Articles Posted in Labor & Employment Law

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Plaintiff, the Regional Director of the National Labor Relations Board, filed suit against DISH, seeking an injunction against unilateral changes to employee wages during collective bargaining. The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of an injunction in part, holding that the district court did not err in recognizing the nearly 25 percent disparity between union wages and non-union wages; such a basis provided sufficient factual support to survive an abuse of discretion standard of review; and the district court did not abuse its discretion by granting relief under Section 10(j) of the National Labor Relations Act where exceptional circumstances were present. Finally, the court did not evaluate the district court's failure to issue a cease and desist order against other future unilateral changes by DISH. View "Kinard v. Dish Network Corp." on Justia Law

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The Fifth Circuit vacated the jury's verdict in favor of plaintiffs, former employees of Crest, in an action alleging violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act. The court held that the magistrate judge incorrectly placed the burden of proof on Crest as to the SAFETEA-LU Technical Corrections Act's applicability, and plaintiffs presented no evidence to meet their burden of proving the weight of the vehicles they operated. In this case, there was no legally cognizable evidence provided by plaintiffs to refute Crest's evidence that the gross vehicle weight rating of the vehicles was more than 10,000 pounds and thus the Corrections Act was applicable. View "Carley v. Crest Pumping Technologies, LLC" on Justia Law

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The Fifth Circuit reversed the district court's grant of defendants' motion to dismiss plaintiff's due process claim, which alleged that plaintiff was deprived of his property interest in his job as superintendent. The court held that plaintiff has adequately stated a procedural due process claim because he did not receive a pre-termination hearing. The court affirmed with respect to plaintiff's remaining claims and remanded as to the property-based procedural due process claim. View "Greene v. Greenwood Public School District" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit alleging that her former employer, Vacation, interfered with her rights under the Family Medical Leave Act (FLMA). Vacation counter sued, alleging that plaintiff and her husband breached plaintiff's covenant not to compete, converted confidential information, and tortuously interfered with its business relationships, among other things, by conspiring to establish a competing vacation-sales franchise. After determining that the district court did not abuse its discretion by exercising supplemental jurisdiction, the court held that there were numerous disputes of material fact in this case. Therefore, the court affirmed in part and reversed in part the district court's grant of Vacation's motion for summary judgment. The court also vacated the district court's award of attorneys' fees, damages, and injunctive relief. View "D'Onofrio v. Vacation Publications, Inc." on Justia 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