Employment Law News - U.S. Eleventh Circuit
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Earlier this year, we picked Lane v. Franks as our "SCOTUS sleeper" -- a case nobody was talking about, but one that was extremely important for whistleblowers and workers' speech rights. Edward Lane, the director of a state program for at-risk youth, noticed that a politician held a no-show gig at the local community college and fired her. He was subpoenaed to give testimony in her criminal trial.

Lane was then laid off. Fortunately for him, the Supreme Court came to his rescue somewhat, by holding that his speech was protected. Now that he's been vindicated in the eyes of the law, all that is left is to get his job back, assuming the courts even have the power to issue such an order.

But here's the punch line: The program Lane worked for doesn't even exist anymore.

Are Security Screenings Compensable Under the FLSA?

The U.S. Supreme Court has granted a petition to review whether workers at a Nevada warehouse may be entitled to compensation under the Fair Labor Standards Act for time spent going through security screenings while off the clock.

Though the case stems from the Ninth Circuit, the High Court's decision could impact the Eleventh Circuit, especially since the two circuits' rulings conflict with each other.

The Court recently denied pay for changing clothes before work. Is there a difference between pre-shift safety gear and post-shift security checks?

It's official! Well, Judge Robin Rosenbaum's Eleventh Circuit nomination is, at least. If past nominations are any indication, confirmation is no sure thing. That being said, Rosenbaum certainly seems like a savvy nomination by President Barack Obama.

And in unsurprising news, the Supreme Court denied certiorari in an unpublished case that we covered earlier, which means unpaid interns will have to wait a little longer for their day in front of the nation's high court.

Ah, the perils of collective bargaining.

In a truly impressive deal, Unite Here managed to bargain away the rights of workers of the Mardi Gras Casino before it actually represented them. How so?

Seeking to represent the rights of the workers, Unite Here entered into a deal with the management of Mardi Gras Gaming: they would pay for ads supporting gambling and the union would promise to forego its rights to picket, boycott, or otherwise put pressure on the business in exchange for an open invitation onto company property, no opposition to unionizing the company's workers, and the company would even provide the contact information for the employees.

A double bench-slapping? Yes, please.

Alabama State University recently found itself on the losing end of a racial and sexual harassment verdict, brought after three former employees alleged that they were subject to repeated harassment and usage of the words "n----" and "b----" by one of their supervisors.

The other supervisor reportedly sexually harassed at least one of the women, and threatened retaliation if the women participated in the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's investigation.

11th Cir Finds Sufficient Evidence of Minimum Wage Law Violation

The Eleventh Circuit disagreed when the district court entered a judgment ruling that the Menendez family did not willfully violate minimum wage laws, and found that there was sufficient evidence to support a finding.

Plaintiff Maria Davila was hired as a nanny for the Menendez family from 2004 until 2010 and alleged that the defendants violated federal and state minimum wage laws. The district court had granted a judgment as a matter of law against Davila and in favor of the Menendezes, claiming that Davila did not introduce sufficient evidence for a reasonable jury to find a willful violation of minimum wage laws.

Blocking All Suspicionless Drug Tests is Too Broad, Says 11th Cir

When the district court issued a sweeping injunction that promptly stopped an order to require 85,000 people to report to suspicionless drug testing, it was too broad, the Eleventh Circuit said last month.

In 2011, the Governor of Florida, Rick Scott, issued an executive order (EO) that required nearly 85,000 state employees submit to suspicionless drug testing. In turn, the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees Council 79 ("Union") sued Rick Scott in his official capacity in court to invalidate this EO -- both facially, and as an as-applied challenge (contending that it was unconstitutional). The district court then granted summary judgment in favor of the Union.

11th Cir: Coke Compliant With the ADA

Last month, the Eleventh Circuit affirmed the lower court's ruling that The Coca-Cola Company (Coke) was in compliance with a provision of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) and employee-employment policy when they placed the plaintiff employee Franklin Owusu-Ansah on a paid leave of absence and required that he undergo a psychiatric/psychological fitness-for-duty evaluation.

Franklin Owusu-Ansah was first employed by Coke in 1999 and consented to a request and recommendation that he take paid time off to undergo a fitness-for-duty evaluation. He then alleged that Coke was in violation of 42 U.S.C. 12112(d)(4)(A), a provision of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which reads:

They may be the Department of Labor, but they have no authority over H-2B labor. Temporary foreign workers are governed by the H-2A (agricultural) and H-2B (non-agricultural) programs. While both programs were originally administered by the Attorney General, the authority was later transferred to the Department of Homeland Security. In 1986, Congress split the agricultural workers into the separate H2-A program and granted the DOL rulemaking authority over those workers alone.

Simple enough, right? DHS governs H-2B, DOL governs H-2A.

Except, it apparently wasn’t that simple for the DOL, which issued rules for the H-2B program in 2011. The 11th Circuit today called that rule-making program ultra vires, which in the arena of administrative law, is fightin’ words.

This may seem obvious, but if you are receiving academic credit for an unpaid internship, you probably will not succeed in bringing a Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) claim. However, seeing as unpaid internships and externships are a hot topic right now, it’s worth perusing this unpublished Eleventh Circuit decision, Kaplan v. Code Blue Billing, Inc.

The ungrateful (kidding) student-intern plaintiffs were enrolled in MedVance Institute’s Medical Billing and Coding Specialist program. One of the graduation requirements was to complete externship work, which the plaintiff did with the multiple defendants.