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8th Cir. Clarifies 401(k) Float Income Ownership, Fiduciary Duties

The Eighth Circuit recently issued a decision in a 401(k) fiduciary lawsuit that is raising questions about "float income" -- interest earned from plan assets.

At issue is the handling of funds that flow into and out of 401(k) plans and the question of who profits from the float income generated while the money is held by a service provider -- in this case, Fidelity Investments -- before its investment or before it is it cashed by participants.

If you're in the retirement plan industry, you might want to take a look at the court's decision in Ronald C. Tussey v. ABB Inc.

Can Employer Tell Breastfeeding Mom 'Go Home to Your Babies'?

Employment discrimination with respect to breastfeeding at work is garnering attention in courts across the nation. The Eighth Circuit recently tackled the issue in the context of constructive discharge.

The court affirmed a district court's grant of summary judgment to an employer embroiled in a pregnancy and sex discrimination case for compelling a breastfeeding's worker's resignation.

Fremont Votes to Ban Hiring, Renting to Undocumented Immigrants

The town of Fremont, Nebraska voted to uphold an ordinance prohibiting employers and landlords from hiring or renting to undocumented immigrants.

The measure, approved in 2010, survived a constitutional challenge before the Eighth Circuit.

Despite staving off a slew of legal challenges and passing yet again by popular vote, the ban may not be free from legal scrutiny just yet.

In Workplace Claims Against Many Supervisors, Focus on Individuals

A jury will determine whether five African American prison guards endured a hostile work environment, an Eighth Circuit panel ruled.

The appeals court ruled that the lower court erroneously granted summary judgment to all of the defendants. The appeals panel affirmed most of the dismissals, but reinstated claims against three of the supervisors, demonstrating how crucial it is to differentiate between supervisors.

The takeaway: even in employment settings conducive to mob mentalities (such as prisons and law enforcement), always present evidence of individual acts of discriminatory behavior.

8th Cir. Clarifies Sec. 1983 Race Discrimination and Retaliation Law

The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals recently preserved a high-profile employment discrimination case against the Arkansas State Capitol Police Chief Darrell Hedden over an African American officer's firing.

The case sheds light on qualified immunity from Section 1983 racial discrimination and retaliation claims.

8th Cir. Temporarily Blocks Minn. Child-Care Provider Union Law

The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals has granted an injunction to temporarily block a Minnesota law authorizing child-care providers to unionize.

The decision is a victory for the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, which is representing Minnesota providers who oppose unionization.

But the decision hasn't seemed to faze proponents of the law, who are chalking up the injunction to a "temporary roadblock," reports the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

Is Transgender Discrimination Covered by Title VII?

Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, an employer cannot discriminate against -- or refuse to hire -- an individual based on his or her sex. That includes a prohibition against gender stereotyping.

Recently, a South Dakota woman's transgender discrimination settlement joined a growing trend of cases that say transgender discrimination is applicable to Title VII.

But does the settlement jibe with the Eighth Circuit's precedent?

University of Iowa's Firing Affirmed By Iowa Supreme Court

The Iowa Supreme Court ruled Friday the University of Iowa was justified in firing its longtime dean of students for mishandling a high-profile 2007 student sexual assault case.

In a 7-0 decision, the court affirmed the district court's 2012 dismissal of Phillip Jones' claims that he was defamed and wrongfully terminated by UI President Sally Mason. The court's decision is a reminder for practitioners to advise their clients to be proactive in sexual abuse and harassment investigations.

Minn. Supreme Court Sides With Servers in Dine-and-Dash Lawsuit

In a major class action dine and dash lawsuit, the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled that servers cannot be required to cover losses from dine-and-dash customers without consent. Ruling in favor of the 750 server and bartender plaintiffs, the court remanded the case back to the district court to determine how much the employer, Uptown Drink, will have to fork over in damages.

Attorneys with clients in the food industry should pay heed to the opinion in Karl, et al. v. Uptown Drink, LLC, which fleshes out the contours of Minnesota's law on wage deductions to cover lost revenue.

Postnup Does Not Waive Spousal Rights to 401(k), 8th Cir. Says

When you sign a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement in which you agree not to be the beneficiary of a 401(k) retirement plan, does that extinguish your spousal rights to it?

To the surprise of divorced couples and family law attorneys alike, the Eighth Circuit has ruled that no, it does not extinguish your rights. You still may have a right to the 401(k).

In its decision, the appeals court ruled that a postnuptial agreement in which each party expressed "irrevocable consent" to a change of beneficiary of the other's retirement plan did not constitute a waiver of the spousal right to benefit from such plans.