Articles Posted in Labor & Employment Law

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In this civil rights action brought of a Town of Hull police officer, the First Circuit affirmed the dismissal of Plaintiff’s 42 U.S.C. 1983 claim, affirmed the district court’s holding that Plaintiff’s Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 149, 185(b)(3) claim was waived, and vacated the entry of summary judgment as to Plaintiff’s state claim under Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 149, 185(b)(1) and directed the district court to dismiss this claim without prejudice. When Plaintiff, a decade-long veteran of the police department, was passed over for a promotion, he brought suit alleging that the Town of Hull and its then chief of police alleging that Defendants intentionally let his application lapse and did not promote him, in retaliation for exposing the police chief’s professional misconduct. The district court granted summary judgment for the Town. The First Circuit largely affirmed, holding (1) the district court correctly held that Plaintiff failed to raise a genuine dispute as to whether the Town’s Board of Selectmen ratified the alleged retaliation; (2) Plaintiff waived his section 185(b)(3) claim; and (3) the court declines to exercise jurisdiction over Plaintiff’s remaining state law claim based on section 185(b)(1) of the Massachusetts Whistleblower Act. View "Saunders v. Town of Hull" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit denied Hospital San Cristobal’s petition for review of an order of the National Labor Relations Board (Board) declaring that the Hospital had committed several unfair labor practices in violation of section 8 of the National Labor Relations Act and granted the Board’s cross-petition for enforcement of that order. The court held (1) this court lacked jurisdiction to consider the Hospital’s challenge to the validity of the underlying unfair labor practice complaints; (2) substantial evidence in the record supported the Board’s determination that the Hospital violated sections 8(a)(1) and 8(a)(5) of the Act; and (3) the Hospital’s challenge to the Board’s remedy was not properly before the court. View "Quality Health Services of P.R., Inc. v. National Labor Relations Board" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit affirmed the district court’s grant of summary judgment to Defendant on Plaintiff’s complaint brought under Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 149, 148B for employee misclassification. A Georgia state court concluded that Plaintiff was an employee of Defendant under Massachusetts law. The Georgia court of appeals reversed, concluding that Plaintiff was not an employee of Defendant for purposes of Section 148B. At the same time the case was making its way through the Georgia state-court system, a separate Massachusetts case was being litigated in the federal district court involving the same facts and the same parties. Ultimately, the district court judge granted preclusive effect to the Georgia decision and granted summary judgment for Defendant as to the Section 148B claim. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that the federal courts were bound by the Georgia court judgment under the doctrine of res judicata. View "Depianti v. Jan-Pro Franchising International, Inc." on Justia Law

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The First Circuit affirmed the district court’s dismissal of Plaintiffs’ third amended complaint in this federal-sector employment discrimination case in which Plaintiffs invoked “extravagant” theories of liability. Specifically, Plaintiffs alleged deprivations of their First, Fourth, Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment rights and sought damages under the Bivens doctrine, see Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of FBN, 403 U.S. 388, 389 (1971). The complaint also proffered claims under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). The district court dismissed the complaint and entered judgment in Defendants’ favor, ruling that Plaintiffs could not dodge the preclusive effect of the Civil Service Reform Act (CSRA) and Title VII by “creatively” pleading causes of action. The First Circuit agreed with the district court, holding that Plaintiffs’ theories ran “headlong into an impenetrable barrier” forged by the CSRA and Title VII. View "Gonzalez v. Otero" on Justia Law

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In this complaint by a former employee alleging violations of the American Disabilities Act (ADA) there was no error in the district court’s jury instructions. Plaintiff filed a complaint against his former employer alleging that his termination violated the ADA. Plaintiff was fired from his job in the Town of Brookline’s Department of Public Works for unjustified absences from work and failing to provide adequate documentation for his use of sick leave. In his complaint, Plaintiff alleged that he had been suffering from sleep apnea and that the Town violated the ADA by discriminating against him on the basis of his sleep apnea disability, denying him a reasonable accommodation, and failing to engage in an interactive dialogue as required under the ADA. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that, contrary to Plaintiff’s contentions, the district court did not err in its instructions to the jury. View "McDonald v. Town of Brookline, Massachusetts" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit against the Secretary of Defense alleging discrimination on the basis of sex in violation of Title VII, 42 U.S.C. 2000e-2000e-17 based on his unsuccessful application for two teaching positions at an elementary school run by the Department of Defense. The district court granted summary judgment for Defendant. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that Plaintiff failed to offer any evidence establishing a genuine issue of material fact regarding whether Defendant’s proffered reason for not hiring Plaintiff was pretextual, and therefore, Plaintiff could not succeed in his challenge to the district court’s ruling dismissing his claim on summary judgment. View "Cruz v. Mattis" on Justia Law

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This appeals arose from a dispute over whether application of the Massachusetts Earned Sick Time Law (MESTL), 2014 Mass. Legit. Serv. ch. 505 (West), to interstate rail carriers that employ workers in Massachusetts is preempted by the Railroad Unemployment Insurance Act (RUIA), 45 U.S.C. 351-369. The First Circuit affirmed in part and vacated in part the judgment of the district court, holding that the RUIA, preempts some parts of the MESTL as applied to employees of interstate rail carriers. However, this case must be remanded to determine whether other parts of the MESTL that are not within the preemptive reach of the RUIA and are not otherwise preempted by other federal law might still be applied to interstate rail carriers. View "CSX Transportation, Inc. v. Healey" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit declined enforcement of the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) order requiring 1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers East (the Union) and Good Samaritan Medical Center to reinstate Camille Legley with back pay and rescind a workplace civility policy, holding that there was not substantial evidence on the record as a whole that Legley was discharged because of his protected conduct. Legley, a probationary employee hired by Good Samaritan, questioned a union delegate’s alleged remark during an orientation training that he had to join the Union in order to work at Good Samaritan. Good Samaritan terminated Legley’s employment the following day, claiming that Legley’s conduct had violated its civility policy. The NLRB found that the Union caused Good Samaritan to discharge Legally because of his protected conduct. In denying enforcement of the NLRB’s order the First Circuit held that the NLRB’s decision ignored a portion of the record and could not survive review under the substantial evidence standard. View "Good Samaritan Medical Center v. National Labor Relations Board" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit affirmed the district court’s rejection of Appellant’s claims that she, among other things, suffered discrimination in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and its Massachusetts state-law corollary when Defendants failed to accommodate her request for transfer to another position in the Plymouth Police Department after she suffered an on-the-job injury. The district court concluded that Appellant failed to raise a genuine issues of material fact regarding her discrimination claims. The First Circuit affirmed, holding (1) the district court correctly entered summary judgment on Appellant’s handicap discrimination claims and gender discrimination claim; and (2) even if the court were able to glean an ADA retaliation claim from Appellant’s complaint, Appellant waived it during summary judgment proceedings. View "Audette v. Town of Plymouth, Mass." on Justia Law

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A plaintiff may not bring claims for damages under 42 U.S.C. 1981 against state actors, including defendants sued in their official capacities as government officials. The First Circuit affirmed the district court’s dismissal of Plaintiff's section 1981 claims against employees of the City of Boston. Plaintiff, who represented the estate of her late father, challenged her father’s termination from his employment with the Department of Public Works. The district court dismissed the section 1981 claims, concluding that section 1981 provides no implied private right of action for damages against state actors. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that Jett v. Dallas Independent School District compelled the result reached by the district court. View "Buntin v. City of Boston" on Justia Law