Due Process Claims In The Fourth Circuit

Randi Klein Hyatt
Randi Klein Hyatt
04/26/2012
The Fourth Circuit recently reiterated the standards by which constitutional due process claims are to be evaluated in the context of a governmental employee’s demotion. Hall v. City of Newport News, et al. (No. 10-1653, March 14, 2012). The facts in Hall are fairly straightforward. Hall, a police officer with the city of Newport News, was fired in November 2006 after the Chief of Police sustained four disciplinary charges against him. Hall...
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Private Attorney Retained By City Entitled To Qualified Immunity

Randi Klein Hyatt
Randi Klein Hyatt
04/23/2012
The Supreme Court recently ruled that a private attorney retained by a local government to conduct an employee investigation was entitled to the same immunity available to government employees.  The decision ensures that private individuals retained by governmental units need not worry - in most cases - about being sued in their individual capacities. Filarsky, a private attorney, was retained by the City of Rialto to investigate a city...
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Voting For African-American Candidate Is Not Protected Status Under Title VII,

Randi Klein Hyatt
Randi Klein Hyatt
04/02/2012
A federal court in Nevada recently rejected a race discrimination claim based upon allegations that the plaintiff was fired after voting for African-American presidential candidate Barack Obama.  Whitfield v. Trade Show Servs. Ltd., Civil Action No.:  2:10-CV-00905-LRH-VCF (D. Nev. Mar. 1, 2012).  William Whitfield started working as an account manager for security firm Trade Show Services in September 2008.  On Election Day, November 4, 2008,...
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Supreme Court Holds No Waiver of Sovereign Immunity for FMLA’s Self-Care Provision

Darrell VanDeusen
Darrell VanDeusen
03/21/2012
In Coleman v. Maryland Court of Appeals, No. 10-1016 (decided March 20, 2012), the Supreme Court in a 5-4 decision has decided that - unlike the family leave provisions of the FMLA - Congress did not adequately abrogate the States’s sovereign immunity for the FMLA’s self-care provisions. In so doing, the court affirmed the Fourth Circuit, 626 F.3d 187 (4th Cir. 2010), and agreed with the five other appellate courts that had held the same...
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No FMLA Violation When Employee Fired for Attendance Violation After Earlier Warnings

Darrell VanDeusen
Darrell VanDeusen
03/17/2012
In Lovland v. Employers Mut. Cas. Co., 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 5503 (8th Cir. March 16, 2012), the Eighth Circuit held that an employee who was fired for her failure to call her supervisor regarding an unscheduled two-day absence, after having been previously warned about excessive absenteeism, had no FMLA claim under either the interference or retaliation theories.   Affirming summary judgment for the employer the appellate court held that the trial...
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Fourth Circuit Holds That Harassed Employee Suffered Tangible Employment Action

Eric Paltell
Eric Paltell
03/17/2012
The United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit – which covers Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, and the Carolinas - has long been thought of as a “pro-employer” court in discrimination cases. Recently, that image has begun to change, and the Court’s recent decision in Dulaney v. Packaging Corp. of Am., No. 10-2316 (3/12/12) is the latest evidence of that change. In Dulaney, the Plaintiff was a former factory worker in Roanoke,...
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District Court for Maryland Holds that Bi-Polar Employee Not Qualified Individual with Disability

Randi Klein Hyatt
Randi Klein Hyatt
03/05/2012
On February 28, 2012, the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland dismissed a claim by a former Maryland Department of Agriculture worker under federal and state law that the Department failed to accommodate his disability and terminated him because of his disability.  Higgins v. Maryland Dep't of Agric., No. 11-0081 (D. Md., February 28, 2012). The Court found that the employee failed to demonstrate he was a qualified individual with a...
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Donning/Doffing Is Still Work in the Fourth Circuit

Randi Klein Hyatt
Randi Klein Hyatt
02/27/2012
Back in June, I wrote about Mountaire Farms, Inc. v. Perez, 650 F.3d 350 (4th Cir. 2011).  In that case, the Fourth Circuit affirmed a district court ruling that held that time spent by chicken processing plant workers donning and doffing their protective gear was “work,” and therefore compensable, under the Fair Labor Standards Act.  The employees in Mountaire sought wages for the time that they spent putting on and taking off gloves, smocks,...
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Lactation Discrimination? Texas Judge Says No

Randi Klein Hyatt
Randi Klein Hyatt
02/15/2012
A federal judge in Texas recently ruled that a new mother does not have the right to pump breast milk at work.  (EEOC v. Houston Funding II, Ltd.; no. H-11-2422; S. D. Texas).  The facts in Houston Funding are straightforward.  The plaintiff gave birth to a baby girl in December 2008, after which she took maternity leave.  While the plaintiff claimed that she had been in contact with her employer throughout her leave, her employer claimed that...
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California Appeals Court Reverses Class Action

Randi Klein Hyatt
Randi Klein Hyatt
02/15/2012
Discrimination and wage class actions that rely on statistics are getting harder and harder to maintain.  In the wake of the well-publicized Wal Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes case, decided by the Supreme Court last year, the California Court of Appeals recently overturned a $15 million judgment entered on behalf of a class of business banking officers at U.S. Bank.  Duran v. U.S. Bank Nat’l Assoc. (Calif. Court of Appeals, First District, Division...
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