Employment Law Decisions: Decided
Decided - The FindLaw Noteworthy Decisions and Settlements Blog

Recently in Employment Law Category

Chickie's & Pete's Settlements: $8.5M for Wage, Tip Violations

Chickie's & Pete's, a popular sports bar chain in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, has agreed to pay a total of $8.5 million to settle both a Labor Department investigation and a lawsuit brought by current and former employees alleging wage and labor law violations.

The Philadelphia-based chain is set to pay about $6.8 million in back wages and damages to more than 1,100 current and former workers to resolve the Labor Department probe, The Philadelphia Inquirer reports. The company will pay an additional $1.68 million to settle a separate lawsuit initiated by another 90 past and present employees.

The Labor Department had alleged that the sports bar underpaid its servers under federal law and illegally took a percentage of their tips.

Transgender Discrimination Settlement: $50K for Firing Worker

A South Dakota woman reached a landmark transgender discrimination settlement, keeping in step with a growing trend of cases that say transgender discrimination is applicable under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.

The $50,000 settlement is bringing transgender workers one step closer to federally recognized equal opportunity in the workplace.

Bank of America Settlement: $39M for Gender Bias

A Bank of America settlement agreement for unlawful gender bias is going to cost the bank one pretty penny: $39 million, to be exact. The settlement brings to a close a class action lawsuit brought by women who worked as financial advisers in the bank's Merrill Lynch brokerage division.

The plaintiffs claimed Merrill Lynch, which was purchased by Bank of America in 2009, discriminated against women in compensation and business opportunities, reports Reuters.

Club's Strippers Are Employees, Kan. Supreme Court Rules

One surprising legal question being asked across the country is: Are strippers employees or independent contractors? The Kansas Supreme Court has ruled that in one particular case, they are employees.

Exotic dancers at Club Orleans in Topeka, Kansas, fought for their right to be classified as employees, reports The Kansas City Star. The dispute dates back to 2005.

This classification is important to the strippers, as it can be the difference between receiving and not receiving certain benefits like unemployment insurance.

Obama Recess Appointments Ruling May Affect NLRB Decisions

President Barack Obama isn't the first chief executive to make recess appointments to government agencies like the National Labor Relations Board. But if last week's federal appeals court ruling stands, he may be the last.

In general, when the president wants to appoint people to vacant executive posts, he must present his nominees to the Senate for approval. But many presidents have bypassed that process, especially when a nominee faces stiff opposition, by appointing people while the Senate is in recess.

This had gone on for years, until a few of President Obama's recess appointments to the NLRB were challenged in court. A ruling by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals has thrown that process into question.

Taking Over an Ex-Employee's LinkedIn Account is Not Actionable

Employees whose LinkedIn accounts are hacked by previous employers have no recourse under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), according to a ruling last week.

Linda Eagle shared her password with a coworker at Edcomm so she could get help managing her LinkedIn account. When Eagle was fired the coworker changed the account's password and the company put a new name and photo on the account.

The judge's opinion isn't that taking over someone else's LinkedIn account isn't ever hacking. But in this case, Eagle doesn't have a real claim against her ex-employer.

Wisconsin's Anti-Union Laws Struck Down by State Court

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker worked hard to pass a law to significantly restricted unions' collective bargaining rights. A ruling by a Wisconsin judge on Friday has effectively undone all of that.

The law was the subject of national debate when it was passed over a year ago. It's been in effect for months and while Walker's popularity suffered for it, he survived a recall election in June. The law also survive a previous suit brought before the Wisconsin Supreme Court, according to Fox News.

This decision throws into doubt about where the law is still in effect. Unions are claiming victory but Walker isn't out of this fight yet.

Walmart Defeats Immigrant Janitors' False Imprisonment Appeal

Walmart wins a nine-year-old lawsuit brought by a class of janitors that claimed that the retailer engaged in immigration violations, unfair labor practices, and even falsely imprisoned its workers.

The janitors worked for a variety of contractors that provided janitorial services to Walmart. They accuse Walmart of trying to clean its stores "on the cheap" by hiring illegal immigrants that would be more willing to put up with unfair working conditions and lower pay, reports Reuters. In addition, to keep federal authorities from finding the immigrants, the janitors claim that they were locked up overnight in Walmart stores.

A panel of the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia upheld rulings by a lower court and found that the janitors could not sue as a class. They also rejected the illegal work condition and false imprisonment claims.

Buffalo Fire Dept. Test Didn't Discriminate, 2nd Cir. Rules

Fire departments have found themselves the target of several high profile race discrimination lawsuits based on their employment exams. And courts have been all over the map with their rulings.

Most recently, the 2nd U.S. District Court of Appeals upheld the City of Buffalo's employment exam finding that while there was a disparate impact against black firefighters, the test was not discriminatory.

A group representing black firefighters had sued claiming that the test was discriminatory as only 43 percent of black firefighters passed the exam, as compared to 76 percent of their white counterparts, reports Reuters.

Supreme Court Tells Drug Representatives: No Overtime Pay

The Supreme Court ruled drug representatives are not entitled to overtime pay in its decision on Monday.

Two ex-GlaxoSmithKline employees sued their former employer for OT. GSK and other pharmaceutical companies have historically treated drug representatives as outside salespeople exempt from overtime pay. That classification was challenged by the plaintiffs but the Supreme Court ruled in favor of pharmaceutical companies.

The 5-4 decision will have a significant impact on existing lawsuits against the pharmaceutical industry.