Articles Posted in Labor & Employment Law

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The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal for lack of subject matter jurisdiction an action brought under the Labor Management Relations Act (LMRA), alleging that a union engaged in intentional and negligent misrepresentation to induce it to enter into a collective bargaining agreement. The panel held that section 301(a) of the LMRA grants jurisdiction only for suits that claim a violation of a collective bargaining agreement (CBA), which the employer in this case, Nu Image, did not do. The panel concluded that the holding in Rozay's Transfer v. Local Freight Drivers, Local 208, Int'l Bhd. of Teamsters, Chauffeurs, Warehousemen & Helpers of Am., 850 F.2d 1321 (9th Cir. 1988), that an employer can sue under section 301(a) for declaratory relief to void a provision of a CBA without alleging a contract violation, could not stand following Textron Lycoming Reciprocating Engine Div., Avco Corp. v. United Auto., Aerospace, & Agric. Implement Workers of Am., 523 U.S. 653 (1998). View "Nu Image, Inc. v. International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees" on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's order affirming an arbitration award for the union. ASARCO argued that the award was invalid because the arbitrator reformed the Basic Labor Agreement (BLA) between the union and ASARCO in contravention of a no-add provision in that agreement. The district court affirmed the award, holding that ASARCO properly preserved its objection to the arbitrator's jurisdiction, but the arbitrator was authorized to reform the BLA, despite the no-add provision, based on a finding of mutual mistake. The panel affirmed, holding that the arbitrator was acting within his authority when he crafted a remedy to cure the parties' mutual mistake. Even if ASARCO did not waive its right to contest the arbitrator's jurisdiction, which it did, the panel deferred to the arbitrator's judgment. View "ASARCO, LLC v. United Steel, Paper and Forestry" on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment for defendants in an action alleging employment discrimination claims. The panel held that plaintiff, a teacher, failed to establish a prima facia case of disparate treatment based on her sex and race under Title VII because she did not show that she was subject to an adverse employment action or that similarly situated individuals outside her protected class were treated more favorably; plaintiff's hostile work environment claim failed because the few isolated and relatively mild comments that plaintiff alleged were not sufficient to show a severe and pervasive environment that altered the terms or conditions of her employment; plaintiff's retaliation claim failed because plaintiff did not establish that defendants' asserted rationale for its actions was mere pretext; and plaintiff's Title IX claims for intentional discrimination failed for essentially the same reasons that her Title VII claims failed. View "Campbell v. Hawaii Department of Education" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs filed suit challenging Ordinance 124968, which permits independent-contractor drivers, represented by an entity denominated an "exclusive driver representative," and driver coordinators to agree on the "nature and amount of payments to be made by, or withheld from, the driver coordinator to or by the drivers." The Ninth Circuit reversed the district court's dismissal of the Chamber's federal antitrust claims because the ordinance sanctions price-fixing of ride-referral service fees by private cartels of independent-contractor drivers. The panel held that the State-action immunity doctrine did not exempt the ordinance from preemption by the Sherman Act because the State of Washington had not clearly articulated and affirmatively expressed a state policy authorizing private parties to price-fix the fees that for-hire drivers pay to companies like Uber or Lyft in exchange for ride-referral services. Furthermore, the active-supervision requirement for state-action immunity applied, and was not met. The panel affirmed the district court's dismissal of the Chamber's National Labor Relations Act preemption claims. View "U.S. Chamber of Commerce of the United States v. Seattle" on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit certified the following questions of state law to the Supreme Court of California: (1) Wage Order 9 exempts from its wage statement requirements an employee who has entered into a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) in accordance with the Railway Labor Act (RLA). Does the RLA exemption in Wage Order 9 bar a wage statement claim brought under California Labor Code 226 by an employee who is covered by a CBA? (2) Does California Labor Code 226 apply to wage statements provided by an out-of-state employer to an employee who resides in California, receives pay in California, and pays California income tax on her wages, but who does not work principally in California or any other state? View "Ward v. United Airlines, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit certified the following questions of state law to the Supreme Court of California: (1) Do California Labor Code 204 and 226 apply to wage payments and wage statements provided by an out-of-state employer to an employee who, in the relevant pay period, works in California only episodically and for less than a day at a time? (2) Does California minimum wage law apply to all work performed in California for an out-of-state employer by an employee who works in California only episodically and for less than a day at a time? (3) Does the Armenta/Gonzalez bar on averaging wages apply to a pay formula that generally awards credit for all hours on duty, but which, in certain situations resulting in higher pay, does not award credit for all hours on duty? View "Oman v. Delta Airlines, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit reversed the district court's denial of class certification in a putative class action alleging employment claims against Corona Medical Center and UHS of Delaware. Plaintiffs moved for certification of seven classes of Registered Nurses, alleging that they were underpaid by Corona. The panel held that the district court's typicality determination was premised on an error of law; Plaintiff Spriggs was not an adequate class representative, but Plaintiff Sali remained as an adequate representative plaintiff; the district court abused its discretion by concluding that attorneys from Bisnar Chase could not serve as adequate class counsel; and the district court erred by denying certification of the proposed rounding-time and wage-statement classes on the basis that they failed Rule 23(b)(3)'s predominance requirement. Accordingly, the panel remanded for further proceedings. View "Sali v. Corona Regional Medical Center" on Justia Law

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The 90-day period referenced in 42 U.S.C. 2000e-5(f)(1) begins when the aggrieved person is given notice of the right to sue by the EEOC. Plaintiff filed suit against her former employer, GME, ultimately alleging claims under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The Ninth Circuit held that plaintiff's Title VII claims may be based on alleged acts occurring after she filed her first administrative charge only to the extent such acts are part of a single unlawful employment practice. In this case plaintiff's claims based on her first administrative charge were timely, but claims based on a second administrative charge were untimely. The panel explained that plaintiff could base her Title VII claims on GME's alleged acts occurring after she filed her first administrative charge to the extent she could show such acts were part of a single hostile work environment claim. The panel affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment only as to claims based on discrete discriminatory or retaliatory acts occurring after plaintiff filed her first administrative charge. The panel otherwise reversed and remanded. View "Scott v. Gino Morena Enterprises, LLC" on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit granted the Board's petition for enforcement and denied Casino Pauma's petition for review. The panel upheld the Board's conclusion that it may apply the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) to the relationship between employees working in commercial gaming establishments on tribal lands and the tribal governments that own and manage the establishments, and that Casino Pauma committed unfair labor practices in violation of the NLRA by trying to stop union literature distribution. The panel also held that the Board permissibly applied the rule regarding employee solicitation established in Republic Aviation Corp. v. NLRB, 324 U.S. 793, 798 (1945), to customer-directed union literature distribution. In this case, the Board's conclusion that Casino Pauma violated its employees' NLRA right to distribute union literature was adequately supported, both by the applicable legal principles and the record. View "Casino Pauma v. NLRB" on Justia Law

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The question before the Ninth Circuit was "simple:" could an employer justify a wage differential between male and female employees by relying on prior salary? Based on the text, history, and purpose of the Equal Pay Act, the Court determined the answer was clearly "no." Prior to the Court's decision here, the law was unclear whether an employer could consider prior salary, either alone or in combination with other factors, when setting its employees’ salaries. The Ninth Circuit took this case en banc in order to clarify the law, and held prior salary alone or in combination with other factors could not justify a wage differential. "To hold otherwise - to allow employers to capitalize on the persistence of the wage gap and perpetuate that gap ad infinitum - would be contrary to the text and history of the Equal Pay Act, and would vitiate the very purpose for which the Act stands." The Fresno County Office of Education (“the County”) did not dispute that it paid Aileen Rizo (“Rizo”) less than comparable male employees for the same work. However, it argued this wage differential was lawful under the Equal Pay Act. The County contended that the wage differential was based on a fourth, "catchall exception: a 'factor other than sex.'” The Ninth Circuit surmised this would allow the County to defend a sex-based salary differential on the basis of the very sex-based salary differentials the Equal Pay Act was designed to cure. Because the Court concluded that prior salary did not constitute a “factor other than sex,” the County failed as a matter of law to set forth an affirmative defense. The Court affirmed the district court’s denial of summary judgment to the County and remanded for further proceedings. View "Rizo v. Yovino" on Justia Law