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.
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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.
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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.  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.  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?
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On January 8, 2018, the United States Supreme Court denied a petition for certiorari seeking to overturn the Fourth Circuit’s new joint employer test under the Fair Labor Standards Act.  As a result, employers will continue to be faced with differing joint employer standards in the various federal circuits.
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