This morning, the U.S. Supreme Court punted a key Equal Pay Act (“EPA”) case back to the Ninth Circuit because the decision’s author, Judge Stephen Reinhardt, passed away shortly before the decision was formally issued.

Yovino v. Rizo is a significant EPA case that has been winding its way through the courts for years.  In 2017, a Ninth Circuit panel held that a wage differential based on prior salary can qualify as a “factor other than sex” under the EPA.  But, in 2018, the Ninth Circuit, sitting en banc, came to the opposite conclusion: “prior salary alone or in combination with other factors cannot justify a wage differential.”  The en banc opinion was authored by Judge Reinhardt, who passed away 11 days before the decision was issued.  The opinion acknowledged the Judge’s passing with a footnote stating that voting had been completed and the decision was written prior to his death.  Continue Reading Supreme Court Vacates Deceased Judge’s Key EPA Decision

In a rare win for plaintiffs seeking to avoid arbitration, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected a trucking company’s attempt to compel arbitration in a driver’s proposed minimum wage class action.  The Court held that the Federal Arbitration Act’s exemption for interstate transportation workers applies not only to employees, but also to those classified as independent contractors.

Continue Reading SCOTUS Rejects Employer’s Attempt to Compel Arbitration of Independent Contractor’s Class Claim

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

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

The Supreme Court recently announced the cases for which it has granted certiorari for the 2012-2013 term.  Among these, and now slated to be adjudicated in the nation’s highest court next term, are the appeals of three cases that will surely impact employment litigation.  In these cases, the Court will discuss (1) what the evidentiary standard is in federal courts, post-Dukes,  for class certification, (2) whether a case becomes moot, and thus beyond the judicial power of Article III, when the lone plaintiff receives an offer from the defendants to satisfy all of the plaintiff’s claims, and (3) what constitutes a “supervisor” for a vicarious liability claim under Title VII.

Continue Reading SCOTUS To Hear Three Cases Of Particular Importance To Labor & Employment