative class members cannot rely on equitable tolling to file new class actions under Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

Resh was the third shareholder class action suit filed against China Agritech, Inc. under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. The plaintiffs in the two previous suits settled their claims after the court denied their motions for class certification.

Continue Reading SCOTUS Holds That Putative Class Members Cannot Use Equitable Tolling To File Successive Class Actions

In one of the most anticipated decisions of the term, the U.S. Supreme Court, in a 7-2 decision, dodged the key constitutional questions in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, issuing a narrow opinion finding that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission displayed “impermissible hostility” toward a baker’s sincerely held religious beliefs.

Continue Reading Supreme Court Rules for Baker in Same-Sex Marriage Wedding Cake Case

In a major win for employers, the U.S. Supreme Court held that arbitration agreements with class action waivers do not violate the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”).  The Court’s narrow 5-4 decision paves the way for employers to include such waivers in arbitration agreements to avoid class and collective actions.

Continue Reading SCOTUS Holds Class Action Waivers Do Not Violate the NLRA

The U.S. Supreme Court voted to hear an appeal of the Ninth Circuit’s decision in Varela v. Lamps Plus, Inc.  The Court is expected to decide whether workers can pursue their claims through class-wide arbitration when the underlying arbitration agreement is silent on the issue.  The case could have wide-reaching consequences for employers who use arbitration agreements.

Continue Reading SCOTUS to Review Right to Class Arbitration in Silent Agreements

A single paragraph in an otherwise routine opinion could have reverberations in FLSA exemption cases for years to come.

Earlier this week, in a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court held in Encino Motorcars LLC v. Navarro et al. that auto service advisors are exempt under the FLSA’s overtime pay requirement.  While the case resolved a circuit split for a discrete exemption, the Court’s decision has broad implications for all employers.

Continue Reading Supreme Court Rejects Notion That FLSA Exemptions Should Be “Narrowly Construed”

Last week, the United States Supreme Court released its decision in Digital Realty Trust v. Somers, where the Court unanimously adopted a narrow reading of the Dodd-Frank Act’s anti-retaliation “whistleblower” provision.  The Court held that the provision applies only to individuals who report securities violations directly to the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The case involved Paul Somers, a former employee of Digital Realty Trust, who alleged that the company terminated him after he internally reported suspected violations of securities law by the company.  Somers, however, never reported any of the suspected securities violations to the SEC.

Continue Reading Supreme Court Narrowly Interprets Dodd-Frank’s Definition of Whistleblower

In the employment law arena, plaintiffs frequently bring in federal court both federal and state law claims arising from the same nucleus of fact.  Plaintiffs can do so thanks to 28 U.S.C. § 1367, which permits federal courts to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over state claims arising from the “same case or controversy” as the federal claims.  28 U.S.C. § 1367(a).  If the federal court dismisses the federal claims, often the court will decline to retain jurisdiction over just the state law claims and, consequently, dismisses those, too.  See 28 U.S.C. § 1367(c)(3).  If that happens, how long does the plaintiff have to re-file in state court the state law claims, which have not been adjudicated on the merits?  The answer lies in 28 U.S.C. § 1367(d), which reads in relevant part:

Continue Reading Federal Court Filing Stops The Clock On State Law Claim Limitations Periods