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Rhea Lana's Franchise Systems puts on semi-annual consignment sales of used toys, clothing, furniture, and the like. Staffed "principally by mothers and grandmothers," the sales are not much different from community fundraisers or garage sales -- except that Rhea Lana is a for-profit business that franchises its sales, but doesn't pay any of its salespeople.

Failing to pay its salespeople brought Rhea Lana to the attention of the Department of Labor, which sent the company a letter notifying it of its noncompliance and warning that penalties could be imposed for repeated or willful violations. Rhea Lana sought to challenge the DOL's determination that it was out of compliance -- and won the right to do just that in the D.C. Circuit last week. The ruling could greatly expand business's right to challenge DOL determinations before any enforcement action is taken.

U.S.'s Oldest Potato Chip Co. Violated NLRA, DC Cir. Rules

The oldest potato chip company in the United States violated Sec. 8(a)(5) of the NLRA, according to the Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit.

We hope this little procedural hiccup won't halt the production of Mike-Sell's potato chips. However, the future for the company hasn't looked this dim in a very long time.

Alternative Title: AT&T Can Ban Union 'Inmate' Shirt, D.C. Circuit Rules

It can be hard to organize workers and wage a successful grassroots labor campaign. Sometimes, theatrics are called for. That's what motivates carpenters to inflate giant rats outside non-union construction sites and museum workers to 'bomb' the Guggenheim with protest fliers. That might also be the impetus behind AT&T Connecticut employees donning shirts that said "Inmate" and "Prisoner of AT$T" when interacting with customers.

After AT&T banned the "Inmate" apparel, the NLRB ruled 2-1 that employees must be allowed to wear the protest shirts. Sadly, Connecticuters can no longer look forward to the spectacle of seeing an AT&T customer service representative fix their cable in a prison costume. "Common sense" requires the NLRB's decision to be overturned, the D.C. Circuit ruled today.

An AFL-CIO transit union cannot be held responsible for disparaging comments made by its members on Facebook, the D.C. Circuit has ruled. The case involved comments about picket line crossers made on the Union's private Facebook page during a strike.

The comments, which predictably called non-union workers scabs and rhetorically asked about Molotov cocktails, were not union-organized coercion which would violate the National Labor Relations Act, the Circuit held.

The past few weeks have been busy for cases originating in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. The Supreme Court of the United States granted certiorari in three cases, two of them related, and issued a decision today. The two related cases involve the interpretation of the Administrative Procedure Act, the third case granted cert. involves the delegation doctrine, while the High Court decision issued today interprets the Clean Air Act.

For details on these cases, read on.

D.C. Circuit Weighs In on "Blackfish" and SeaWorld's OSHA 'Tale'

The CNN-produced documentary "Blackfish," premiering at the Sundance Film Festival, is a whale of a tale landing SeaWorld in a sea of legal woes.

The film traces a 39-year history of killer whales in captivity leading up to the graphic 2010 killing of SeaWorld trainer Dawn Brancheau by the 12,000-pound orca, Tilikum, a whale previously associated with the deaths of two other people.

A cautionary tale, "Blackfish" highlights the captivity of orcas, the chilling danger it poses to whale trainers, and the wave of legal liability in which SeaWorld is now drowning.

Fed. Air Marshal Fired by TSA For Posting Sensitive Info Online

A Federal Air Marshal was terminated by the TSA after posting sensitive information on an online forum for law enforcement officers, but he claims he made the information up.

In Lacson v. U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security and TSA, Jose Lacson petitioned the D.C. Circuit to set aside the TSA's order which terminated him for leaking sensitive security information ("SSI") about Federal Air Marshall hiring numbers and assignments on the online forum Officer.com.

The case centered around jurisdiction and whether the evidence presented by the TSA was sufficient in light of claims that Lacson made the alleged SSI up.

Stupid or Just a Liar? NTSB Properly Denies Pilot for Omitting DUI

Though the NTSB may be getting a bum rap for the way it handled the Asiana Flight 214 investigation, it still knows when to slap down a pilot who is misbehaving.

In Taylor v. Huerta, the D.C. Circuit Court approved of the National Transportation and Safety Board (NTSB) doing just that, denying a petition to review a pilot's case where he lied or, at best recklessly omitted, a prior DUI arrest when applying for a medical certification.

The complaining pilot blamed the buttons on the application's online form, but the Taylor Court had some gripes of their own.

For Q-1 Visa, Employer Sponsors Must Pay Foreign Interns

Internship cases are all the rage right now. A three-member D.C. Circuit panel weighed in on an unpaid internship case this week involving Q-1 visas and International Internship Program, an organization that sponsors a cultural exchange program that helps people from Asian countries find jobs in American schools.

At its heart, it’s an unpaid internship case involving foreign citizens.

The case centers on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the way it governs cultural exchange programs and Q-1 visas.

Police Can 'Double Dip' By Receiving Pensions and Salary

Across the nation, from California to Texas to D.C., voters had complained that it was unfair to watch public employees "double dip" by collecting their pension in addition to a salary.

But a change came, with many states and the District of Columbia passing laws to prevent "second career" retirees like former police officers from being rehired while still collecting pension money, reports Washington City Paper.

The D.C. Circuit is now saying that these laws, which may reduce a rehired cop's salary to zero to offset his pension payments, must allow public employees to receive a salary.