Articles Posted in Labor & Employment Law

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McCall resigned from Shaw and later became the CEO of Allied, Shaw’s direct competitor. Shaw sued, citing noncompete and nonsolicitation agreements in McCall’s employment contract. Those agreements call for arbitration and state that the employer may seek injunctive relief without waiving the right to arbitrate. The state court issued a Joint Protective Order. Aptim acquired the rights to McCall’s employment agreement but withdrew a subsequent motion for substitution in the suit. Aptim filed a demand for arbitration with the American Arbitration Association. Shaw filed an amended petition, deleting its request for damages, and a motion to dismiss the amended petition with prejudice. McCall filed an opposition, an answer, a counterclaim, a petition for declaratory judgment, a motion to consolidate, and a motion for constructive contempt against Aptim for demanding arbitration in violation of the protective order, though Aptim was not then a party to the case. Aptim, without Shaw, sued in federal court to compel arbitration and to stay the state-court proceeding. Before the federal court ruled, the state court issued an order joining Aptim in the state-court action, retroactively effective, finding that Aptim and Shaw had waived their arbitration rights. The federal district court then ordered arbitration and stayed the state-court action. The Fifth Circuit affirmed, finding that the factors weighed against abstention because the case does not involve jurisdiction over a thing and federal law provides the rules of decision on the merits and strongly favors arbitration. View "Aptim Corp. v. McCall" on Justia Law

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The Fifth Circuit affirmed the dismissal of plaintiff and her husband's claims against LSU. The court held that the district court properly granted LSU’s motion for judgment as a matter of law for plaintiff's Title VII gender discrimination in pay claim where plaintiff failed to show circumstantial or direct evidence of discrimination; the district court properly granted LSU's motion for judgment as a matter of law for plaintiff's Louisiana whistleblower statute claim where plaintiff failed to prove that LSU retaliated against her for disclosing that the School of Art imposed unauthorized course fees that violated the Louisiana Constitution; and the district court properly granted LSU's motion for summary judgment for plaintiff's Louisiana state law spoliation claim where no LSU policy required the professor at issue to maintain, preserve, or provide his notes that were taken during the faculty member panel meeting that included a discussion of plaintiff's reappointment. View "Herster v. Board of Supervisors of Louisiana State University" on Justia Law

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The Fifth Circuit affirmed the dismissal of plaintiff and her husband's claims against LSU. The court held that the district court properly granted LSU’s motion for judgment as a matter of law for plaintiff's Title VII gender discrimination in pay claim where plaintiff failed to show circumstantial or direct evidence of discrimination; the district court properly granted LSU's motion for judgment as a matter of law for plaintiff's Louisiana whistleblower statute claim where plaintiff failed to prove that LSU retaliated against her for disclosing that the School of Art imposed unauthorized course fees that violated the Louisiana Constitution; and the district court properly granted LSU's motion for summary judgment for plaintiff's Louisiana state law spoliation claim where no LSU policy required the professor at issue to maintain, preserve, or provide his notes that were taken during the faculty member panel meeting that included a discussion of plaintiff's reappointment. View "Herster v. Board of Supervisors of Louisiana State University" on Justia Law

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GE appealed the district court's partial grant of summary judgment and award of attorneys' fees in favor of its former employee and AmSpec in an action brought by GE against the employee and AmSpec, alleging that the employee concealed her intention to work for a competitor. The court held that the district court correctly held that there was no evidence that the non-solicitation agreement was breached. Therefore, the court affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment as to that claim. The court also affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment on the misappropriation of trade secrets claim, as well as the claims for illegal use of confidential information and breach of a common-law duty with respect to confidential information, which tracked the misappropriation claim. Furthermore, summary judgment was proper on the tortious-interference-with-prospective-business-relationships claim. However, the court held that the employer was not entitled to recover attorneys' fees where there was no evidence that when GE executed the non-solicitation agreement with her, GE knew the covenant was unreasonable, and she had not met the requirements of Texas Business and Commerce Code 15.51(c). Accordingly, the court vacated the award of attorneys' fees. View "GE Betz, Inc. v. Moffitt-Johnston" on Justia Law

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The Fifth Circuit reversed the district court's denial of summary judgment to the administrators of a university on their immunity defenses. Plaintiff filed suit alleging that he was deprived of his property interest in his job without due process and tortious interference with his employment contract. The court held that the district court erred in denying the administrators qualified immunity against the section 1983 claim because plaintiff did not have a clearly established property right. Furthermore, state law compelled a similar result on the tortious interference claim. Accordingly, the district court should have granted immunity to the administrators. View "Wilkerson v. University of North Texas" on Justia Law

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The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment for Empire in a suit filed under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), 29 U.S.C. 206(a), 207(a). Plaintiffs alleged that Empire failed to compensate them for pre-shift wait time under the FLSA. The court held that the Portal-to-Portal Act, 29 U.S.C. 254(a), excludes the pre-shift wait time of plaintiffs from being compensable under the FLSA. In this case, the integral and indispensable test was the relevant test for determining the compensability of plaintiffs' pre-shift wait time. Because this preliminary wait time was not intrinsic to their principal activities, it was not compensable under the Portal-to-Portal Act. View "Bridges v. Empire Scaffold, LLC" on Justia Law

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The Fifth Circuit treated plaintiff's petition for rehearing en banc as a petition for panel rehearing and denied the petition for panel rehearing. The court withdrew its prior opinion and substituted the following opinion. The court affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment against plaintiff on his failure to accommodate and hostile work environment claims. The court held that plaintiff's failure to accommodate claim could reasonably be expected to, and in fact did, grow out of his charge of discrimination; there was insufficient evidence to prove defendants' knowledge of plaintiff's disability where defendants did not attribute plaintiff's limitation -- sensitivity to noise -- to a physical or mental impairment; a jury could find that the harassment plaintiff experienced was sufficiently severe or pervasive to alter the terms and conditions of his employment; but, because plaintiff did not challenge on appeal the district court's determination that he unreasonably failed to avail himself of the procedures set forth in the anti-harassment policies maintained by defendants, he forfeited his objection to this determination. View "Patton v. Jacobs Engineering Group" on Justia Law

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The Fifth Circuit denied Creative's petition for review of the Board's reversal of the ALJ's conclusion that Creative was not a "perfectly clear" successor and accordingly was within its rights to set initial terms and conditions of employment instead of bargaining with the incumbent union. The court held that Creative was not a perfectly clear successor where Creative's June 2 announcement of new terms was untimely and the majority of Creative's hoppers were not provided sufficient notice of the new terms. The court rejected Creative's argument that it did not violate its bargaining obligation because at the time Creative unilaterally set terms, the Union had not sent a bargaining demand. The court declined to require a union bargaining demand to trigger a perfectly clear successor's duty not to unilaterally set initial terms of employment. Finally, the court held that because Creative did not timely object to Acting General Counsel Lafe Solomon's authority to file the complaint, the court's review of any such argument was barred. View "Creative Vision Resources, LLC v. NLRB" on Justia Law

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Adams and MJLM petitioned for review of the Board's order holding them liable for unfair labor practices in violation of the National Labor Relations Act, 29 U.S.C. 151 et seq. The Fifth Circuit denied the petition for review and granted the Board's cross-application for enforcement, holding that the record contained substantial evidence of antiunion animus; Adams's unilateral imposition of initial terms and conditions of employment violated the Act; the Board did not err in ordering Adams to recognize the union as the bargaining representative for the Residential Coordinators; the Board did not err in finding that Adams violated the Act by refusing to grant the union president access to the collective bargaining sessions; and the Board's finding that Adams and MJLM were joint employers was supported by substantial evidence. View "Adams and Associates, Inc. v. NLRB" on Justia Law

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The Fifth Circuit reversed the district court's grant of summary judgment to the town in plaintiff's action alleging that he was entitled to notice and an opportunity to respond before being terminated as fire chief. The court held that the evidence was sufficient to preclude summary judgment on the question whether plaintiff was a member of the Louisiana civil service and entitled to due process before losing his job. The court remanded for further proceedings. View "Maurer v. Independence Town" on Justia Law