Employment Law News - U.S. Eighth Circuit
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Iowa Nurses Won't Get Raises Under CBA

In what has been described by some lawyers as shocking and troubling, the Eighth Circuit has ruled that an Iowa hospital was not incorrect in freezing nurses' raises after their collective bargaining agreement expired.

If the ruling remains on the books, it stands to fundamentally change the tenor and validity of CBAs around the country -- especially those within middle America.

A whistleblowing employee is not protected from retaliation under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act if a reasonable person, in his position and with his same training and experience, would not have believed there was a securities violation to report, the Eighth Circuit ruled this week. The ruling makes the Eighth Circuit the fourth federal appellate court to endorse the so-called Sylvester standard, first adopted by the Department of Labor's Administrative Review Board in 2012.

The ruling came as the Eighth Circuit rejected the claims of Vincent Beacom, a former vice president of sales at Oracle's Retail Global Business Unit. Beacom had complained about a change in revenue projection procedures which he felt mislead Oracle's shareholders. RGBU's revenues made up less than one fifth of one percent of Oracle's revenue at the time.

An employer did not violate the Americans With Disabilities Act when it rescinded an offer to an overweight candidate, the Eighth Circuit ruled last month. In doing so, the court rejected a claim that obesity is a disability and that the obese are protected against discrimination under the ADA -- as long as that obesity isn't linked to or caused by another medical condition.

Litigation over obesity is becoming more common as American's waistlines expand. But, with decisions like the Eighth Circuit's, those claiming anti-obese discrimination aren't likely to see much luck in federal courts.

8th Circuit Rules for Employees in Jimmy John's NLRA Case

The Eighth Circuit just upheld another NLRA ruling for workers who protested their employer's employment acts or policies. It looks like the end of the sandwich case that has ruffled a few feathers.

Increasingly, it appears that the NLRA has a lot of teeth, further frothing up the controversial debate as to what kind of legal protections employees enjoy when they actively publish negative publicity about their employers.

8th Circuit Rules on Another NLRB Employee vs. Contractor Case

Few government agencies make lawyers groan more than the National Labor Relations Board, with possible exception of the IRS. This month, the Eighth Circuit decided to deny a security company's petition for review of an NRLB order against it and grant the agency's enforcement of its slap-down.

8th Cir. Refuses to Vacate Denial of Disability Benefits to Low IQ Woman

The Eighth Circuit affirmed the findings of the a lower district court: a woman with a tested IQ of only 57.

In the opinion of the court, Karen Ash did not qualify for social security benefits because she was still able to live a relatively average life, thus allowing the district court to affirm the ruling "substantially on the record."

White Officer Sues Alleging Racism and Wins

The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed all lower court rulings in favor of a white officer who sued on theories of racial discrimination.

The officer successfully showed (or the police academy failed to disprove) that a reasonable theory existed as to why he was passed over for promotion in favor of a non-white candidate.

Caregivers who provide companionship services to disabled patients living in the caregiver's home are not entitled to overtime pay, the Eighth Circuit ruled on Tuesday. The case arose after workers for United Cerebral Palsy of Central Arkansas sued, arguing that keeping patients in the workers' homes "requires additional worktime that should be compensated as overtime."

The Eighth Circuit disagreed, finding that such work constituted providing companionship services in a "private home" and was thus exempt from overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

FMLA Plaintiff Fails to Convince 8th Cir. of a Violation

The Eighth Circuit's Court of Appeals affirmed a lower court ruling against Hasenwinkel, a registered nurse who sued her former employer on claimed violations of the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

In affirming the lower court's decision, the circuit court found that not only did Hasenwinkel's employer comply with federal law, but that it gave her three times more time than was required under the FMLA.

Home Health Providers Can Form Unions, 8th Circuit Rules

The Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit declined to overturn a lower district court's ruling that several thousand home care workers who assist the elderly and disabled had the right to form a union.

The decision is most likely going to add to already tense relations between home care workers and fully recognized employees who work for the public, the latter of whom arguing that the change will force some to pay union dues for a union they have no desire to join.