Articles Posted in Labor & Employment Law

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The Second Circuit vacated the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of defendants in an action alleging claims of retaliation and hostile work environment discrimination in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967. The court held that the district court erred in refusing to consider evidence of events that, though they preceded the actionable time period if viewed as discrete events, remain actionable as part of a hostile work environment and relevant as background for a claim of retaliation; that in assessing the claims of retaliation, the district court erroneously applied the standard applicable to claims of discrimination rather than claims of retaliation; and that the evidence, viewed in the light most favorable to plaintiff, sufficed to present triable issues of material fact as to the claims of hostile work environment and retaliation. View "Davis-Garett v. Urban Outfitters, Inc." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit against the university and others, alleging in part that defendants violated his procedural due process rights under the Fourteenth Amendment when they placed him on involuntary leave and later terminated his employment. The Second Circuit held that the district court erred in denying summary judgment to the then-President of the University, John Schwaller, on the ground of qualified immunity. The court held that failure to comply with a state procedural requirement—such as the New York Civil Service Law—does not necessarily defeat a claim for qualified immunity under federal law. Because the district court based its holding almost exclusively on Schwaller's failure to comply with the New York State Civil Service Law, it legally erred by not accessing whether his conduct violated the procedural guarantees of the federal Due Process Clause. The court held that plaintiff's placement on involuntary leave was not a deprivation of a property interest sufficient to trigger due process requirements. Therefore, Schwaller's conduct did not violate clearly established federal law and he was entitled to qualified immunity as a matter of law. Accordingly, the court reversed in part and remanded with instructions to dismiss the due process claim against Schwaller. View "Tooly v. Schwaller" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff appealed the district court's dismissal of his complaint, alleging claims for hostile work environment, disparate treatment, failure to accommodate, and retaliation. Plaintiff suffered from Tourette's Syndrome and Obsessive‐Compulsive Disorder since birth. The Second Circuit affirmed the dismissal of plaintiff's disparate treatment, failure to accommodate, and retaliation claims. However, the court held that plaintiff's hostile work environment claim was cognizable and that there were disputes as to material facts in this case. Viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to plaintiff, the court held that plaintiff has raised an issue of fact as to whether the frequency and severity of mockery he received rose to the level of an objectively hostile work environment. Accordingly, the court vacated in part and remanded for further proceedings. View "Fox v. Costco Wholesale Corp." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit against the Academy, alleging violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and Articles 6 and 19 of the New York Labor Law (NYLL). The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of judgment on the pleadings. The court held that individuals enrolled in a for‐profit vocational academy, who are preparing to take a state licensure examination and who must first fulfill state minimum training requirements, fulfill those requirements by working under Academy supervision for a defined number of hours, without pay; the primary beneficiary test in Glatt v. Fox Searchlight Pictures, Inc., 811 F.3d 528, 536‐537 (2d Cir. 2015), governs in the for‐profit vocational training context; and plaintiff, as a former student of the Academy, was the primary beneficiary of the relationship, thus excusing the latter from potential compensation obligations under FLSA or NYLL related to plaintiff’s limited work there as a trainee. View "Velarde v. GW GJ, Inc." on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs appealed the district court's holding that the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) preempted a two-tiered security bond provision contained in New York City Local Law 62 for the Year 2015, entitled the Car Wash Accountability Law. The law reduced the required bond amount when an applicant seeking a license to operate a car wash in New York City was a party to a collective bargaining agreement providing certain protections. The Second Circuit vacated the district court's order, holding that the district court erred in granting summary judgment on federal preemption prior to the completion of discovery. Accordingly, the court remanded the case so that the parties could take discovery. View "Association of Car Wash Owners Inc. v. City of New York" on Justia Law

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The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of the Fund's claims against the DOE for delinquent withdrawal liability payments under the Multiemployer Pension Plan Agreements Act (MPPAA). The court held that the DOE had no obligation to contribute to the Fund under the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) nor its transportation contracts that would render it an employer for the purposes of the MPPAA. Furthermore, the Fund did not adequately plead that the DOE and each of the Contractors were a single employer, and thus the DOE was not bound by the contractors' CBAs as a single employer. Finally, the DOE had no obligation to contribute under 29 U.S.C. 1392(a)(1) and (a)(2). View "Division 1181 A.T.U -- New York Employees Pension Fund v. City of New York Department of Education" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs, former employees of a Manhattan restaurant, filed suit against BLCH, the restaurant owner and operator, alleging violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the New York Labor Law (NYLL). Although the district court found in favor of plaintiffs, the court held that they were not entitled to a double recovery of liquidated damages and that a shareholder of the employer was not personally liable. The Second Circuit affirmed, holding that the district court properly declined to award cumulative liquidated damages. In this case, plaintiff's argument for double recovery was foreclosed by the court's recent decision in Rana v. Islam, 887 F.3d 118, 123 (2d Cir. 2018), which vacated a judgment under the FLSA in favor of a larger judgment under the NYLL on the ground that the FLSA did not allow duplicative liquidated damages. The court applied the Carter factors and held that the shareholder was not personally liable where only the fourth Carter factor -- maintaining of employment records -- was partially satisfied. View "Tapia v. Blch 3rd Ave LLC" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff appealed the district court's grant of summary judgment to Just Energy on plaintiffs' minimum wage and overtime claims brought under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and New York Labor Law. The Second Circuit held that there was no genuine issue of fact to dispute that plaintiffs were outside salesmen—that is, to dispute that they were regularly employed away from Just Energy's office and that their primary duty was to make sales as well as to obtain orders or contracts for services. The court rejected plaintiffs' argument that the outside salesman exemption may not be applied because of the fact that Just Energy retained discretion to reject commitment contracts that plaintiffs secured from their door‐to‐door customers, and that the outside salesman exemption may not be applied because of the overall degree of supervision that Just Energy exercised over plaintiffs' activities. The court also held that the district court did not err or abuse its discretion when it declined to find that Just Energy should be collaterally estopped from invoking the outside salesman exemption in this case. View "Flood v. Just Energy Marketing Corp." on Justia Law

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The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment to DLC in an action under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), seeking overtime compensation for former DLC drivers. The court held that the FLSA's overtime requirement did not apply to DLC's drivers because DLC was engaged in the business of operating taxicabs. The court reasoned that a taxicab was (1) a chauffeured passenger vehicle; (2) available for hire by individual members of the general public; (3) that has no fixed schedule, fixed route, or fixed termini. In this case, there was no genuine dispute that DLC's vehicles met this description and thus DLC's drivers were employed by an employer engaged in the business of operating taxicabs. View "Munoz-Gonzalez v. D.L.C. Limousine Services" on Justia Law

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The Second Circuit denied a petition for review of the Board's finding that HealthBridge engaged in a number of unfair labor practices in violation of the National Labor Relations Act. The court held that sound legal reasoning and substantial evidence supported the Board's determination that HealthBridge violated the Act by temporarily requiring housekeeping workers to work under a subcontractor only to rehire them as new employees following their termination by the subcontractor--thereby divesting them of seniority and related benefits accrued under the CBAs. In this case, the obligations that HealthBridge attempted to shed remained binding, and no reasonable reading of those obligations permitted HealthBridge to eliminate the seniority-based entitlements of its housekeeping workers as it did. Furthermore, the Board was correct in finding that HealthBridge committed two additional NLRA violations for failing to rehire two employees when every other housekeeping worker who sought continued employment with the company was returned to its payroll, and for threatening to call the police on workers who would not either immediately vacate the premises or accede to the unlawful elimination of their bargained-for seniority. The court also affirmed the Board's finding that HealthBridge violated the Act when it discontinued two of its policies without attempting to bargain. View "HealthBridge Management, LLC v. NLRB" on Justia Law