As we previously reported, the United States Supreme Court held this past Term in Epic Systems Corp. v. Lewis that class action waivers in arbitration agreements do not violate the National Labor Relations Act. In the wake of Epic Systems, courts have found that class action waivers are likewise permissible under the FLSA. These cases make clear that class action waivers are here to stay.
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.
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.
On February 1, 2018, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania dismissed an overtime class action suit brought on behalf of a group of former democratic campaign workers for their work during the 2016 presidential election. See Katz v. DNC Services Corp., Civil Action No. 16-5800 (E.D. Pa. Feb. 1, 2018). In dismissing the overtime suit, the Court relied on an often-overlooked defense to the Fair Labor Standard Act (“FLSA”) – namely, that the FLSA only covers employees engaged in interstate commerce as opposed to employees engaged in purely local activities.
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.
On October 5, 2017, Attorney General Jeff Sessions released a formal letter on behalf of the United States Department of Justice stating the DOJ’s official position that Title VII “does not prohibit discrimination based on gender identity per se, including transgender status,” officially retracting the DOJ’s previous position under the Obama Administration and setting up a direct conflict with the EEOC’s current position on the scope of Title VII.
On September 15, the White House announced that President Trump will nominate Peter B. Robb, a longtime labor and employment attorney, to become the National Labor Relation Board’s next general counsel. Assuming Robb is confirmed by the Senate, he would likely take over his position hopefully in early November following the end of the incumbent’s General Counsel’s term and Robb’s swearing in.
In a landmark ruling on April 4, 2017, the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, sitting en banc, became the first federal appellate court to officially recognize a discrimination claim under Title VII based solely on the plaintiff’s sexual orientation. The Court’s decision in Hively v. Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana reflects a groundswell of recent cases questioning whether sexual orientation claims are viable under Title VII. Although the Seventh Circuit is the only appellate court so far to hold that sexual orientation discrimination is a form of “sex” discrimination under Title VII, recent panel decisions from the Second and Eleventh Circuit Courts of Appeals signal that additional circuit courts might be poised to overrule existing case law to find similar protections. Continue Reading Circuit Courts Reevaluate Sexual Orientation Discrimination Claims Under Title VII