4th Circuit Employment Law News - U.S. Fourth Circuit
U.S. Fourth Circuit - The FindLaw 4th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries Blog

Recently in Employment Law Category

Muslim Woman's Discrimination Suit Revived

The wrongful termination suit by an Arab-American Muslim woman of Moroccan descent was largely reversed by the Fourth Circuit recently, meaning that a jury will hear the discrimination allegations she brought against her former employer.

It was a whopper of an opinion that discussed the limitations that lower federal courts ought to observe concerning summary adjudication.

4th Cir.'s Decision Will Allow W. Virginia Nurses to Unionize

Registered nurses employed by West Virginia’s Greenbrier Valley Medical Center and Bluefield Regional Medical Center will be allowed to unionize after suit against their employers, according to the Charleston Gazette-Mail.

The decision will allow the National Nurses Organizing Committee (NNOC) to move forward on the nurses behalf.

Casino dealers can sue their employer for unpaid, mandatory dealer training, the Fourth Circuit ruled on Monday. The ruling revives a class action against PPE Casino Resorts Maryland, the owner of Maryland Live!, a $500 million casino complex in Hanover, Maryland.

Maryland Live! opened for business in 2012, after the state legalized gambling. A year later, when Maryland began to allow table games like blackjack and poker, the casino started a major expansion. To staff its table games, it sought to hire 830 new dealers, and those dealers would have to undergo several weeks of mandatory dealer training, almost all of it unpaid. But if not paying for training was a gamble, it's one that doesn't seem to have paid off.

"Drop and give me 14 push-ups! Or 30, if you're a dude." That, in essence, is the gender-based difference in the Federal Bureau of Investigation's physical fitness exam for special agent trainees. Men must be able to complete 30 push-ups to pass the physical exam; women are required to hit just 14.

And that's perfectly fine, the Fourth Circuit ruled on Monday, after a male trainee who was just one push-up short of 30 sued, arguing the test illegally discriminated on the basis of sex.

GEICO Investigators Get Overtime, 4th Circuit Rules

The federal Appeals Court of the Fourth Circuit found for several GEICO employees in an FLSA suit. The court ruled that the insurance company fell short of proving that the plaintiffs were an exempted class of worker for purposes of overtime pay.

The repeated use of a racial slur in an isolated incident can create a hostile work environment, the Fourth Circuit ruled en banc earlier this month. While the Supreme Court has repeatedly held that outlying incidents of discriminatory language or actions often do not create an hostile work environment under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act; at the same time, the Court has emphasized that some instances, when sufficiently severe, can alone create such a violation.

The Fourth Circuit is one of the first courts of appeals to find that a single incidents of racially discriminatory language can create be sufficient enough to violate the Civil Rights Act. Further, the court found that employees who report those isolated incidents of harassment are protected from retaliation.

4th Cir.: Trafficked Domestic Worker's Lawsuit Not Time-Barred

When Cristina Cruz left the Philippines to come to the United States, she thought she was getting a great opportunity. A friend told her that she could work for Nilda Maypa, a World Bank employee. So Cruz got the job and came to the United States. Her employment contract seemed solid: $6.50 an hour, 35 to 40 hours a week, plus medical insurance.

What she got was entirely different. Maypa paid her $250 a month -- that's a little over $8 a day -- required her to work 17 to 18 hours a day, seven days a week, cook, clean, take care of the kids, clean the pool, mow the lawn ... and on and on.

4 From the 4th: SCOTUS Grants Include Pregnancy, Teeth Whitening

Our "SCOTUS Week" coverage continues with the Fourth Circuit, where the Court has granted certiorari in four cases, with a massive amount of petitions still pending, according to CertPool's tracker. And while some of those pending petitions are likely grants and will be among the most heavily watched of the Court's cases (we're thinking King v. Burwell, the Obamacare subsidies case specifically), today we're looking at the birds in hand, not the ones in the bush.

What've we got? How about a bank robber, alleged fraud on the government, pregnancy discrimination, and a state-sanctioned monopoly on teeth whitening.

Roundup: Prison Contraband, Pregnancy Case, W.Va. Gay Marriage

Happy Friday! We know, you're not in the mood to read dense case law right now -- you want something lighter. In fact, you're reading this blog for just that purpose.

We've got your back. Here are three quick, local updates from Fourth Circuit cases, including oral arguments in a prison contraband smuggling sentence appeal, an interesting note on amici in the Supreme Court's UPS pregnancy discrimination case (originally out of the Fourth Circuit), and a federal judge in West Virginia's decision to stay out of the gay marriage controversy until the Supreme Court steps in.

En Banc Denied in Family Dollar; SCOTUS-Ignoring Opinion Stands

This case is now doubly-interesting, and a possible candidate for Supreme Court review.

Way back in 2008, a putative class of female store managers sued Family Dollar Stores, Inc., a chain of discount retail stores, alleging that they were paid less than their male counterparts, in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e, and Section 216(b) of the Equal Pay Act of 1963, 29 U.S.C. § 206(d).

Last week, the Fourth Circuit denied a request for en banc rehearing of the case, leaving an opinion in place that many are arguing goes against controlling Supreme Court precedent. Judge Wilkinson, who wrote a 40-page dissent to the panel's opinion, dissented from the denial as well, calling the panel's decision, "so contrary to the [Supreme] Court's Wal-Mart decision as to whittle it down to near meaninglessness."