Lactation Discrimination? Texas Judge Says No

Kollman & Saucier
Kollman & Saucier
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

Kollman & Saucier
Kollman & Saucier
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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Federal Court Finds that Parties Cannot Agree to Choose Georgia Law in California

Frank Kollman
Frank Kollman
02/10/2012
How many times have you signed a contract that says the law of another state controls the agreement?  The idea is to apply the law of a state more favorable to the person drafting the contract.  It’s a lawyer’s trick that sometimes works. It did not work in the case of Ruiz v. Affinity Logistics Corp., No. 10-55581 (9th Cir., February 8, 2012).  The company in this case tried to get around California labor and employment law with its drivers...
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Oops – Teamster Found Liable to Members for Lost Wage Increases

Frank Kollman
Frank Kollman
02/07/2012
A federal court in Chicago has found a Teamsters Union local liable for wage increases its members “would have received” had the local requested bargaining.  Under the collective bargaining agreement, either the union or the employer could have requested a wage reopener by giving written notice to the other.  The union, who did not track the date for doing so, gave late notice.  The employer, within its right, said “no.”  Members sued the...
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Woman Offended by Gross Female Employee Can Sue for Harassment

Frank Kollman
Frank Kollman
02/06/2012
A federal court in Kentucky will permit a female employee to proceed with her hostile environment sexual harassment claim based on gross, sexual conduct by another female coworker.  Bradford v. Dep't of Community Based Services, No. 09-206 (E.D. Ky., February 2, 2012).  In the overwhelming majority of hostile environment cases, male employees are accused by female employees of engaging in the offensive behavior.  The court in Bradford merely...
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Court Finds Pre-School Required to Accommodate Parent’s Latex Allergy

Kollman & Saucier
Kollman & Saucier
02/03/2012
Lisa Meade was diagnosed with a latex allergy in 1998.  In 1999, she learned that the staff at her two year-old son’s preschool wore powdered latex gloves when changing the children’s diapers.  Meade spoke with the School Administrator about her allergy, and her concerns about the use of powdered latex gloves, which included potential airborne exposure, and secondary exposure, as latex particles may attach to the powder disbursed when the...
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Internal Complaint Sufficient to Trigger FLSA’s Anti-Retaliation Measure

Kollman & Saucier
Kollman & Saucier
02/01/2012
Section 215(a)(3) of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) makes it unlawful for a covered employer to "discharge or in any manner discriminate against any employee because such employee has filed any complaint or instituted or caused to be instituted any proceeding under or related to this chapter, or has testified or is about to testify in any such proceeding." In Minor v. Bostwick Laboratories, Inc., (4th Cir., No. 10-1258, 1/27/12), the U.S. Court...
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DOL Proposes Rulemaking on Servicemember FMLA and More

Darrell VanDeusen
Darrell VanDeusen
01/31/2012
On January 31, 2012, the Department of Labor (DOL) released proposed changes to the agency’s Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) regulations, which were published in the Federal Register on February 15.  This Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), a necessary precursor to any regulatory change, seeks comments from interested parties by April 16.  Comments may be submitted, identified by Regulatory Information Number (RIN) 1235–AA03, by...
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Mood Disorder Or Misconduct?

Kollman & Saucier
Kollman & Saucier
01/29/2012
In 2005, James Hazen was a partner in a New York law firm.  One of the perks of being a partner was a corporate credit card, which Hazen could use for personal reasons, so long as he paid for the charges.  In December 2005, the firm’s accounting department reported that Hazen failed to submit any itemization of personal charges for the fourth quarter.  Rather than give an explanation, Hazen stopped going to the office, claiming that he needed to...
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Social Media Remains A Big Ticket Item for the #NLRB

Kollman & Saucier
Kollman & Saucier
01/27/2012
In August 2011, the National Labor Relations Board’s Acting General Counsel had issued a report on employee use of social media and online communications, and under what circumstances such behavior can be protected concerted activity under the NLRA.  That report also set forth the NLRB’s position on permissive and over-reaching language in employer social media policies.  That report was based on an analysis of the cases that had been decided...
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