9th Circuit Employment Law News - U.S. Ninth Circuit
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The Ninth Circuit has given the EEOC the go ahead to compel production of so-called "pedigree information" in employment investigations. Pedigree information includes things like an employee's name, Social Security number, address, and telephone number.

The ruling came after the EEOC investigated the McLane Company for gender discrimination after it refused to allow an employee to return to her job following maternity leave. The Commission sought extensive information on employees which McLane refused to provide but which, the Ninth Circuit has ruled, was appropriate and relevant to the investigation.

Uber Drivers Score Another Win in the 9th Cir.

Another win was secured for Uber drivers in O'Connor et al v. Uber Technologies Inc. as the Ninth Circuit denied the company's request to appeal the recent order approving the class certification in a lawsuit by drivers who wished to be categorized as employees.

The ruling means that drivers could potentially be relieved of gas and maintenance costs of their vehicles which they currently pay for themselves, according to Reuters. The final outcome of the Uber controversy will not only impact the business model of Uber, but other companies within the sharing economy as well.

9th Cir. Reverses Lower Court ADEA Age Discrimination Case

Last August, the Ninth Circuit reversed the lower district's summary judgment in favor of the Department of Homeland Security when a border patrol agent sued the branch of the agency alleging violations of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, better known as ADEA.

In the lawsuit, government employee John France alleged that he had been passed over for promotion to Assistant Chief Patrol Agent with a pay scale of GS-15 because he was the oldest candidate who applied. The Department of Homeland Security demurred and the Appellate Court finally reversed, ruling that the facts did not support summary judgment.

Seattle can continue with its minimum wage hike after the International Franchise Association lost its lawsuit challenging the ordinance. The IFA had sought to halt the wage increase, which went into effect this April, but the Ninth Circuit denied their request for a preliminary injunction last Friday.

The court rejected the IFA's claims that the wage increase "illegally discriminates against franchises." The law raises Seattle's minimum wage incrementally from $10 an hour to $15 over a period of years. Small businesses are given more time to meet the new requirements; franchises, like McDonald's and Pizza Hut, are not.

Right before it left for summer break, the Supreme Court granted cert to a case that will leave many teachers worried about their future. On the last day of its 2015 term, the Court agreed to review a constitutional challenge to state rules requiring some government workers to pay fees to unions they have not joined. The suit came from a group of non-union California school teachers who claimed the fees infringed upon their First Amendment rights.

According to the non-union teachers, they should not be forced to financially support a union they do not agree with. Labor advocates, the California Attorney General, and Supreme Court precedent, however, argue that the teachers benefit from organized labor and should therefore be required to pay their fair share for the benefit. It's likely that precedent won't stand much longer.

The Ninth Circuit has declined to rehear an ERISA case from 2014 which held that a lawsuit by employees of the biotech company Amgen can go forward. Those employees accuse Amgen of violating its fiduciary duties by including the company's own stock in retirement holdings when plan administrators should have known that stock was overvalued.

The decision is one of the first ERISA-related rulings since the Supreme Court unanimously rejected the presumption of prudence for Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) fiduciaries. The refusal to rehear it en banc has lead to a strongly worded disagreement between Judges Fletcher and Kozinski.

The Ninth Circuit has reversed a district court ruling granting summary judgment to Sears in a California disability law dispute. The district court had ruled that employee presented no triable claims because the evidence he offered was all self-serving.

Of course it was, the Ninth ruled when reversing. Self-serving evidence, consisting here of uncorroborated recollections, may not be of much weight to a trier of fact, but it cannot be rejected outright at the summary judgment stage.

If you're an ERISA lawyer or a history nerd, the Ninth Circuit has a case just for you.

Administrators of a California firefighters' pension plan breached their trust duty when they paid their own fees and expenses from the plan's assets, the Ninth Circuit ruled on Tuesday. That's some classic self-dealing, according to the court, and a breach of the administrators' fiduciary duty.

Customer service workers at car dealerships aren't exempt from the FLSA's overtime protections, the Ninth Circuit ruled on Tuesday. The court's unanimous holding revived a lawsuit seeking unpaid overtime brought by four "service advisers" at a Mercedes Benz dealership in California.

The Fair Labor Standards Act establishes minimum pay and overtime requirements, but exempts many workers, such as managers and commissioned sales employees. The Ninth Circuit's ruling that dealership customer service workers don't fall under one of the Act's exceptions stands in opposition to holdings by the Fourth and Fifth Circuits, creating a new FLSA circuit split.

Did Mass Murderers File a Motion in the Tech Anti-Poaching Suit?

It's Friday, which means my ability to take anything seriously is absolutely nearing it end. I'm running on fumes here.

Fortunately, eight federal inmates, including three infamous convicted murderers, have supposedly filed a handwritten motion to intervene in the Silicon Valley anti-poaching class action lawsuit. You know, the one where CEOs of major tech companies sent emails back-and-forth, agreeing not to poach each other's staff? The one that reached a settlement agreement for pennies, despite the smoking gun evidence?

The settlement is currently sitting on U.S. District Court Judge Lucy Koh's desk. Sitting next to it is this handwritten motion -- and in the trashcan nearby, there's another motion that was filed using a California attorney's stolen identity.

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