In the News
Wal-Mart Wins Request in Bias Case
Wal-Mart Stores won its request for a review of a court ruling that allowed as many as 2 million current and former female workers to proceed with the biggest sex-discrimination case in the nation's history. A federal appeals court in San Francisco yesterday granted Wal-Mart's request to rehear the case. In December 2007, a three-judge panel upheld a lower-court ruling granting class-action, or group, status to the women. Wal-Mart sought a rehearing before a larger panel of judges. Read the full story.
Tyco Pensioners Granted Class Action
People employed by Tyco International Ltd. when it was run by corrupt executives have won class action status for their lawsuit charging deception by the conglomerate's retirement savings plan. The employees claim Tyco hid the true value of the company when offering its stock as an investment option in the plan and knew the stock was a bad investment. Read the full story.
Labor department sues mortgage broker over back pay
The U.S. Department of Labor has filed a lawsuit against a mortgage broker with [Florida] operations, alleging the company owes at least 200 loan officers more than $239,000 in back pay. Ohio-based Alliance Mortgage Group Inc. and Credit Financial Services did not pay its overtime-eligible loan officers properly, providing only a monthly commission and in some cases wages that were lower than the federal minimum wage, the department's Wage and Hour division said in a statement. Read the full story.
Costco Ignored Sex Bias Warnings, Employees Say
Costco Wholesale Corp. ignored internal warnings that female workers couldn't get promoted, and Chief Executive Jim Sinegal opposed recommendations to post notices for all management positions, employees suing the company claim. Read the full story.
Court Rules Target Must Make Website Accessible to the Blind
A federal district court judge ruled that a retailer may be sued if its website is inaccessible to the blind. The ruling was issued in a case brought by the National Federation of the Blind against Target Corp. The Court denied Target's motion to dismiss and held that the federal and state civil rights laws do apply to a website such as target.com. Read the full story.
Company Settles Katrina Workers' Suit
A construction company specializing in disaster recovery settled a lawsuit with migrant workers who were denied overtime even though they often worked long hours cleaning up wreckage left by Hurricane Katrina. Under the settlement entered in U.S. District Court, roughly 2,000 workers are eligible to apply for missed overtime payments, said Jennifer Rosenbaum, an attorney for the Southern Poverty Law Center. Read the full story.
Justice Department Lawyers Lose Appeal on Overtime Pay
There's no dispute that Justice Department lawyers worked overtime and on holidays, and there's evidence the lawyers were "expected and induced" to work extra hours. But that's not enough to win back pay, a federal court ruled yesterday. Read the full story.
Rite Aid's Job Surveys Defeat Its Anti-Class Arguments
When Senior U.S. District Judge Thelton Henderson handed down a key ruling in an employment suit against Rite Aid last week, his decision to certify a class of more than 1,000 store managers wasn't necessarily the most troubling part for the defense bar. There also was the fact that much of the evidence to support his decision came paid for and delivered by Rite Aid itself. Read the full story.
End Open-Ended Litigation
The Patagonian toothfish sold much better once a marketing association renamed it Chilean sea bass, though most such fish are neither Chilean nor bass. The Association of Trial Lawyers of America, which acquired a bad reputation over the years, is apparently seeking a similar rebirth by renaming itself the American Association for Justice. Read the full story.
FedEx Drivers? Privacy Shielded in Class-action Suit
Delivering a small victory to FedEx workers in a sprawling class-action lawsuit, a court has struck down the company's request that the plaintiffs turn over their tax records in order to pursue their claims of labor-law violations. Read the full story.
Man Sues Labor Ready Over Fees to Collect Pay
An Elmira man is suing Labor Ready Inc. accusing the Washington state-based manual labor temporary employment service with illegally charging its clients a nominal fee for opting to receive their earnings in cash at the end of each workday. If the lawsuit is successful and is granted class-action status, Labor Ready may be required to pay millions of dollars to the temporary workers from New York state who are covered by the lawsuit. Read the full story.
Sex-Bias Suit Settled For $15M
Settlement Agreement & Consent Decree
Former and current female employees of C.H. Robinson Worldwide will share in a $15 million settlement ordered by a federal judge Tuesday, ending a 4-year-old case alleging gender discrimination in pay and promotion. Read the full story.
Class Actions Allow Stronger Collective Voice, Attorney Says
When David Robinson's father died in August, the Robinson family thought the pain of losing a parent and a husband would be the only challenge they would face in the coming weeks. But, as it turned out, the problems were only beginning. Read the full story.
More sue for unpaid time
Thousands of workers...around the country are challenging workplace policies they say force them to work unpaid overtime, use their own money for company purposes or fudge work time reports. In the past five years alone, the number of private lawsuits involving multiple employees and their employers has grown by 77 percent, according to data generated for the National Employment Lawyers Association. Read the full story.
Suing dealers welcome at jobs
Wynn Las Vegas' president said Friday that the dealers who filed a lawsuit seeking to end the casino's 3-week-old tip pooling program are welcome at their jobs. Wynn Las Vegas dealers Daniel Baldonado and Joseph Cesarz are seeking class action status for the lawsuit, in which the dealers say the casino's policy, which calls for tokes earned by dealers to be split with casino supervisors, violates Nevada state law covering tip pooling. Read the full story.
Lowe's settles class action suit over employee pay
Lowe's Home Centers has agreed to settle a long-running class action lawsuit claiming the company underpaid employees. In court documents filed this week in U.S. District Court in Kansas, the Mooresville, N.C.-based company and plaintiffs in the case said they had reached a settlement. But before filing the agreement, they wanted a judge to allow them to keep the details secret for now. Read the full story.
Federal judge OKs class-action tobacco suit
It's a lawsuit a federal judge calls "vexing" and compares to a pointillist painting: tens of millions of light cigarette smokers seeking up to $200 billion in damages from tobacco companies. But in a blow to Big Tobacco, U.S. District Judge Jack Weinstein ruled yesterday that despite its complexities, the case should go to trial next year as a class-action suit. Read the full story.
A New York Federal Judge Certifies a Nationwide RICO Class Action Against Big Tobacco: An Aggressive Decision that Pushed Legal Limits
On Monday, September 25, Big Tobacco got a rude reminder that its legal woes are not over yet. In Schwab v. Philip Morris, Federal Judge Jack Weinstein of the Eastern District of New York certified a nationwide class action against the tobacco industry, involving the sale of "light" or low tar cigarettes. The decision, to put it mildly, has made it clear that the plaintiffs' bar still poses a threat to the industry. Read the full story.
Does the Americans with Disabilities Act Require that Commercial Websites Be Accessible to the Blind?
Just last month, U.S. District Judge Marilyn Hall Patel of the Northern District of California ruled that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) applies to some commercial websites. The holding was the first of its kind. Unless Judge Patel's ruling is reversed on appeal, its upshot will likely be that many retail websites - in particular, those intrinsically linked to companies' brick-and-mortar operations - will have to start complying with the ADA. Read the full story.
Denny's Accused of Discrimination
The federal government sued Denny's restaurants Thursday, alleging that a manager who had a leg amputated was wrongly fired because her superiors believed she posed a safety risk. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed the class-action lawsuit accusing Denny's of discriminating against Paula Hart and other unnamed employees. Read the full story.
Judge Sides with Halliburton over Iraq Overtime Claim
Reuters reported Thursday that U.S. employees working in Iraq won't be getting paid millions of dollars in overtime wages from Halliburton Co., after a judge ruled in favor of the oilfield services firm. U.S. District Court Judge Melinda Harmon agreed with Houston-based Halliburton's contention that, although the Pentagon contract called for overtime wages to be paid in Iraq, U.S. laws governing military contracts allow only workers employed inside the United States to receive the overtime pay. Read the full story.
Tyson Settles Discrimination Dispute
Springdale-based Tyson Foods Inc. has agreed to pay $1.5 million to approximately 2,500 women and minorities who were not hired between 2002 and 2004 at six of its facilities. The company entered into three consent decrees to settle the findings of hiring discrimination reported by the U.S. Labor Department?s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, the government said. Read the full story.
Woodward to pay $5M in bias suit
Aerospace and industrial controls manufacturer Woodward Governor agreed to pay eligible employees from its Rockton and Loves Park [Illinois] operations $5 million to settle a class-action lawsuit for discrimination against minority and female employees. Jennifer Soule of the Chicago firm Soule, Bradtke & Lambert, which represented the Woodward minority workers, said the agreement will equal the playing field in terms of advancement, compensation and training for Woodward employees. Read the full story.
Wells Fargo will pay $12.8 million to settle overtime suit
Wells Fargo & Co., the fifth-largest U.S. bank, agreed to pay $12.8 million to settle a class-action lawsuit that claimed some workers were improperly exempted from overtime pay. The suit claimed Wells Fargo unlawfully characterized business-systems employees who performed routine tasks as "analysts" or "consultants," making them ineligible for overtime. As many as 4,500 people are covered by the settlement. Read the full story.
Longtime Chief of National Plaintiffs Shop to Launch Aviation Boutique
After more than 30 years as a name partner at Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, Robert Lieff is stepping down and starting a new aviation firm: Lieff Global, which is slated to take off with about five lawyers Jan. 1. But Lieff won't be going far: He will remain of counsel at the firm he helped found. Read the full story.
Rudy Exelrod Settles Malpractice Suit
It's a nightmare scenario for class action plaintiffs lawyers: win a big judgment, then get sued because some clients thought you should have won more. For Steven Zieff and his partners at San Francisco's Rudy, Exelrod & Zieff, the nightmare is finally over -- but it cost a hefty payout to make it go away. Read the full story.
Wal-Mart Hit With $78.5M Verdict in Pa. Break-Time Class Action
By and large agreeing with the plaintiffs' suggestions on damages, a Philadelphia jury has awarded nearly $78.5 million to a class of some 186,000 current and former employees of Pennsylvania Wal-Marts who may not have been properly paid for missed rest breaks and off-the-clock work. The award roughly reflects the total amount asked for by lead class counsel Michael Donovan of Donovan Searles in Philadelphia during his damages-related closing argument Friday morning. Read the full story.
Workers Sue Santa Barbara Paper Over OT
A former reporter for the embattled Santa Barbara News-Press sued the paper Wednesday, claiming it failed to keep accurate time records and stiffed employees out of overtime pay. The lawsuit, filed on behalf of former reporter Hildy Medina, seeks class-action status for as many as 200 past and present employees. It is common for employers to unintentionally violate California's strict employment laws, said plaintiffs' attorney Bruce Anticouni, who filed the lawsuit in Santa Barbara Superior Court. Read the full story.
Tyson Workers Gain Class-Action Status for Lawsuit Against Company
A federal judge granted class-action status to a lawsuit that contends Tyson Foods Inc., the world's largest meat producer, depressed wages by hiring illegal immigrants at eight plants in Tennessee, Alabama, Indiana, Missouri, Texas and Virginia. Howard W. Foster of Chicago, an attorney for Tyson employees, described the ruling as a "very big step." It allows him to seek damages for thousands of workers at the eight plants instead of just the four original plaintiffs. Read the full story.
9th Circuit: UPS Can't Refuse to Consider Hearing-Impaired Drivers
A 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Tuesday that United Parcel Service violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by refusing to consider hearing-impaired workers for driving positions. At issue was UPS' policy mandating that its drivers pass a government hearing test, even though the test isn't required to operate many of the company's vehicles. Read the full story.
They pay but deny any guilt
What is the primary function of a class-action lawsuit? If it's to punish a company monetarily for an alleged misdeed, then the system seems to be working fairly well, considering the hundreds of millions of dollars handed out in settlements each year. But if the primary purpose of class-action suits is to hold companies accountable for their actions -- and hopefully to learn from their mistakes -- then the system is failing miserably in light of a key aspect of virtually all settlements: No one takes any blame. Read the full story.
Spurned Chrysler worker takes case to cyberspace
A Janesville, Wis., woman has started a Web site hoping to drum up interest in filing a class-action lawsuit against DaimlerChrysler for hiring workers under what she feels were false pretenses. Kim Franke, a 37-year-old single mother of two teenage daughters, said she quit a solid job in Janesville to work at Chrysler's assembly plant in Belvidere this summer for what she thought was a full-time permanent position. Franke said that she didn't learn it was a temporary position until employee orientation -- a charge Chrysler officials deny -- and that by then it was too late to get her old job back. Read the full story.
Study: Companies nationwide are fit for suits
Sometimes it's good to be an attorney. Now, apparently, is one of those times. According to a recent survey of companies' in-house counsel commissioned by the international law firm Fulbright & Jaworski, people and companies are suing each other more than ever. Read the full story.
Judge Says Jury Must Hear Age Bias Case Against Allstate
A federal district judge in St. Louis ruled yesterday that a jury must hear evidence on whether the Allstate Insurance Company discriminated against older insurance agents when it adopted a plan seven years ago to cut costs and streamline the company's operations. In the decision, Federal District Judge E. Richard Webber said that lawyers for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission had presented strong enough evidence of discrimination that "a reasonable jury could find" that Allstate violated anti-discrimination laws. Read the full story.
Banking Industry Faces High Stakes in BofA's Appeal of Class Action
The money that's riding on the appeal in a class action against Bank of America is almost unfathomable. Consider the stakes: A San Francisco judge awarded $284 million in compensatory damages and restitution to the class represented by The Sturdevant Law Firm and the Brandi Law Firm -- plus statutory damages likely to surpass $1 billion. Read the full story.
9th Circuit Rejects Overtime for Adjusters in Farmer's Insurance Class Action
A 9th Circuit ruling on an overtime case was a deep disappointment -- and a bit of a surprise -- to employment plaintiffs lawyers last week. The class action against Farmer's Insurance Exchange sought overtime pay for claims adjusters allegedly misclassified as exempt, and was modeled on suits that have brought about plaintiff verdicts and high-dollar settlements in state court. But the 9th Circuit left no doubt that it found every member of the class to be exempt. Read the full story.
State AGs Eschew Class Action Fairness Act Review
Twenty months after the Class Action Fairness Act took effect, state attorneys general have not exactly raced to exercise the power the act grants them to review class action settlements. In addition to greatly extending federal jurisdiction over class actions, CAFA requires defendants to notify state attorneys general and federal regulators of proposed settlement agreements. The purpose of the notification is to prevent attorneys from crafting abusive settlements favoring lawyers over consumers. But few attorneys general have taken up the cudgel. Read the full story.
Ex-collectors may file class-action suit vs. NFL
For 15 years, Tom Taylor says, collecting urine specimens from NFL players was a nice retirement gig. Taylor was one of the league's original drug program agents from the program's beginnings in 1988 through the 1991 Super Bowl, until he retired three years ago. But Taylor is one of a handful of former DPAs who want the NFL to make good on a debt. After two DPAs asked the IRS for a ruling on their employment status this year, the agency agreed that they are employees, not independent contractors as the NFL has claimed, and thus should be entitled to all the benefits an employee is due. Read the full story.
Sixteen plaintiffs join Merrill racial bias lawsuit
Sixteen current and former black employees of Merrill Lynch & Co. are seeking to join a lawsuit accusing the largest U.S. retail brokerage of racial discrimination. The year-old lawsuit, which seeks class-action status, accuses Merrill of systematic and pervasive discrimination against African-American brokers and trainees nationwide in hiring, promotion and compensation. Read the full story.
Lilly spokeswoman: Race discrimination suit without merit
A spokeswoman for Eli Lilly and Co. says a race discrimination lawsuit filed against the company in April over employment practices is without merit. The lawsuit seeks class-action status on behalf of more than 1,000 black employees nationwide who attorneys said might have faced the same kinds of discrimination over the past three years. Read the full story.
Merrill Discrimination Suit Moves Forward After Failed Settlement Talks
She Lost Her Job Because Grade on Her Exam Was Wrong
After an eight-year career marketing mutual funds, Linda Cutler says, she felt like a failure when [told she had failed] the Series 7 broker qualifying exam on Feb. 7, 2005. In January 2006, NASD announced that it had mistakenly flunked 1,882 of the 60,500 Series 7 test takers from October 2004 to December 2005. Cutler was among the wrongly failed. Cutler and other plaintiffs are seeking an as yet undetermined amount of money and attorneys fees in the lawsuit, which seeks class-action, or group, status. Read the full story.
Balestriere PLLC Files Class Action Complaint Against NASD
Fee Fight Ensues After Approval of $125M Class Action Settlement
A $125 million New Jersey class action settlement between a tool company and its franchisees was just being minted when a wrench fell into the works: a dispute over how to divide $13 million in legal fees. The question is whether the two plaintiffs firms should split 50-50 or 60-40 the excess of the fees after each firm's lodestar and expenses are paid. And it may come down to which firm can show its efforts were more integral to success. Read the full story.
On Wall Street, a Question of Bias
Will Tort Reform Fade as New Priorities Emerge for Congress?
The day after the Nov. 7 election, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce announced a poll showing that Americans want the new Congress to continue to reform the lawsuit system. And the Association of Trial Lawyers of America announced that candidates who supported the civil justice system won, and the "vast majority" of those who attacked the system and trial lawyers lost. Of the two organizations, guess which one will have to knock harder on the doors of a Democratic-controlled Congress? Read the full story.
Merck Drops Some Objections to Vioxx Plaintiffs Lawyers' Fee Request
Merck & Co. agreed to drop some of its objections to plaintiffs lawyers' request for fees in a Vioxx case, but only if it doesn't have to disclose its own legal fees to a judge. Plaintiffs lawyer Ellen Relkin said Merck dropped some of its objections because it fears a New Jersey judge may publicly disclose what it spent on a trial that ended earlier this year. Read the full story.
Attorneys gathering witnesses in American Indian farmers' discrimination lawsuit
Attorneys for American Indian farmers and ranchers are gathering information and witnesses for a discrimination case against the federal government. Attorneys planned to meet Thursday in North Dakota to collect data for the lawsuit, which was filed in 1999. The lawsuit alleges the U.S. Department of Agriculture discriminated against native Americans in the granting of loans beginning in 1981. "This is an information-gathering trip - we want to reach out to people in South Dakota about the case," said Joe Sellers, lead attorney for the American Indians. Read the full story.
Judge in Costco Discrimination Case Highly Skeptical of Gender Theory
For future reference, U.S. District Judge Marilyn Hall Patel does not like the argument that women don't get certain jobs because they simply don't want them. That was a key theme at a Tuesday hearing over class certification in the Costco gender discrimination case. The plaintiffs, women middle managers, argue that the warehouse retail chain illegally denies them opportunities to become higher-paid top managers. Read the full story.
Fair labor standards trip up corporations
Keith Pyburn Jr., managing partner of the Fisher & Phillips New Orleans law firm office, said litigation over the Fair Labor Standards Act was rare from 1980 to 2000. Not any more. ?For the last five years, I have seen more cases concerning this act,? Pyburn said. ?It?s like people literally went to sleep on this law and now the creature has awakened.? Read the full story.
Judge rebukes tree firm of Leslie
An Arkansas-based treeplanting service was reprimanded this week by a federal judge in New Orleans, according to documents filed Monday in U. S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana. Express Forestry Inc. of Leslie and its officers ? Rick Thomas and Sandy Thomas ? all defendants in a class-action lawsuit, had appealed an August magistrate?s order that imposed sanctions for ?flouting? the orders of the court. Read the full story.
Court OKs ex-Boeing workers' class action
A class action lawsuit by former Boeing Wichita workers against Boeing Co., Spirit AeroSystems and Onex Corp. has received conditional class certification. The move allows the suit to proceed as a class action. The workers allege that they were terminated from Boeing or refused employment with Spirit because of their age. Read the full story.
Boston Market settles class action claims by 7,000 workers
The Boston Market Corp. agreed to pay up to $14 million in cash and benefits to settle a pair of class action lawsuits brought by nearly 7,000 current and former employees. Attorneys said the settlement, announced Tuesday, guarantees $3.75 million in cash payments to workers and changes in future pay scales worth an estimated $10.3 million. The Golden, Colo.-based restaurant chain also agreed to reclassify some workers, change how hours are kept and offer training in Spanish, said L. Tracee Lorens, a lawyer representing the employees. Read the full story.
EEOC and Chase Reach $2.2 Million Settlement in Disability Discrimination Claim
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and JPMorgan Chase & Co. (Chase) announced the $2.2 million settlement of a claim brought under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) against Bank One Corporation. The EEOC issued an administrative determination on March 11, 2004, finding that there was reasonable cause to believe that Bank One violated the ADA by failing to properly accommodate a group of employees who were medically released to return to work after leaves of absence exceeding six months. Read the full story.
IBM settles overtime lawsuit for $65 million
International Business Machines Corp. has settled a federal class-action lawsuit, agreeing to pay a total of $65 million to 32,000 technology workers who claimed the company illegally withheld overtime pay. The suit was filed in January in U.S. District Court in San Francisco on behalf of three employees who said they were forced to work more than 40 hours per week and on weekends without additional compensation. Read the full story.
Siebel to pay $27.5 million in OT lawsuit
In what may be one of the largest settlements of a wage-and-hour lawsuit brought by computer professionals, Siebel Systems Inc. likely will pay up to $27.5 million to settle an overtime class action complaint on behalf of its software engineers. The agreement with Siebel, which was acquired by Oracle Corp. on Jan. 31, covers approximately 800 California employees with the job title "software engineer" or "senior software engineer" who worked for the company between Jan. 16, 2000, and Oct. 7, 2005. Class members are expected to recover, on average, approximately $27,000. Read the full story.
Pillowtex offers settlement
Some 1,220 former nonunion workers at now-defunct Pillowtex have received a proposed settlement averaging $2,100 for employment-related claims. But because of taxes and legal fees from their class-action suit against the one-time textile giant, they will net an average of $727. Read the full story.
Lieff Cabraser Heavyweight Bolts for Altshuler
Employment and securities heavyweight James Finberg is leaving Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein in January for a much smaller San Francisco litigation firm. On Jan. 1, he and employment partner Eve Cervantez will join Altshuler, Berzon, Nussbaum, Rubin & Demain. Read the full story.
Davis v. Kraft Foods Memorandum & Order
Lawsuit on tip pooling at Wynn thrown out
A District Court judge on Wednesday tossed out a lawsuit brought by two dealers from Wynn Las Vegas who sought to end the Strip casino's recently implemented and much debated tip pooling policy. In his decision, Judge Douglas Herndon said there was no contract of employment between the dealers and Wynn, which meant that Nevada law allows an employer to change any tip pooling policies. Read the full story.
Federal Judge Won't Recognize Employers' 'Self-Critical Analysis Privilege'
Employers cannot invoke the so-called "self-critical analysis privilege" in refusing to turn over internal documents in an employment discrimination case, a federal judge has ruled. In the proposed class action suit, lead plaintiff Debra Davis claims that Kraft Foods has discriminated against African-American employees in its Philadelphia bakery -- a former Nabisco bakery acquired by Kraft in 2000 -- on issues of job discipline and classification. Read the full story.
Judge encourages Coke to keep new diversity
A federal judge Friday encouraged The Coca-Cola Co. to maintain its commitment to diversity in the workplace after receiving the final report from a task force born from a $200 million discrimination settlement by the world's largest beverage maker. "I challenge you to keep it as a critical part of the manifesto," U.S. District Judge Richard Story told Coca-Cola executives. Read the full story.
Suit alleges scheme to stiff nurses
Six metro Detroit hospital systems colluded to suppress registered nurse wages, contributing to nursing shortages and holding back nurses from pay hikes, a lawsuit filed last week alleges. The lawsuit, filed Friday in Detroit's U.S. District Court, seeks an estimated $340 million for 16,800 registered nurses working full-time since 2002 at the six hospitals, according to Daniel Small, a partner with Cohen, Milstein, Hausfeld & Toll, a Washington, D.C., law firm that filed the lawsuit with James & Hoffman, also of Washington, D.C. It hopes to establish the group as a class action. Read the full story.
Telecommuters Are Reaching Out to Sue Their Employers
A new class action brought by telecommuters of Cigna Healthcare of California Inc. who say they were denied overtime and severance pay highlights the growth of a new type of legal dispute facing companies across the nation. The Cigna case, which alleges that the company denied former home-based medical claims processors overtime and mileage compensation for traveling to and from mandatory meetings during the workday, follows a flood of cases filed by auto insurance claims adjusters in the past several years. Read the full story.
Featherlite faces class action lawsuit
The Iowa Court of Appeals filed a document recently saying it is upholding the Iowa District Court's decision to accept a class action lawsuit against Featherlite Manufacturing, Inc., Cresco, affecting the vacation time of approximately 700 production employees. Read the full story.
A Federal Court of Appeals Revives a Class Action Seeking Compensation for Slavery in America
Efforts to hold corporate America accountable for slavery got an unexpected boost last week, when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit revived a massive class action litigation that had been dismissed by a federal district court in Chicago. The decision, which was authored by Judge Richard Posner, is a bit of a paradox: It offers the standard conservative analysis of the slavery claims, while also introducing an extremely liberal interpretation of state consumer fraud laws. Read the full story.
Galeno v. Blockbuster, Inc.
Denial of motion to remand a class action -- involving disgruntled customers of Blockbuster alleging that the "no late fee" program is a decptive forced sale scheme -- to state court is vacated as the district court made no findings and offered no explanation as to how it calculated the amount in controversy here to be more than $5 million, the jurisdictional amount. [Sign in required.] Read the full story.
2nd Circuit: Burden Rests on Defendant to Keep Class Action in Federal Court
A class action defendant has the burden of proof in attempting to remove a case to federal court, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday in interpreting a 2005 law designed to expand federal jurisdiction over class actions. Read the full story.
Hitting the High Points of the New EDD Rules
The last time the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure were amended to deal with electronic evidence, eight-track tapes were the hot technology, the Internet and cell phones were the stuff of science fiction and computers were room-sized behemoths owned by corporations, universities and governments. Times have changed, and the rules have again changed with the times. These amendments took effect on Dec. 1, 2006. Read the full story.
McAfee Employees' Suit Reveals New Options Dynamic
A new breach-of-contract lawsuit against McAfee may be the first in a wave of similar actions against companies that are barring current and former employees from exercising stock options during ongoing stock option backdating investigations. Seven former McAfee employees, represented by Burlingame, Calif.'s Cotchett, Pitre Simon & McCarthy, say they were cheated out of about $2 million total because the company did not permit them to exercise stock options that then expired during the software company's self-imposed "blackout" period. Read the full story.
OC judge may toss suit blaming Wal-Mart for 3rd World sweatshops
An Orange County judge is expected to toss a class-action lawsuit blaming Wal-Mart for alleged sweatshop conditions in five Third World counties that supply the retail giant. The suit, filed on behalf of garment factory workers in China, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Swaziland and Nicaragua, alleged Wal-Mart broke a promise to enforce its "Standards for Suppliers" demanding foreign companies obey local labor laws and treat workers fairly. Read the full story.
Sales reps sue drug companies for overtime
Susan Schaefer LaRose quit her sales job in May after 18 years with pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly and Co., frustrated by long work weeks that frequently encroached on weekends and vacations. And then she sued. Her lawsuit, part of a series of class action claims filed last month against nine major drug companies, seeks tens of millions of dollars in back pay for the thousands of drug company salespeople across the country. Read the full story.
What In-House Counsel Should Know About Recent Calif. Employment Class Actions
During the past decade California employers have been besieged by class action lawsuits alleging violations of the California Labor Code, Wage Orders and dozens of other employment laws. Many of the initial lawsuits attacked the exempt classification of retail store managers, often including claims that the employer failed to comply with requirements to provide meal periods or breaks. Faced with the many expensive and disruptive procedural hurdles placed squarely in the path of class action defendants who contested liability, retailers paid millions in settlements, frequently choosing to reclassify as non-exempt even those managers who met exempt criteria in order to avoid repeated lawsuits. Read the full story.
Immigrant workers sue bus firm
The parent company of Minnesota City Bus Co., which runs school busses for Winona Area Public Schools, is being sued by a group of immigrant workers for harassment. Nine current and former employees of MV Transportation Inc. filed a lawsuit Wednesday in U.S. District Court. The workers said they were harassed and abused because of their immigrant status and Muslim beliefs. Read the full story.
'Apprentice' Reject Sues Donald Trump
Richard J. Hewett never heard "You're fired!" ? but he's suing Donald Trump anyway. The rejected applicant for NBC's "The Apprentice" is suing the real estate mogul, claiming he was turned away because of age discrimination. Hewett was 49 when he was rejected in July 2005, and claims in his lawsuit filed last week in U.S. District Court that only two of the finalists covering six seasons have been over 40. He alleges Trump and the show's producers are in violation of the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act. Read the full story.
Costco Bias Suit Is Given Class-Action Status
A federal judge granted class-action status yesterday to a lawsuit filed on behalf of more than 700 female workers at Costco Wholesale claiming that the retailer had systematically discriminated against women seeking jobs as managers. In the lawsuit, the lead plaintiff ? a former assistant store manager who was upset about not being made a store manager ? asserts that Costco discriminated against women in promotions because 13 percent of the company?s store managers were women, while nearly half of its employees were women. Read the full story.
Order Granting Class Certification
Do Your Employees Qualify For Overtime?
She's well compensated. He's a manager. They're all on salary. These are some of the common reasons employers give to explain why they do not pay their employees overtime. But in many cases these reasons are not legally valid. That's something business owners have been learning the hard way. Indeed, the number of overtime lawsuits has exploded over the past couple of years. In 2005, class-action suits involving wages surpassed discrimination cases as the most widespread work force class action, according to a recent study by Chicago law firm Seyfarth Shaw. Read the full story.
Goodyear settles suit alleging sex bias
The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. will pay $925,000 to about 800 women who were denied tire-building jobs at the Akron company's Danville, Va., plant in the late 1990s. The U.S. Department of Labor announced the settlement Tuesday. The department had said in June it was suing Goodyear over what it called discriminatory hiring practices at the Virginia plant. Read the full story.
Supreme Court refuses to hear IBM pension, workplace retaliation cases
The Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to consider an appeal brought by a group of IBM Corp. employees who accused the company of age discrimination when it altered its pension plan. The lawsuit could have cost the company $1.4 billion. The court also declined to rule on a separate dispute between IBM and a former employee who accused the company of retaliating against him after he complained about how company managers handled overtime. In the pension case, a former IBM employee named Kathi Cooper served as the lead plaintiff in a class-action suit brought on behalf of 250,000 current and former IBM workers. Read the full story.
Recent Class Action Rulings Offer Good News for Employers
Reports of multimillion-dollar settlements of class (or "collective") actions under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 have been so rampant that the casual observer could be excused for believing that, for employers on the class action front, the news is dismal. Surely, the evidence is hard to ignore. But the news is not all grim. A number of recent developments in the class action world suggest a turning of the tide, at least with respect to employment discrimination cases. Read the full story.
E-Loan settles class action suit
E-Loan Inc. has agreed to pay $13.6 million to 506 mortgage loan consultants in California to settle a class action lawsuit filed against the provider of online financial services. U.S. District Judge Susan Illston granted preliminary approval of the settlement on Jan. 11. The suit claimed that the Pleasanton company did not pay the workers overtime or provide them with meal and rest breaks. Lawyers at Oakland-based Goldstein, Demchak, Baller, Borgen & Dardarian said they expect class members to yield an average $20,000 from the settlement. Read the full story.
Judge denies Microsoft attempt to link plaintiffs with attorney
A judge has rejected Microsoft attorneys' request to question named plaintiffs about their friendship with a Des Moines lawyer who is arguing the case. Judge Scott Rosenberg ruled Friday that Microsoft attorneys could not ask the named plaintiffs about their relationship with attorney Roxanne Conlin. The company's lawyers wanted to question the plaintiffs, arguing that Conlin had referred to them during jury selection as "just regular people who bought software" and who volunteered to step forward to sue Microsoft. Read the full story.
Target settles race-bias suit
Minneapolis-based Target Corp. agreed Friday to pay $775,000 to a group of black store workers in Pennsylvania to settle a race-discrimination and retaliation case. The EEOC filed the lawsuit in September 2005 on behalf of former employee Michael Hill and 13 other black employees of a Springfield, Pa., store. Read the full story.
AmericanWest seeks to deflect class-action suit
Spokane-based AmericanWest Bank is seeking to decertify the class-action status granted to a lawsuit filed by a former loan officer who claims the bank breached an employment agreement when it discontinued an incentive-based compensation plan. The class members are former and current loan officers at AmericanWest who worked under a two-year compensation plan that ended after six months, at the end of 2004. Read the full story.
Digest compiles class-action law data
Want to know how much the attorneys who sued Boston Chicken charged their clients for legal fees? Or how many hours they logged on the case? Those scouring the nation's judicial systems for attorney fee information in class-action lawsuits now have a single source of reference: the Class Action Attorney Fee Digest, a monthly periodical devoted to compiling attorney fee statistics. Read the full story.
Former Lead Plaintiff's Guilty Plea May Spell Trouble for Lawyer Lerach
Superstar plaintiffs lawyer William Lerach has remained outside the reach of investigators looking at a kickback scheme at his former firm, Milberg Weiss, but a guilty plea might change that. Steven Cooperman admitted to taking payments for serving as lead plaintiff in class actions filed by Milberg Weiss over 12 years. Court documents filed Wednesday also appear to put "Partner B," long believed to be Lerach, at the heart of the lucrative kickback scheme. Read the full story.
Brokers' $45 Million Overtime Class Action Deal Nears Approval
Not long ago, Kevin McInerney thought his overtime class action against UBS Financial Services was "optimistically" worth $180 million. Entering settlement talks, the Reno, Nev. lawyer downgraded that assessment to about $100 million. But by the time the case wound up before a federal judge, McInerney was hoping his stockbroker clients would come out with a $45 million settlement. Read the full story.
Class-action suits get access to files
Lawyers who file class-action lawsuits over defective products are entitled to the names of customers who have complained about those products, unless a customer objects to disclosure, the state Supreme Court ruled recently. The unanimous decision was a victory for attorneys and their clients in consumer suits as well as employment and civil rights cases, in which lawyers want to contact possible victims and witnesses at an early stage to strengthen and expand their claims. Read the full story.
Hooters Servers' Class Action Remains in Court
Hooters employees in California have maintained their class action suit in the California courts. The lawsuit alleges the employees were denied their tips, forced to buy their own uniforms, and not given lunch breaks. Hot Wings, Inc., parent company of Hooters, attempted to arbitrate the claims but had waited too long to make the arbitration offer. The case will heard in the Alameda County Superior Court in California. Read the full story.
Wal-Mart faces historic sex bias case
The biggest sexual discrimination case in U.S. history advanced against Wal-Mart Stores Inc. on Tuesday when a top court ruled that more than a million women could join a suit charging bias in pay and promotions. The plaintiffs estimate they could win billions of dollars in lost pay and damages and that as many as two million women who have worked for Wal-Mart in its U.S. stores since 1998 could join a class-action lawsuit. "It is time for Wal-Mart to face the music," Brad Seligman, a lawyer for The Impact Fund, a nonprofit group in Berkeley, California representing the female plaintiffs, told reporters. Read the full story.
Ex-Nextel workers claim bias settlement was rigged
A group of former Nextel employees from New Jersey alleges that their former lawyers struck a sweetheart deal with the wireless communications giant to cap a settlement of their discrimination claims. The five plaintiffs -- all former employees at Nextel's Rutherford office -- are suing both the law firm and the company individually and as representatives of a larger class of at least 500 people. Read the full story.
Wal-Mart sex discrimination suit advances
A sex discrimination suit against Wal-Mart on behalf of 2 million female employees, the nation's largest-ever civil rights suit, moved a step closer to trial Tuesday when a federal appeals court upheld its class-action status, a ruling that allows a jury to review the company's nationwide practices in pay and promotions. Statistics and expert analyses offered by the women's lawyers, and declarations from 120 past and present employees, contain "significant proof of a corporate policy of discrimination and support plaintiffs' contention that female employees nationwide were subjected to a common pattern and practice of discrimination,'' said the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco in a 2-1 ruling. Read the full story.
Court says Wal-Mart must face bias trial
A federal appeals court ruled Tuesday that Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world's largest private employer, must face a class-action lawsuit alleging as many as 1.5 million former and current female employees were discriminated against in pay and promotions. Read the full story.
The Federal Appellate Decision for the Plaintiffs in the Sex Discrimination Class Action Against Wal-Mart: What Will Wal-Mart Do Next?
In August 2004, a federal district court certified the largest class action in the history of the nation: a suit brought on behalf of 1.5 - 2.0 million women who have worked at Wal-Mart since 1998. Last week, the Ninth Circuit issued its decision in the appeal -- and Wal-Mart lost. In this column, I will discuss where Wal-Mart goes from here. Read the full story.
Seligman, Fights Wal-Mart in Bias Case, Rarely Loses
Brad Seligman, the California attorney who this week won a ruling on behalf of female workers claiming discrimination by Wal-Mart Stores Inc., developed his distrust of large companies as a teenager. Read the full story.
Wal-Mart Seeks Rehearing in Class-Action Decision
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. of Bentonville will seek a rehearing of Tuesday's decision to proceed with the Betty Dukes class-action lawsuit. A panel of three judges of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit decided 2-1 to allow the nation's largest sexual discrimination lawsuit. But Wal-Mart wants a larger panel of judges to make a decision. Read the full story.
Supreme Court to Hear Companion Worker Overtime Pay Lawsuit
Particularly in the case of around-the-clock help or "live-in" companions, [home health care] agencies can make quality homecare affordable to seniors and still derive a modest profit in part because, under current law, "companion" workers are exempt from payment of overtime and minimum wage law under the Federal Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Pending before the U.S. Supreme Court, however, is litigation that, depending on the outcome, may result in the extinction of the companionship exemption for third-party employers such as homecare agencies. Read the full story.
Company to Pay $5M to Settle Bias Suits
A federal judge has given final approval to a $5 million settlement resolving two consolidated class action lawsuits against Woodward Governor, settling allegations that the company engaged in illegal discrimination against African-Americans, Hispanics, and Asians at its Rockford and Rockton, Illinois, facilities with respect to pay, promotions, and training. Read the full story.
Dental hygienist's lawsuit says she was denied overtime
A dental hygienist who worked for one month in the Stockton office of a dental chain with clinics statewide has filed a class-action lawsuit claiming she was cheated out of rest breaks and overtime pay. Tami Ware, 43, of Discovery Bay claims SmileCare overscheduled patients, forcing her to work nonstop for more than eight hours a day. Read the full story.
Nonprofit Litigates Largest Employment Discrimination Class Action Ever to Go to Trial
Attorney Brad Seligman was on a hunt to find out whatever he could about Wal-Mart Stores Inc. after hearing about a potential claim of alleged sex discrimination against the retailer in 1999. "I called up my friend, another attorney, and he immediately said, 'evil empire,' " said Seligman, executive director and founder of a nonprofit group called The Impact Fund, located in Berkeley, Calif. "Then I called another friend, who is an economist, and he also indicated the same." Read the full story.
Judge: Plaintiffs in Wal-Mart Discrimination Class Action Can Depose Former Executive
The last time Northern District of California Judge Martin Jenkins heard arguments in a major gender discrimination suit against Wal-Mart, he certified a class of what is now an estimated 2 million of the company's female employees. Three years later, he gave the plaintiffs some more good news. Read the full story.
California?s Wage And Hour Class Action Epidemic: Updates And Solutions
Wage and hour class actions have moved to the forefront of employment litigation in California, due primarily to multimillion dollar settlements. Aside from the lucrative rewards, these class actions have spread in scope and popularity as they are easier to marshal than traditional employment related claims. With a singular focus on a particular job classification, a systematic process can be established. Even after resolving class action cases, Companies find on-going liability with "copy-cat" suits brought by different groups of workers alleging similar violations. Read the full story.
NAACP heightens focus on Eli Lilly
Hundreds of current and former African-American employees? descriptions of pervasive, unfair termination rates, pay discrimination and hostile working environments at Eli Lilly led to a major class action lawsuit against the global pharmaceutical company. The NAACP, though its Greater Indianapolis Branch, has now joined the suit with the support of other national and community-based organizations. Read the full story.
Diversity, for Better or Worse
One of the most interesting (and, from my perspective, unexpected) developments in the legal profession recently has been the enormous focus on diversity. Within the past few years, established and emerging businesses have rapidly implemented diversity programs. Clients and potential clients now seek diversity statistics as part of business development pitches and publicly state their intentions to consider other aspects of law firm business to determine who's actually walking the diversity walk and not just talking the talk. Read the full story.
Federal Court Sharply Limits Employer's Attempt to Probe Job Bias Victims' Medical, Arrest and Litigation Histories
Magistrate Judge P. Michael Mahoney of the Federal District Court in Rockford, Ill., issued an order this week largely denying an employer's motion to compel discovery regarding medical and psychological records, arrest records and litigation history of claimants in a discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced. Read the full story.
GM agrees to pay $37.5 million to settle lawsuit over employee 401 (k) plans
General Motors Corp. agreed late Tuesday to pay $37.5 million to settle a lawsuit brought by its employees and retirees who lost hundreds of millions of dollars in 401(k) plans when the company's stock price plummeted by more than 75 percent. Read the full story.
9th Circuit Limits Wal-Mart Class
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is grinding forward in the huge national class action involving sex discrimination at Wal-Mart. A three-judge panel issued a new 2-1 ruling Tuesday in favor of certifying the plaintiff class, similar to an opinion issued in February. Read the full story.
Ford, UAW settle lawsuit
Ford Motor Co., two related companies and the United Auto Workers will pay $1.6 million and provide other relief to settle a race discrimination lawsuit, a federal agency said Thursday. In a class-action suit, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission charged that a written test used by Ford, Visteon Corp. and Automotive Components Holdings discriminated against blacks. Read the full story.
Class-Action Bias Suit Against Wal-Mart Reaffirmed
Wal-Mart Stores suffered a legal setback on Tuesday in its attempt to head off the biggest sexual discrimination case in United States history when an appeals court allowed the case to remain a class-action lawsuit. The plaintiffs estimated they could win billions of dollars in lost pay and damages and that as many as two million women who have worked for Wal-Mart in its American stores since 1998 could join the suit. Read the full story.
Court again upholds class-action sex-bias lawsuit
Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the nation's biggest private employer, lost a bid to have an appeals court reconsider its decision to allow 2 million current and former female workers to sue as a group with sex-bias claims. A three-judge panel of a federal appeals court again rejected the company's request to throw out a 2004 lower-court ruling granting class-action status to the lawsuit, the biggest sexual-discrimination case in U.S. history. Read the full story.
FedEx Employees Misclassified, Says IRS
The Internal Revenue Service has told FedEx that it has been misclassifying its delivery drivers as independent contractors and is ordering the shipping company to pay back taxes and penalties. Read the full story.
Supreme Court Case Could Expose Employers to More Age Bias Trials
The central issue in the case for employers is whether the Supreme Court will affirm an appeals court decision and ?blur? the distinction between ADEA and the Title 7 federal discrimination statute. Read the full story.
Boeing discrimination case back in court
Almost 10 years after a group of African-American employees at The Boeing Co. filed a class-action lawsuit alleging the company had discriminated against them because of their race, the case was back in court Friday. At issue was whether a U.S. District Court judge had erred in throwing out, without a trial, claims that Boeing had compensated African-American and white employees differently for similar work. Read the full story.
Fourth Annual Workplace Class Action Litigation Report From Seyfarth Shaw Notes Significant Growth in High Stakes Litigation at State Court Levels
The fourth Annual Workplace Class Action Litigation Report by national law firm Seyfarth Shaw LLP analyzes the leading class action and collective action decisions of 2007 involving claims against employers. The class action rulings stem from high-stakes lawsuits filed in federal courts under Title VII of the Civil Rights of 1964, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, and in state courts under a host of other laws applicable to workplace issues. Read the full story.
Gender-Bias Class Action Against GE by Former Counsel Advances
A high-ranking attorney for General Electric Co. can go ahead with her class-action lawsuit against what she calls the "very male-dominated culture'' in the international conglomerate, a federal judge has ruled. U.S. District Judge Peter Dorsey last week rejected a motion filed by GE to prevent Lorene Schaefer's lawsuit from achieving class-action status. Read the full story.
Henredon Furniture Industries to Pay $465,000 for Racial Harassment, Hangman's Nooses
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced the settlement of a racial harassment lawsuit for $465,000 and significant remedial relief against Henredon Furniture Industries, Inc. on behalf of African American employees who were subjected to a persistent racially hostile work environment at a furniture plant. Read the full story.
IBM's response to overtime lawsuit has some employees fretting and fuming over base-pay cut
Even as IBM Corp. reports record profits, thousands of its U.S. employees are staring at pay cuts. It's the result of IBM's response to a lawsuit in which the company was accused of illegally withholding overtime pay from some technical employees. Read the full story.
Mixed Ruling for Smith & Wollensky in Class Action
While the Smith & Wollensky restaurant group won a court victory yesterday when a Manhattan judge stopped a class action on behalf of its nonwhite employees, the federal magistrate judge, James Francis, did allow a fired part-time waiter to bring suit on behalf of nonwhite employees at one of the group's restaurants: the Park Avenue Caf Read the full story.
Saying they've been exploited, eight Latinos sue drywall company
Eight unidentified Latinos filed a class-action lawsuit in a federal court today, alleging exploitation and labor violations by a Twin Cities drywall company that has worked on the Mall of America and several Minneapolis condominium projects. Identified only as "John Does," the plaintiffs claim they were among a class of Latino workers paid below minimum wage, required to work overtime at a substandard rate, denied economic and health benefits, and denied work breaks. Read the full story.
The charming bureaucrat: Remembering Joan Ehrlich, civil rights hero
Joan Ehrlich was a career bureaucrat. She was a distinguished one ? district director of the EEOC in Houston for 24 years, then in San Francisco for four ? but still, a bureaucrat. As such, she was an unlikely recipient for the kind of praise routinely thrown her way. Colleagues and loved ones (they often overlapped) speak of a tireless fighter for justice, but also a sparkling presence that lit up a room or a government agency upon entering it. She was a dedicated public servant and also a glamorous personality, a passionate civil rights advocate and a regular at Saks. When she was diagnosed with leukemia, she responded with her typical determination and optimism. She was 72 when it finally took her life last month here in San Francisco. Read the full story.
Morgan Stanley $16 Million Race Bias Settlement Gets Prelim OK
Morgan Stanley's (MS) $16 million proposed settlement for a racial-bias lawsuit filed on behalf of 1,200 African-American and Latino brokers and broker trainees has been granted preliminary approval by a federal court. A final settlement could derail the class-action aspirations of another bias suit filed in Chicago. Read the full story.
Workers charge Minnesota contractor with exploitation
Eight Latino immigrant workers have filed what they hope will become a class action lawsuit to halt "strikingly exploitive" practices by a major Minnesota drywall contractor. The workers filed suit Monday in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis "on behalf of all Latino immigrants who allegedly have been forced to work under strikingly exploitive conditions in the drywall industry by a large construction company, Mulcahy, Inc., and its affiliates." Read the full story.
FedEx Ground's appeal of class certification of delivery drivers is denied
FedEx Ground will not have an opportunity to challenge a 2007 district court ruling that certified two classes of delivery drivers in ongoing lawsuits related to their status as independent contractors. On January 22, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals declined to hear the request of FedEx Ground for interlocutory review of the class certification decision in a Kansas case pending before a US District Court in Indiana. The ruling paves the way for a the court to rule on remaining class certification decisions. Read the full story.
Latinos sue construction firm
Eight unnamed Latino immigrants filed a civil rights and wage lawsuit in federal court in Minneapolis Monday against Mulcahy Inc., a Mahtomedi-based construction company vying for work on the new Twins stadium in Minneapolis and a new campus football stadium at the University of Minnesota. The workers, who filed under "John Doe" and "Jane Doe" pseudonyms, claim they have been forced to work under exploitative conditions in the drywall industry. They say Mulcahy employed a two-tiered pay system, paying the Latino workers in cash at a lower rate than non-Latino co-workers. They also claim they were forced to work much longer hours but received no overtime or benefits. Read the full story.
Conservatives have long opposed the liberal abuse of class action lawsuits to punish business and redistribute income. But that hasn't stopped some on the anti-immigration right from resorting to the same abuse, and recently they were appropriately thrown out of court. A federal judge in Chattanooga, Tenn., finally dismissed a class action lawsuit against Tyson Foods that was first filed in 2002. Read the full story.
Three ex-Station employees claim payroll abuses
Station Casinos, a company known for its high employee-satisfaction ratings, is facing a potential class action lawsuit over allegedly not paying its workers overtime and compensating them for all hours worked. The case may also spur similar litigation against other casino companies, observers said. Read the full story.
NYC pays $21 mln to settle class action race suit
New York City has agreed to pay $21 million to settle a class action lawsuit that claimed the city's parks department discriminated against black and Hispanic employees seeking better pay and promotion, officials said. Read the full story.
City Agrees to Settlement in Parks Dept. Bias Case
Moving to close the books on a long and ugly chapter in New York?s employment history, the city has agreed to pay more than $20 million to settle a federal class-action lawsuit charging that the Department of Parks and Recreation systematically discriminated against black and Hispanic employees in awarding jobs and setting salaries, lawyers for the plaintiffs said Tuesday. Read the full story.
Labor and Delivery
A protracted lawsuit involving discrimination and illegal labor practices at Assi Super, Inc., one of Koreatown?s (Los Angeles') largest businesses, came to a close in December as the supermarket?s owner paid a total of $1.475 million in damages to 171 former workers. Read the full story.
Call Center Workers Sue American
When the American Airlines targeted its downtown Cincinnati call center for closure this summer, little did it imagine that this action would be challenged in court on the grounds of gender discrimination. The employees who sued the airlines included thirty employees, mostly women over 40. Read the full story.
Hotel chain, time-share operator face $50 million class action lawsuit
Allegations of physical abuse, groping and demands for sex are outlined in a 72-page complaint filed in U.S. District Court in February against Fairfield Resorts and Wyndham Vacation Resorts. Six women, the initial plaintiffs in the class action, say they suffered a discriminatory work environment while employed at Wyndham Grand Desert Resort in Las Vegas, and faced retribution if they spoke out against their male co-workers. Read the full story.
Indian workers sue employer
Thursday, March 6, nearly 100 Indian H2B guest workers celebrated with song and dance after breaking an 18-month chain of human trafficking that stretched from Mumbai to Pascagoula, Mississippi. Read the full story.
Continuing Noose Incidents at Eli Lilly Warrant Full FBI Investigation
Another hangman?s noose has been found on the corporate campus of Eli Lilly, one of the world?s largest pharmaceutical companies. On the morning of Feb. 9, a contract security guard patrolling one of the company?s parking structures at its headquarters in Indianapolis, discovered the noose hanging from a tree, leaving her terrorized by the experience. This recent incident is the third hangman?s noose reported at Eli Lilly offices. Read the full story.
Starbucks may owe millions
When exactly the tip jar became a staple of the decor in coffeehouses, restaurants, bars, or dry cleaners isn't really known. Not even Wikipedia has an entry for the term. But the humble tip jar is at the center of a potentially multimillion-dollar case in San Diego Superior Court involving coffee giant Starbucks and an estimated 120,000 of its baristas, the workers who grind the beans and froth the milk for lattes and cappuccinos. Read the full story.
Class Action Waiver Doesn't Hold Up
Although the California Supreme Court in its recent decision had left open the possibility that class action waivers could stand up against a legal challenge under certain circumstances, this new case shows that state courts will nevertheless lean strongly toward invalidating such waivers in wage and hour actions. Read the full story.
Jewelry Giant Target of Class-Action, Sex-Discrimination Lawsuit
The parent company of some of the nation's most well known jewelry stores are facing a lawsuit, claiming the company discriminates against female workers. The plaintiffs, 15 current and former workers, say Sterling Jewelers systematically underpays female employees and passes them over for promotions. Read the full story.
The Wage and Hour Class-Action Epidemic
A surge of wage and hour class-action lawsuits has plagued employers across the country. Aside from the lucrative rewards for plaintiffs, these class-action cases have spread in scope and popularity because they are easier to marshal than traditional employment claims of discrimination and wrongful termination. Read the full story.
Judge OKs settlement in Walgreen discrimination case
About 10,000 current and former African-American workers at Walgreen Co. stores will share in a $24 million race discrimination settlement approved Tuesday by a federal judge. The lawsuit, filed against the national drugstore chain by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in March 2007, alleged that African-Americans were unfairly denied promotions or assigned to lower-performing stores. Read the full story.
Taking a New Look at Discrimination in New York
Earlier this month, Senator Barack Obama called for open and honest action to address inequality, and in that spirit it is time for New York City's government to examine its own approach to practices. Instead of officials clamming up and insisting categorically that the city does not discriminate, what if policymakers, advocates and residents addressed the problem head on and agreed that policies that further racial and gender disparities -- intentionally or not -- are unacceptable? Read the full story.
2nd bias suit filed vs. Albertsons
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has filed a second lawsuit against the Albertsons LLC grocery chain for racial bias at its Aurora, CO distribution center. In a suit filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Colorado, the EEOC claims Albertsons intentionally retaliated against employees who opposed discriminatory practices. Read the full story.
$33 million bias suit payout
Citigroup Inc. will pay $33 million to settle a lawsuit filed by three female brokers in Santa Rosa who charged its Smith Barney unit denied equal opportunities for women. As many as 2,500 current and former Smith Barney female brokers can share in the class-action settlement, filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in San Francisco. Read the full story.
Lawsuit says HSBC violated labor laws
A former California branch employee of HSBC Bank USA is suing the British-owned bank for violating federal and California labor laws by failing to properly pay overtime to sales staff and not compensating workers in that state for missing lunch breaks. Read the full story.
American Airline pilots win leave time lawsuit
American Airlines has agreed to settle a class action lawsuit brought by more than 350 pilots who said they were unfairly penalized by being barred from accruing vacation time and sick days while on military leave, the Justice Department announced Thursday. Read the full story.
McCormick & Schmick's faces discrimination suit in Baltimore
The federal government accused McCormick & Schmick's Seafood Restaurants in court Monday of discriminating for a decade against African American workers and applicants in its Baltimore restaurants. Earlier this month, the Portland-based chain agreed to pay $1.1 million to settle a similar case in San Francisco. Read the full story.
Class action alleges Valero shorted workers on overtime pay
Beaumont's Reaud, Morgan & Quinn law firm launched a new class action against Valero Energy, alleging the oil giant circumvented paying its contractors overtime by classifying workers' wages as "per diem." Read the full story.
More women charge Bloomberg LP with discrimination
Financial news and data firm Bloomberg LP, founded by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, is facing a lawsuit involving 58 women who say they had their pay cut, were demoted or denied opportunities because they had become pregnant. Read the full story.
SJC weighing future of Wal-Mart wage suit
A case that could greatly restrict the ability of hourly employees to bring class-action suits against employers for alleged wage violations was aired before the Supreme Judicial Court on May 7. The court will decide whether a Superior Court judge properly decertified a class of more than 65,000 Wal-Mart employees in Massachusetts who were allegedly deprived of earned wages and rest and meal breaks by the Arkansas-based retail giant. Read the full story.
Employers must be aware of wage laws
With more than 2,400 wage-and-hour lawsuits filed in the Middle and Southern United States district courts in 2007, Florida leads the nation. That number is only expected to climb as wage-and-hour collective (class) action suits become increasingly common. Yet, despite the increase in legal action, countless employers across the state fail to take proactive steps to prevent and defend themselves in these suits. Read the full story.
FedEx Refusing to Turn Over IRS Audit on Contractor Status to Drivers' Lawyers
The International Brotherhood of Teamsters on Tuesday blasted FedEx Corporation subsidiary FedEx Ground for refusing to produce an Internal Revenue Service audit of FedEx Ground's "contractor" drivers to lawyers representing drivers in a federal class action lawsuit challenging various unfair and unlawful employment practices. Read the full story.
Fired workers sue Latrobe Specialty Steel
Latrobe Specialty Steel Co. is accused in a federal lawsuit of permitting an "entire culture" where pornographic e-mails were sent and received by many workers and management, including company President Hans J. Sack. Read the full story.
Judge: SunTrust can't make workers drop suit
A federal judge has told SunTrust Banks Inc. that it cannot force workers it plans to lay off next month to drop a pending wage-and-hours suit against the bank in exchange for their severance pay. The bank's attempt to condition its severance packages on laid-off workers' agreements to drop their suits is discriminatory under the Fair Labor Standards Act, according to U.S. District Judge Richard W. Story of the Northern District of Georgia. Read the full story.
$1 Million Settlement Proposed in ABRA Class Action Employment Suit
The plaintiffs in a class-action suit against ABRA Auto Body and Glass have proposed a total settlement of $1 million. The suit, filed last summer by two former ABRA employees, alleges that the company required customer service managers (CSMs) and customer service representatives (CSRs) to work overtime without pay and that it did so by misclassifying them as "managerial," which exempted them from overtime pay. Read the full story.
Tacoma-based trucking company sued for overtime
A Tacoma-based long-haul trucking company failed to pay its drivers legally required overtime wages when they drove more than 40 hours a week, a suit filed in Pierce County Superior Court claims. The suit, filed by former driver Larry Westberry, claims Interstate Distributor should have paid its drivers 11/2 times their normal per-mile rate when they drove more than 40 hours a week. Read the full story.
Class-action EEO rulings could be binding on agencies
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's administrative judges would have more power to settle class-action complaints under a regulation now in the works. Federal agencies now are allowed to either accept, reject or modify judges' findings in class-action complaints, but a regulation being crafted by the EEOC would require agencies to follow judges' conclusions. Read the full story.
Register barred from reporting testimony in case involving paper carriers
Superior Court Judge David C. Velasquez has ordered The Orange County Register not to publish any articles about witness testimony in a $100 million class-action lawsuit brought by newspaper delivery workers. The action involves some 6,000 current and former carriers. Velasquez also imposed a fine Tuesday of $23,792.50 on the Register's parent company - Freedom Communications Inc. - and its law firm for "intentionally and willfully destroy(ing) evidence." Read the full story.
Wal-Mart En Banc Session Packs House
A feisty 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals peppered lawyers for Wal-Mart and a gigantic class suing over gender discrimination, with neither side emerging Tuesday as the clear victor. Read the full story.
Citigroup gender bias case wins final approval
A federal judge on Wednesday granted final approval to Citigroup Inc's $33 million settlement to resolve a gender bias lawsuit brought by female brokers at its Smith Barney unit, court records show. Judge Phyllis Hamilton of the U.S. District Court in San Francisco signed off on the settlement at a hearing Wednesday morning, after granting preliminary approval in April. Read the full story.
Scattered To The Wind
One year after a federal immigration raid at Del Monte Fresh Produce, three ex-workers at the North Portland food-processing plant are trying to lead a class-action lawsuit against the fruit company and the staffing agency that hired them. The lawsuit by the three women alleges wage and overtime violations by Del Monte Fresh and American Staffing Resources, the plant?s employment agency in 2007. Read the full story.
Stores settle wage and hour class action for 15 million
Almost 200,000 former California employees of Albertson's, Lucky Stores and Sav-on Drug Stores (all now owned by SuperValu, Inc) will share $15 million to settle a class action alleging that the companies failed to pay the employees their final wages on their last day of work in violation of the California Labor Code, according to a court notice mailed to employees on May 14, 2008 (Ward v Albertson's, Inc, CalSupCt, No BC 237646, notice May 14, 2008). Read the full story.
Union Launches PwC Overtime Lawsuit Site
The labor union Unite Here has started a Web site to provide information about the progress of a class-action lawsuit against PricewaterhouseCoopers over the firm's overtime policies. The site, www.OverworkedAtPwC.info, monitors the lawsuit, which recently gained class-action status in California. Read the full story.
Court Withholds Final Nod To Morgan Stanley Race Bias Accord
Final approval of Morgan Stanley?s proposed $16 million race-discrimination settlement with African-American and Latino brokers was withheld by a federal court in California, following allegations that the settlement was reached without adequate consultation with the plaintiffs. Judge Thelton Henderson of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California raised uncertainty over adequate plaintiff representation in settlement negotiations. Read the full story.
Class Action Lawsuit Filed On Behalf of Deja Vu Exotic Dancers
On June 25, 2008, a class action was filed on behalf of exotic dancers who have worked at nine Deja Vu nightclubs over the past three years, claiming back wages, liquidated damages, penalties and injunctive relief alleged to be owed. The dancers assert that the companies named as Defendants in the action, Deja Vu Consulting Inc. and Cin-Lan Inc. misclassified all dancers at the nightclubs as independent contractors, as opposed to employees, and as a result, the dancers were not paid the minimum wages required by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the Michigan Minimum Wage Law (MWL). Read the full story.
Wal-Mart loses Round 1 in Minnesota labor suit
Is $6.5 million just the beginning? While a Minnesota judge ordered Wal-Mart Stores to pay that amount for shorting its workers on rest breaks and meal breaks and for allowing them to work off the clock, the next phase of a class-action wage trial has the potential to be much more punishing for the world's largest retailer. Read the full story.
Attorney Catherine Hagen Pepe Appointed Morgan Stanley Diversity Monitor
Attorney Catherine Hagen Pepe has been appointed to serve as an independent Diversity Monitor for Morgan Stanley's Global Wealth Management Group. As Diversity Monitor, Pepe is responsible for monitoring the Company's efforts to carry out the terms of a five-year, $46 million class action gender discrimination settlement with women Financial Advisors and Registered Financial Advisor Trainees, which the Company entered into last year. Read the full story.
Wal-Mart hammered by judge
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. broke Minnesota labor law more than 2 million times over six years, routinely forcing some employees to work off the clock through lunch and rest breaks, a Dakota County judge has ruled. Read the full story.
Court Granted Certification of an Employment Class Action Case Against Polo Ralph Lauren Corporation
Judge Susan Illston of the Northern District of California granted class certification to a California-wide employment lawsuit against Polo Ralph Lauren Corporation. The certified class consists of more than 5,300 former Polo employees who worked as sales associates or cashiers in one of Polo's California stores at any time since May 2002, who either contend Polo misclassified them as exempt from premium overtime wage requirements, or those whose commission wages Polo debited when they did not meet sales targets. Read the full story.
Ex-editor challenges TripAdvisor labor policies
A former Web content editor for TripAdvisor LLC has filed a complaint in Norfolk Superior Court on behalf of herself and other content providers for the popular travel website, alleging the Newton company, owned by Expedia Inc., violates Massachusetts law by classifying them as independent contractors rather than employees. Read the full story.
Cheesecake Factory sued by workers
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has filed suit against Cheesecake Factory Inc., saying male-on-male sexual harassment occurred at one of the chain's restaurants and that supervisors ignored complaints. Read the full story.
Workers Can't Catch a Break From Calif. Court
In a major victory for the business community, a California appeal court ruled that employers are only required to provide meal and rest breaks for their workers, not ensure they're taken. The 53-page ruling by San Diego's 4th District Court of Appeal also said employers can't be held liable for working employees off the clock unless they knew they were doing so. Read the full story.
Cops claim bias in suit against Denver Police Department
Sixteen current or former officers, all of them Latino, are filing a class-action lawsuit alleging longtime discrimination patterns against the Denver Police Department. The lawsuit claims minorities have not been promoted like whites, have been pushed out of the training academy and have been forced into a hostile work environment. Read the full story.
Caribou Coffee ground down employee tips, lawsuit claims
Most waiters and baristas consider tips, whether added to a check or tucked into a jar near the cash register, to be an important part of their compensation. So important, in fact, that at least three Minnesota businesses are facing class action lawsuits over forcing workers to pool tips and give managers a cut. Read the full story.
Dell lawsuit raised to class action
Telephone sales representatives who worked at Dell computer call centers in five states are eligible to join in a lawsuit filed by two of the company?s former Roseburg employees, according to a ruling by a U.S. District Court judge in Eugene. Read the full story.
California Employer Sues State Over Wage Claims for Illegal Workers
The owner of a downtown Los Angeles sushi restaurant facing wage payment claims by two alleged undocumented workers has launched a novel counterattack by filing a class-action lawsuit against the California labor commissioner for defying federal immigration law. Read the full story.
Apple sued for indentured servitude
A lawsuit filed Monday in California seeks class action status alleging that Apple denied technical staffers required overtime pay and meal compensation in violation of state law. Filed in the US District Court for Southern California, the complaint claims that many Apple employees are routinely subjected to working conditions resembling indentured servitude. Read the full story.
Dallas telemarketer accused of bias
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission sued Paramount Multiservices Inc. and Paramount Teleservices LLC Tuesday, alleging sex discrimination. The EEOC's suit alleges that former employee Amy Tucker and other women were discriminated against and worked in a hostile environment. Read the full story.
Judge grants class-action status to U-46 bias suit
A federal judge has granted class-action status to a racial bias lawsuit filed 3 years ago against Illinois' second largest school district. In a Friday filing, Federal Judge Robert W. Gettleman ruled that two groups of Elgin Area School District U-46 students could receive future remedies if they prevail in the lawsuit. Read the full story.
Fair Labor Standards Act: What IT Workers Need to Know
The class-action lawsuit that a former Apple network engineer filed last Monday has put tech workers' relationship with the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) into the spotlight. Many IT pros are watching the case with interest since it boils down to a pocketbook issue: compensation for overtime. At issue: are networking professionals-network engineers, network administrators and network support staff-covered by the FLSA? Read the full story.
California Court Clarifies Duty of Citizens to Bear Witness in TV Writers Litigation
The California Court of Appeal cleared the way last week for plaintiffs to begin prosecution in earnest after an eight-year logjam in the television writers' age discrimination class action litigation. The ruling clarified the law concerning the rights of citizens to refuse to bear witness and, in these cases, to refuse to be counted for statistical purposes, according to attorneys for the plaintiffs at Sprenger + Lang. Read the full story.
FedEx Loses Investors as Courts Upend Founder's Model
FedEx Corp. tells its ground-service drivers when to work, what to charge customers and what kind of socks and shoes to wear, the workers say. Drivers who sued the company argue that makes them employees. Founder and Chief Executive Officer Fred Smith, who has served as co-chair of U.S. Republican presidential candidate John McCain's campaign, opposes changing their status from independent contractors to employees. The trouble is the FedEx CEO isn't getting much support from shareholders. Read the full story.
Your matchmaker for class action lawsuits: SueEasy
SueEasy.com is a matchmaking app that connects people who have major and minor grievances in life with attorneys eager to file class action lawsuits for them. Like any good Web app, SueEasy is free, simple, and perhaps even effective. Read the full story.
Wal-Mart Shareholders Benefit From Judge's Pay Ruling
Wal-Mart Stores Inc., facing as much as $2 billion in damages in a Minnesota employee-pay trial, may be shielded from similar cases in the future thanks to a 2005 federal law. The statute requires federal courts to handle class-action lawsuits of $5 million or more when plaintiffs and defendants are from different states. Read the full story.
Bonneville Hot Springs to Pay $470,000 for Class Sexual Harassment and Retaliation
North Bonneville, Wash., resort destination Bonneville Hot Springs will pay $470,000 to a class of sexual harassment and retaliation victims to settle a lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the EEOC announced today. Read the full story.
Fastenal to pay $10 million settlement
Winona-based industrial supplies seller Fastenal Co. announced Friday it will pay a $10 million class-action settlement to former employees who sued the company last year for unpaid overtime wages and work-break pay. It was unclear how many people would be paid as a result of the settlement, but more than 2,000 current and former employees may have been entitled to back-pay from as far back as 2003, according to estimates made in October by an attorney for the plaintiffs. Read the full story.
A Legal Smackdown
Like a flying elbow delivered from the top rope, a federal lawsuit is taking a vicious swipe at World Wrestling Entertainment, claiming that the Stamford company has long misclassified its performers as independent contractors and denied them benefits. Meanwhile, the WWE plans to counter the suit filed by three former wrestlers with a motion to dismiss to be filed later this month in federal court in New Haven. Read the full story.
Minn. company to allow Somalis prayer breaks
Gold'n Plump Poultry Inc. has agreed to allow Somali workers to take short prayer breaks and to refuse handling pork at the St. Cloud-based company's poultry processing facilities, under a federally mediated settlement. The agreement is among the first in the nation that requires employers to accommodate the Islamic prayer schedule and the belief, held by many strict Muslims, that the Quran prohibits the touching and eating of pork products. Read the full story.
11th Circuit Court of Appeals Affirms Skycap Ruling
In a case that promises to impact the aviation industry, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that aviation services provider, Business Representation International, Inc. (BRI), in a high-profile wage-and-hour class action brought by 53 skycaps, was not liable for back wages. In Pellon v. BRI, the skycaps unsuccessfully argued that BRI violated minimum wage requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and sought back wages as compensation, claiming that BRI failed to apportion the skycaps' job duties between tipped and non-tipped tasks. Read the full story.
MIA skycaps' tip lawsuit may affect other cases
Jason Pellon, a skycap at Miami International Airport, survives on tips. While most airport service workers are paid at least $10 an hour, Pellon receives just $3.60 an hour from the contractor he works for, a legal wage for tipped employees. But when airlines began charging passengers $2 cash per bag for curbside check-in in 2005, Pellon saw his tips plummet. Hoping to recover lost tips, Pellon and 52 other skycaps sued their employer, Business Representation International, a Miami company that services the airport, in late 2006. In December a Miami court ruled against the skycaps, stating that they were not entitled to damages and that BRI did not violate the Fair Labor Standards Act. The skycaps appealed, but last week the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals made what is effectively a final ruling in favor of BRI. Read the full story.
Judge Rules That Gristede?s Broke Law on Overtime Pay
A federal judge has ruled that Gristede?s violated federal and state laws by failing to pay overtime to hundreds of lower-level managers at its supermarkets. As a result of the decision by Judge Paul A. Crotty of Federal District Court in Manhattan on Thursday, lawyers for more than 400 current and former Gristede?s managers predicted that the company would be forced to pay the plaintiffs $25 million. Read the full story.
Age charges left standing in EPA case
Just weeks after the regional office of the Environmental Protection Agency informed employees of an administrative class action against the agency, a judge has dismissed a parallel court proceeding. U.S. District Judge Carlos Murguia ruled last week that the named plaintiffs had failed to exhaust their remedies because they never filed formal complaints. Read the full story.
Sterling Jewelers Sued for Sex Discrimination
Sterling Jewelers Inc., the largest specialty retail jeweler in the country, violated federal law by discriminating against a large class of female employees at stores nationwide, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charges in a systemic lawsuit filed yesterday under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. Read the full story.
Dealers stiffed in fight for tips
Two Wynn Las Vegas dealers who filed a class action lawsuit in 2006 to end a tip-pooling program implemented at the Strip casino lost their case Thursday before the Nevada Supreme Court. The court said in a unanimous decision written by Justice Michael Douglas that the Nevada labor commissioner was the appropriate person to consider complaints under the state's labor laws. Read the full story.
Heller faces class action suit by laid-off staff
Three laid-off Heller Ehrman employees have filed a class action complaint against the dissolving firm, asking for a jury trial over money they feel they should still be paid, reports The Recorder. The complaint, filed on Monday (20 September), proposes various classes, to potentially cover "hundreds" of staff and associates who have been or will be laid off since shortly after the firm's vote to dissolve. Read the full story.
Class Action Fairness Act Achieves Goal, but With a Catch
Although the federal Class Action Fairness Act is achieving its goal of shifting the typical multistate class action from state court to federal court, a "paradoxical" result is a surge in single-state class actions designed to avoid the federal law's removal provisions, according to a recent study. Read the full story.
New York is the latest state to adopt its own version of the WARN Act, which requires notification of plant closings and mass layoffs. Each state's law may be slightly different, so HR leaders need to ensure compliance -- and lawsuits alleging violations of such laws seem to be on the rise. Read the full story.
Layoffs Herald a Heyday for Employee Lawsuits
First layoffs, then lawsuits. More workers are being let go as corporate layoffs that began in earnest last year have accelerated in recent weeks. And more often, people are looking around and complaining that they have been unfairly or improperly dismissed. Read the full story.
Class action status granted in discrimination suit
A New Jersey judge has granted class-action status to an age discrimination lawsuit against Florham Park-based BASF Corporation. G. Martin Meyers, the plaintiffs' lawyer, said Wednesday that a judge ruled Jan. 31 that the case can proceed on behalf of all former BASF Corporation employees laid off between January 2002 and June 2007, who were age 40 or over at the time. Read the full story.
Law firm alleges age discrimination in Livermore lab layoffs
An Oakland law firm on Tuesday announced its intention to file age discrimination complaints with a state agency on behalf of 100 workers laid off in May by Lawrence Livermore National Security. The corporation, formed by a partnership between the University of California and several companies led by Bechtel Corp., operates Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Read the full story.
Aid headed to free legal service
With an increase in clientele combined with scarce funding, the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland has experienced difficulties just like many other charitable organizations in these tough economic times. Today, Legal Aid will receive money from Dworken & Bernstein Co., L.P.A. in an attempt to help the organization service some of its clients. The donation is part of Dworken & Bernstein's Ohio Lawyers Give Back, which was founded by the Painesville law firm in April 2007. Ohio Lawyers Give Back promotes the use of cy pres in class action settlements. Read the full story.
Wal-Mart Settles South Carolina Wage, Hour Suit
South Carolina Walmart workers who claim they were not paid for time worked will get $49 million to settle a class action lawsuit. The settlement will conclude more than six years of litigation concerning Wal-Mart's employment practices in South Carolina. Wal-Mart in the settlement agreed to maintain electronic systems, surveys and notices to protect workers' rights. Read the full story.
Spotlight Put on Federal, State WARN Acts in Tough Economy
Klehr Harrison Harvey Branzburg & Ellers partner Charles Ercole got a call in early February just days after 1,000 workers were laid off from the Virginia plant of electronic memory manufacturer Qimonda. A group of the employees didn't feel they were given proper notice of the layoffs under the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, or WARN Act....Ercole, who has both defended and prosecuted WARN Act violation claims, has since signed on at least 165 employees to a class action suit, Blair v. Qimonda North America, which he filed against the company Feb. 9 in federal court in Virginia. Read the full story.
Wal-Mart workers in Missouri to share at least $55 million in settlement
Wal-Mart workers in Missouri will get $55.53 million or more under a settlement approved last week as part of a nationwide resolution of overtime claims against the company. The settlement, which received preliminary approval from Jackson County Circuit Judge Sandra Midkiff on Feb. 11, resolves a long-running lawsuit alleging the retail giant forced workers to work through rest and meal breaks. Read the full story.
Laid-off Workers Want Their Severance
Desperate to save money and often struggling to keep their companies solvent, many employers are giving in to the temptation to skimp on severance when downsizing. A surprisingly large number aren't giving employees the 60 days' notice or severance pay that's required under the WARN Act. Read the full story.
Ruling opens PPG to class-action suit
PPG erred by forcing fired workers to sign waivers barring them from suing the company for age discrimination, a federal judge has ruled. U.S. District Judge Arthur J. Schwab signed an order late Thursday adopting the recommendations of a special master handling a 2007 civil lawsuit in which five former employees accused PPG of firing them for being too old and costly. Schwab's decision paves the way for him to certify the lawsuit as a class action that could be joined by other fired PPG employees and allow the case to go to trial. Read the full story.
Dave & Buster's Wins California Tip Pool Case
In a case closely watched by the restaurant and hospitality industry, Dallas-based Dave & Buster's has won a California appellate court ruling affirming the restaurant's policy requiring waitstaff to contribute a portion of their tips to a pool to be shared with bartenders. Read the full story.
9th Circuit Deals a Blow to Plaintiffs Lawyers in 'Principal Place of Business' Test
In a blow to plaintiffs class action lawyers, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has made it tougher to hold that a national company is a "citizen" of California merely based on the disproportionate size of the state's population. Read the full story.
Construction workers win $8.5-million settlement
Thousands of mostly Latino workers will share in an $8.5-million settlement with a national construction firm they had accused in a class-action lawsuit of violating California's wage and hour laws, attorneys in the case said Tuesday. Read the full story.
Obama Administration Sides With Wal-Mart Workers
The Obama administration sided with women suing Wal-Mart Stores Inc. for discrimination, urging a federal appeals court to let the current and former workers sue as a group and proceed with the biggest sex-bias case in U.S. history. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, weighing in on the lawsuit for the first time since it was filed in 2001, rejected Wal-Mart?s argument that as many as 2 million workers shouldn?t be allowed to seek back pay and punitive damages as a group because that would violate the company?s right to defend itself against each worker?s claims before a jury. Read the full story.
Pay Equity: Will Lilly Help Betty?
Two women willing to insist ? for more than eight years running ? on their right to equal pay for equal work have generated considerable publicity. Their persistence may help explain a 14 percent increase in sex-discrimination charges filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in 2008 ? a noticeable jump from preceding years. Read the full story.
American Idol producer hit with lawsuit
Former employees have filed a class-action lawsuit against "American Idol" producer FremantleMedia North America. The suit alleges that the company systematically overworked employees without paying the required overtime, falsified time cards and denied staffers meals and rest periods. Read the full story.
EEOC Reverses Stance on Wal-Mart Class in Gender Bias Case
The federal government got off the sidelines Thursday to throw a few blocks for plaintiffs in a huge gender class action against Wal-Mart. The move is a reversal by the U.S. Equal Employment and Opportunity Commission, which had previously decided to sit the case out. Read the full story.
3rd Circuit Rejects Certification in UPS Discrimination Case
The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has reversed a district court's certification of a nationwide class of employees alleging unlawful discrimination by United Parcel Service. Read the full story.
Dell settles Austin discrimination case for $9.1 million
Dell Inc. agreed Thursday to pay $9.1 million to settle a class-action lawsuit that claimed the company had discriminated against female employees. In October, two former employees, Jill Hubley and Laura Guenther, sued Dell in federal court in Austin, alleging a "practice of gender discrimination with respect to compensating and promoting female employees" within the company. Read the full story.
Largest Garment Manufacturers in Saipan to Pay $1.7 Million in Landmark DIiscrimination Settlement with EEOC
L&T Group of Companies, Ltd., the largest employer and conglomerate of garment manufacturers in Saipan, has agreed to pay $1.7 million and to provide far reaching and significant injunctive relief to settle a series of lawsuits filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) that charged the company with retaliation and discrimination based on national origin, pregnancy and age, all in violation of federal law. Read the full story.
Workplace Discriminations: Bloomberg Questioned
Bloomberg LP, the financial data analysis and media organisation, was founded by Michael Bloomberg, the Mayor of New York. The company is facing class action suits on account of alleged discrimination against the fairer sex. Read the full story.
Kodak Agrees to Settle Race Discrimination Lawsuit
Eastman Kodak Co. has agreed to pay $21.4 million to settle legal action brought by black workers who claim the photography products maker paid and promoted them less than their white co-workers. Read the full story.
Doctor Can take Beth Israel to Court
The state?s highest court yesterday ruled that a doctor fired as head of anesthesiology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center can proceed with a sex discrimination lawsuit in court, rebuffing the Boston hospital?s contention the case should be heard by an arbitrator. Read the full story.
3rd Circuit Rejects Certification in UPS Discrimination Case
The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has reversed a district court's certification of a nationwide class of employees alleging unlawful discrimination by United Parcel Service. Read the full story.
Navajo File Class Action Lawsuit Against BIA
Thousands of Navajo citizens currently or formerly employed by the Bureau of Indian Affairs or Bureau of Indian Education have joined together for a large-scale class action lawsuit filed Thursday in federal court. Read the full story.
Campbell Soup Company Charged with Discrimination Against African American Employees in Nationwide Class Action Suit
A nationwide class action lawsuit has been filed against Campbell Soup Company, charging that African American employees are denied professional development opportunities. The lawsuit has been filed in Camden, New Jersey, home of Campbell's headquarters. Filing on behalf of the Plaintiff Chester Hicks and the proposed Class are the Houston, Texas based firm, Nelkin, Nelkin & Krock, P.C., and Sidney L. Gold & Associates, based in Philadelphia. Read the full story.
Wal-Mart in Final Settlement of $17.5M Bias Suit
A federal judge has given final approval to a $17.5 million settlement reached after black truck drivers sued retail giant Wal-Mart Stores Inc. U.S. District Judge Bill Wilson Jr. on Wednesday signed an order approving the settlement in the class-action case. Read the full story.
Justices Rule for White Firemen In Bias Lawsuit
The Supreme Court yesterday restricted how far employers may go in considering race in hiring and promotion decisions, a ruling that puts workplaces across the nation on notice that efforts to combat potential discrimination against one group can amount to actual discrimination against another. Read the full story.
Settlement, Legal Fees OK'd in GE Retirement Class Action
A federal judge has approved a settlement worth just over $40 million between General Electric and retirees over the company's decision to put up GE stock as an investment and matching contribution in its retirement program. Retirees contended the investment of company stock was not economically prudent and that their retirement benefits suffered as a result, Northern District of New York Judge Gary L. Sharpe noted. Read the full story.
Settlement, Legal Fees OK'd in GE Retirement Class Action
A federal judge has approved a settlement worth just over $40 million between General Electric and retirees over the company's decision to put up GE stock as an investment and matching contribution in its retirement program. Retirees contended the investment of company stock was not economically prudent and that their retirement benefits suffered as a result, Northern District of New York Judge Gary L. Sharpe noted. Read the full story.
Former TBW employees file class-action lawsuit
Less than a week after Taylor, Bean & Whitaker notified nearly 1,000 employees at its Ocala headquarters ? and an unknown number of employees elsewhere in the country ? that it was eliminating their jobs, the wholesale mortgage lender faces a lawsuit brought on behalf of those workers. Read the full story.
Employment class actions by the government are coming back
The Obama Administration is gearing up to investigate and file discrimination and employment compensation class actions far beyond what we?ve seen in the last eight years. Read the full story.
Nucor-Yamato Prevails in Local Lawsuit
Nucor-Yamato Steel Company prevails in a lawsuit that was finally heard by a jury in Jonesboro, Arkansas. The case filed seven years ago claimed a nationwide class action on a variety of employment claims. When the nationwide class action was dismissed, the Alabama plaintiffs' lawyers sought a plant-wide class. This too was dismissed leaving a handful of individual plaintiffs who proceeded to a jury verdict. Read the full story.
Sides spar as Deere benefits trial opens
As the class-action lawsuit filed by Deere retirees against the Moline manufacturer got under way in U.S. District Court, Davenport, the plaintiffs - who represent about 5,000 salaried retirees in the class - laid out a case of "broken promises" stemming from Deere's new health plan for the group of flex retirees. Meanwhile, Deere's attorneys began to produce evidence of how the company repeatedly communicated that it reserved the right to change, amend or eliminate its health-care plan. Read the full story.
Walmart to Finally Pay Some Workers
Today Walmart announced it will pay $85 million dollars to hundreds of thousands of current and former Walmart workers for not compensating them for the work they performed. This lawsuit settlement is the latest in a string of multi-million dollar payouts by Walmart as it attempts to distance itself from a track record of poor employment practices and violations of workplace laws. Nebraska employees of any Wal-Mart store or supercenter, Neighborhood Market, Sam?s Club or distribution center may be eligible for a portion of the settlement. In Nebraska, individuals had to work for the company between Dec. 8, 2000, and Feb. 27, 2009 to file a claim. Read the full story.
Station Casinos wants 'breathing room' from employee wage suit
Station Casinos Inc. of Las Vegas wants a lawsuit over employee wages to be put on hold, saying it's entitled to some "breathing room" from such litigation during its bankruptcy proceedings. Read the full story.
Nashville Faces Potential Employment Discrimination Class Action
Nashville Electric Service and the Nashville municipal government are facing a potential class action employment lawsuit over allegations that they engaged in racial discrimination against African Americans related to job promotion and hiring, and forced them to work in a racially hostile environment. Read the full story.
Pensions for Miami Firefighters and Police Officers did not Create the Mess We're in Today
The Miami administration has contended that employee pensions have caused the financial turmoil. If you believe that, I know of a bridge in Brooklyn you might want to buy. The city?s pension dilemma was a long time in the making -- from way back when the city had control of the various pension boards. From the days when it was common practice for administrators to allow their banking and investment buddies to dump their underperforming stocks in the fire and police pension funds. From a time when the city was illegally pulling out pension profits to pay Workers Compensation claims. The unionized firefighters finally had enough of this foolishness. When the problems couldn?t be corrected through the negotiation process, they filed a class-action law suit (the so-called Gates Suit) against the city. The firefighters prevailed in their endeavor, and part of the settlement was to have more firefighters and police officers than city administrators on the pension board. Read the full story.
Former KEYT Employees File Lawsuit
In a lawsuit filed last week in Santa Barbara County Superior Court, two former KEYT Channel 3 employees alleged the company committed a string of labor code violations, including failure to pay overtime. Read the full story.
Deere retirees' lawsuit goes to judge
After a two-year battle over a new health plan led a group of Deere & Co. retirees to take their former employer to court, the class-action lawsuit officially went to the judge Tuesday. More than 50 Deere retirees - who are considered part of the class - packed the Davenport courtroom as attorneys for both sides gave their closing arguments before Judge Charles Wolle. The lawsuit stems from a new health plan Deere rolled in 2007 for a group of 5,000 flex retirees, most of whom were salaried workers. Read the full story.
Judge sides with Deere in retirees' suit
A federal judge has ruled in favor of Deere & Co. in a class-action lawsuit stemming from a change in health care benefits that pitted a group of retirees against their former employer. In a 44-page ruling filed Friday, Judge Charles Wolle found in favor of the Moline equipment maker on all four counts of the federal suit. While eight individual retirees were named as plaintiffs, the class represents nearly 5,000 retirees - mostly salaried workers - who are covered by the new health plan introduced by Deere in 2007. Read the full story.
LA Clippers Owner Pays Millions in Discrimination Suit
Los Angeles Clippers owner and real estate mogul Donald Sterling has agreed to pay a record $2.725 million to settle allegations by the government that he refused to rent apartments to Hispanics, blacks and to families with children, the Justice Department announced Tuesday. Read the full story.
Topless Club Hit with Lawsuit over Dancer Wages
A topless nightclub in Las Vegas was hit with a class-action lawsuit Monday claiming its dancers aren't really independent contractors -- and instead are employees entitled to regular wages and overtime. Read the full story.
Wal-Mart Wins Final Approval of Workers? Wage Suit Settlement
Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world?s largest retailer, won final approval of a settlement paying as much as $85 million to hourly workers who sued over allegations of unpaid wages. U.S. District Judge Philip M. Pro in Las Vegas approved the settlement yesterday and awarded one-third of the recovery in fees to the workers? lawyers, up to about $28 million depending on the claims made. Walmart is to pay at least $65 million and as much as $85 million. Read the full story.
Blytheville Nucor Plant Had Racially Hostile Work Environment, Jury Rules
A federal court jury in Jonesboro has ruled in favor of six black employees of Nucor-Yamato Steel Co. in a race discrimination case that included evidence of lynching re-enactments and portrayals of black employees as monkeys. On Thursday, 11 white and one black juror unanimously found the Charlotte, N.C., company liable for supervisor racial hostility and co-worker racial hostility at its Blytheville steel plant based, in part, on the acts of Dan DiMicco, who is now the CEO of Nucor. The six plaintiffs were each granted $100,000 in compensatory damages and $100,000 in punitive damages, for a total of $1.2 million. Read the full story.
Sacramento employee files class action discrimination suit against Jos. A. Bank
A Sacramento attorney has filed a class action against one of the nation?s leading retailers of upscale men?s clothing, alleging racial discrimination against thousands of black employees in more than 140 stores throughout the western United States. Anthony Perez filed the complaint against Jos. A. Bank Clothiers Inc. on Thursday in U.S. District Court in San Francisco. Read the full story.
Court affirms class-action lawsuit for former N.O. public school employees
Eleven months after New Orleans Civil District Court Judge Ethel Simms-Julien certified a class-action lawsuit filed on behalf of more than 8,500 former employees of Orleans Parish Public Schools who were terminated after the State of Louisiana seized control of more than 100 public schools in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, the Louisiana Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal has affirmed the decision of the trial court. Read the full story.
No shortage of new laws for 2010
Each year brings a new set of laws for employers to comply with, and this year is no exception. Read the full story.
Wal-Mart will pay $40m to workers
Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world?s largest retailer, has agreed to pay $40 million to as many as 87,500 current and former employees in Massachusetts, the largest wage-and-hour class-action settlement in the state?s history. The class-action lawsuit, filed in 2001, accused the retailer of denying workers rest and meal breaks, refusing to pay overtime, and manipulating time cards to lower employees? pay. Read the full story.
Top Wage-Hour Class Action Settlements Soared in 2009
The top 10 private wage-and-hour settlements paid or agreed to in 2009 under the Fair Labor Standards Act totaled $363.6 million, a 43.9% increase from 2008, according to an annual report released this month. Read the full story.
Rockville-based contractor settles class-action lawsuit
A Rockville (MD)-based construction services contractor accused in a federal class-action lawsuit of failing to pay overtime and regular pay to hundreds of workers has agreed to settle the suit by paying more than $600,000 to current and former employees. Read the full story.
Class Action Lawsuit Claims Beverage Distributor Violated New York Labor Law
In an effort to combat the plight of workers in the food processing industry in New York, a non-profit workers' rights organization has filed a class action suit against Beverage Plus, a delivery company, over alleged violations of New York labor law. Read the full story.
Village of Mineola and Mineola Fire Department Settle EEOC Age Discrimination Suit
The Incorporated Village of Mineola, N.Y., and the Mineola Fire Department will pay $237,072 to settle a class age discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today. The damages will be made in retroactive payments to a group of 25 firefighters who had been discriminated against based on their age and provide increased monthly pension amounts going forward to several firefighters. Read the full story.
Women Employees Sue Bank of America and Merrill Lynch for Alleged Sex Discrimination
Three female Financial Advisors filed a national class action lawsuit today in federal court in New York, charging sex discrimination at Bank of America and Merrill Lynch. Since its merger with Merrill Lynch, Bank of America is the nation's largest bank company, one of the largest financial institutions in the world, and the largest brokerage firm in the world. Read the full story.
Three More Decide to Sue Bloomberg L.P.
Three more women have been permitted to join a class-action lawsuit that accuses Bloomberg L.P., the financial services and media company founded by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, of discriminating against pregnant employees, a federal judge said Thursday. Read the full story.
Hospitality Overtime Lawsuits Heating Up
A class action legal settlement has been reached that could restore the Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis plans to be more aggressive in enforcing federal employment laws such as the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and has asked for additional funding to hire hundreds of new compliance officers for the Department of Labor (DOL)'s Wage and Hour Division, which covers overtime issues. This would increase the size of the Division by a third. Read the full story.
Arrest in Racial Case at N.J. Wal-Mart
The authorities in southern New Jersey said Saturday that they had arrested a 16-year-old boy for activating a public-address system at a Wal-Mart store last week and ordering ?all black people? to leave. Read the full story.
Mercury Air Centers pays $600k in settlement
Mercury Air Centers has agreed to pay seven Burbank employees and other members of a class-action lawsuit $600,000 to settle claims that they experienced racial discrimination and sexual harassment. Read the full story.
Wage and Hour Litigation Tops List of Employment Class Action Claims
According to a 2010 survey of more than 1,800 senior legal and HR professionals conducted by ELT, leading specialists in ethics and workplace compliance training, one-third of respondents indicated that their organization had been hit with a wage and hour claim in the past year. Accordingly, 54 percent of respondents indicated that despite the troubled economy, their organization has increased its 2010 spend on wage and hour compliance. Read the full story.
Former NOPS employees can proceed with class-action
The state Supreme Court has decided not to block a class-action lawsuit challenging the dismissal of New Orleans public school employees following Hurricane Katrina. Read the full story.
Court Certifies Class in Class Action Lawsuit for Unpaid Overtime
In the summer of 2009, many employers let out a sigh of relief when the Ontario Superior Court of Justice refused to certify a proposed class action seeking unpaid overtime that was brought forward by certain CIBC employees. The employees are appealing that decision. Employers may have to take another deep breath, as last week, a different judge of the same Court certified a class action for unpaid overtime allegedly owing to approximately 5,000 sales staff working in the retail branches of Scotiabank (Fulawaka v The Bank of Nova Scotia, 1010 ONSC 1148), leaving the law on this matter once again unsettled. An application for leave to appeal that decision has been filed by The Bank of Nova Scotia. The judge in this case distinguished the CIBC case on certain differences between the respective employers? overtime policies and hours tracking practices. Read the full story.
Les Schwab Tire Centers to Pay $2M Because Women Can Change a Tire
A Seattle tire dealer will pay $2 million for hiring practices that seemed to presume that women can't change a car tire. Read the full story.
Walmart Faces The Largest Sex Discrimination Lawsuit In U.S. History
On Monday, a federal appeals court in San Francisco voted to allow a sex discrimination lawsuit against Walmart to move forward as a class-action case. What began in 2001 by six female employees will now include more than a million women and may cost the retailer billions in damages. It is the largest sex discrimination case in U.S. history. Read the full story.
Wal-Mart asks Supreme Court to block giant gender bias lawsuit
Retail giant Wal-Mart on Wednesday asked the US Supreme Court to overturn a lower court ruling allowing more than 1.5 million women employees of the company to join together in what would become the largest class-action employment lawsuit in history. Read the full story.
Suit alleges exploitation of Filipino teachers in La.
Hundreds of Filipino teachers recruited to teach in Louisiana schools were thrust into massive debt, unsavory living conditions and, in effect, indentured servitude, an attorney charges in a class action lawsuit to be filed today. Read the full story.
Pay practice violations: DOL looks at meal breakys, other overtime issues
Hospitals and health systems might want to double-check that they are appropriately paying employee overtime to avoid the potential interest of either the federal government or labor attorneys with an eye to class-action lawsuits. The U.S. Department of Labor's (DOL) Wage and Hour Division has increased its investigation staff by one-third, adding 250 new investigators to help ferret out violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FSLA) and ensure workers receive "every penny they earn," Kenneth Stripling, a Birmingham, Ala.-based DOL official, told the New York Times. Read the full story.
NYC lawsuit: Census Bureau discriminated in hiring
Civil rights groups on Thursday accused the U.S. Census Bureau of discrimination in its hiring of more than a million temporary workers to conduct the 2010 census, saying it ignored a warning from a federal agency that its hiring practices might violate the Civil Rights Act. Read the full story.
State workers union files lawsuit over longevity pay
The Maine State Employees Association has filed a class-action lawsuit alleging the current state budget that eliminated longevity pay for state workers in the last budget year discriminates against older workers. Read the full story.
Toshiba U.S. Business Sued Over Pay, Promotions Of Women
Electronics maker Toshiba Corp.’s U.S. business became the latest major corporation doing business in the U.S. to face a class-action lawsuit over how it pays and promotes women. On Monday, law firm Sanford Wittels & Heisler brought a $100 million gender discrimination lawsuit in federal court in Manhattan on behalf of a potential class of as many as 8,000 women working for Toshiba in the U.S. Read the full story.
Verizon cheated workers on overtime, breaks, class action says
Verizon is facing a proposed class-action lawsuit filed by a FiOS field manager who alleges the company cut costs by refusing to pay overtime and forcing employees to work through mandated meal and rest breaks. In a complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California, plaintiff Ulysses Aburto says Verizon told him and other FiOS field managers that they were salaried employees and therefore exempt from the overtime requirements of California wage and hour laws. Read the full story.
After nearly 10 years, sex-harassment suit may finally be settled
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is about to conclude what its attorneys suspect is the longest discrimination lawsuit in the history of its Chicago office. It's not a record they are proud of. The case dates to June 12, 2001. The EEOC brought a class-action suit on behalf of more than 100 women against International Profit Associates Inc., a Buffalo Grove consulting business, alleging a pattern of sexual harassment. Nearly 10 years later, the two sides are hammering out details of a settlement in which the company has agreed to pay the class $8 million. Read the full story.
France's Publicis faces $100 million gender bias lawsuit
A former public relations employee has sued Publicis Groupe SA for $100 million, saying the French advertising company discriminates against women in pay and promotions. Women make up 70 percent of the company's public relations staff but hold only about 15 percent of leadership positions, the lawsuit says. "A Publicis woman's place is in the back of the line, far removed from senior management positions, almost all of which are reserved for the men," the complaint contends. Read the full story.
Wal-Mart Sex Discrimination Class Action Plaintiffs Urge Supreme Court To Uphold Historic Civil Rights and Workers' Laws in Brief Filed 2/22/11
- In a brief filed today in the United States Supreme Court, Plaintiffs in the Dukes v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., sex discrimination case argued that overwhelming evidence supports the lower court's class certification order and that overturning that decision would dismantle the "fundamental pillars" of the Civil Rights Act employment discrimination laws. At issue is whether hundreds of thousands of women who work or have worked in Wal-Mart retail stores since Dec. 26, 1998, can collectively seek an injunction and lost pay against the nation's largest retailer for discriminatory wages and career advancement. Read the full story.
Female Wal-Mart workers urge high court to let class action suit stand
The 1.2 million present and former female Wal-Mart workers represented in the world’s largest class action suit have formally urged the U.S. Supreme Court to let their class-action lawsuit stand – and their joint case against the monster retailer finally go to trial. Read the full story.
Washington Firm Demands Fee Cut of TV Writers' Settlement Fund
Kator, Parks & Weiser, an employment law firm in Washington, is demanding more than $75,000 in legal fees for work representing a group of television writers in an age discrimination class action. Read the full story.
'Janie Q's' Class Warfare at Wal-Mart
Wal-Mart bosses refer to their women workers as "Janie Q's." That's according to lawyers who are representing 1.6 million Janie Q's who are suing the giant retailer for sexual discrimination. Whether the class action status of this litigation survives will be determined by June of 2011, when the Supreme Court is expected to rule -- roughly 10 years after the lawsuit was originally filed. But this week, Janie Q punched back. Read the full story.
Howard Industries Lawsuit Helps Fuel Myth of Black and Latino Beef
Four black women filed a discrimination lawsuit in U.S. District court against Mississippi company Howard Industries claiming that the electrical equipment distribution company showed preferential treatment in hiring Latino workers, many of whom were undocumented. It is just the latest chapter in the labor and immigration controversies that have surrounded the company since August 25, 2008, when Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials raided Howard and detained 595 employees who were undocumented. The raid remains the largest-ever worksite raid in U.S. history. Read the full story.
Workers File Lawsuit Against New Lenox Staffing Agency
A lawyer, an advocate and five warehouse workers marched into the Dirksen Federal Courthouse in downtown Chicago on Monday morning to file a class-action lawsuit against a New Lenox staffing agency that they say shortchanged its workers. The case language alleges the workers and other laborers similarly situated were denied overtime and other promised wages owed to them and even, in many cases, denied the minimum wage. Read the full story.
Lawsuit Charges Cigna with Gender Discrimination
A veteran Cigna Corp. manager sued the U.S. health insurer March 3, 2011, saying it unfairly blocks female employees from promotions and higher-paying jobs. The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Boston, seeks $100 million in damages and asks for class-action status. Bretta Karp, a 14-year-veteran of Cigna, charged in court papers the company last year denied her a promotion because she ''came across as too aggressive'' in an interview and went on to take away her largest territories after she complained. Read the full story.
2 Brooklyn grocers face class-action suits
Workers at two Brooklyn supermarkets filed class-action lawsuits March 3, 2011, alleging the owners of the shops violated minimum wage and overtime laws. The suits, filed against a Fine Fare and a Key Food, are part of an ongoing campaign by New York Communities for Change—the successor to Acorn— and Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Local 338 to improve conditions for low-wage supermarket workers in the city. Read the full story.
Wells Fargo Settles Sex Discrimination Claims For $32 Million
Wells Fargo Advisors has tentatively agreed to a $32 million settlement of a federal class-action gender discrimination lawsuit brought in 2009 by three women financial advisors who worked at its legacy Wachovia Securities brokerage. The advisors, who worked in New Mexico and Maryland, charged that Wachovia discriminated against them across a range of career opportunities, including signing bonuses, forgivable loans, and other compensation; the assignment of accounts and leads; and assignment to teams and other partnerships. Wachovia retaliated against them when they complained about the activity, the lawsuit also alleged. Read the full story.
Cigna sued on claims of gender bias
A Boston Cigna HealthCare employee is seeking $100 million in damages in a lawsuit that alleges the company systematically discriminates against women. The suit states that Cigna treated Bretta Karp and other female employees less favorably than their male peers by denying women rightful promotions and pay raises and fostering a hostile work environment. The lawsuit, which is seeking class-action status, was filed in the US District Court yesterday by the Washington, D.C., law firm Sanford Wittels & Heisler LLP. Read the full story.
Wal-Mart Workers Group Seeks Scalias Recusal From Court Case
A group that advocates for Wal-Mart Stores Inc. workers said Justice Antonin Scalia should disqualify himself when the U.S. Supreme Court considers the companys bid to derail a gender-bias suit on behalf of potentially 1 million employees. Wal-Mart Watch, a union-funded group that isnt involved in the case, said recusal was warranted because Scalias son Eugene has represented the worlds largest retailer in other cases. Eugene Scalia is co-chairman of the labor and employment practice group at Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP, the Los Angeles- based firm representing Wal-Mart in the discrimination case. Read the full story.
Harrah's faces potential class action lawsuit over secondhand smoke exposure
The litigation centers around the death of Maceo Bevrotte, Jr., a former casino dealer of roughly 15 years who died of cancer on March 9, 2010. His mother, Denise Bevrotte, filed the litigation on behalf of her son on the anniversary of his death, alleging his cancer is directly linked to the long-term, second-hand smoke exposure that he suffered as an employee of Harrahs. A federal judge must now decide whether the lawsuit qualifies as a class action case. If approved, it could include over one thousand former and current Harrahs employees. Read the full story.
Class-action Suit Filed Against Family Video
A class-action lawsuit has been filed against Family Video alleging the largest privately-owned video rental chain in the country with more than 6,500 employees forced staff to work off the clock without getting paid for standard and overtime hours. The suit, filed March 14 in U.S. District Court in Chicago, claims former employee Darvette Smith was not fairly compensated for standard and overtime hours worked at three Family Video store locations in Des Moines, Iowa, from November 2008 to January 2011. Read the full story.
Class Action for Failure to Follow Fair Credit Reporting Act for Employment Screening Settles for $4.3 Million
In a case that once again emphasizes the importance of employers following the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act, FCRA, for employment screening, attorneys for thousands of mass-transit drivers and school bus drivers announced approval of a class action settlement of 4.3 million dollars for failure to adhere to the requirements of the FCRA. The proposed settlement was approved by a federal Judge in Illinois stemming from a national class-action suit involving allegations of FCRA violations against sister companies that employed drivers. Read the full story.
3M may settle age bias suit for $12 million
3M Co. has offered to pay up to $12 million to about 7,000 current and former employees to settle a long-running age discrimination suit. If approved, the settlement would put the controversial tenure of former CEO James McNerney Jr. further back in the companys rearview mirror. Read the full story.
Wal-Mart sexual discrimination case could redefine class action
More than 100 Wal-Mart Stores Inc. workers paint a similar picture in sworn complaints about the company: Local managers made sexist decisions about promotions and pay, and top officials did nothing to stop them. The U.S. Supreme Court is poised to consider whether those allegations warrant a class-action suit of unprecedented size, potentially on behalf of more than 1 million female Wal-Mart workers. At issue is whether the claims point to a companywide practice of alleged discrimination or instead amount to isolated anecdotes at a company with almost 1.4 million employees. Read the full story.
Baristas' Suit Against Starbucks May Proceed as Class Action in Mass. Federal Court
A March 18 order by District Judge Nathaniel Gorton in Matamoros v. Starbucks Corp. certified a class action against the coffee company for allegedly violating the Massachusetts Tips Law. Also on March 18, Shannon Liss-Riordan, who represents the plaintiffs in both cases, filed a brief in the 2d Circuit in In re Starbucks Employee Gratuity Litigation. In that case, name plaintiffs Jeana Barenboim and Jose Ortiz are appealing District Judge Laura Taylor Swain's December 2009 summary judgment ruling for Starbucks. Read the full story.
Deere Accused of Systematic Sex Bias in Hiring in Lawsuit
Deere & Co. (DE), the worlds largest maker of agricultural equipment, was accused in an amended lawsuit of systematically discriminating against women seeking entry-level positions. Holly Artis, who sued last year in San Francisco federal court, filed an amended complaint today seeking class-action, or group, status for her lawsuit on behalf of female applicants denied jobs. Artis, 33, said she was rejected by John Deere Landscapes in Livermore, California, in favor of a man with less experience, and said the company and its landscaping division bar women from customer-service and sales jobs. Read the full story.
The Wal-Mart Watershed
The Supremes seem skeptical of claims in a major gender discrimination case. The Justices of the Supreme Court weren't taking prisoners on Tuesday as the Court heard oral arguments in an enormous employment discrimination suit against retail giant Wal-Mart. If their skepticism is any guide, it may presage the end of a vast new plaintiffs lawyer jackpot. Read the full story.
Wal-Mart Makes Case to Supreme Court to Derail Women's Suit
The biggest U.S. retailer takes issue with size of class action in sex-discrimination case; during questioning, some justices seem to agree.It would be a neat story line if the Supreme Court justices aligned by gender when considering a case dealing with gender discrimination. The questions from the nine justices during Tuesdays arguments suggested that just might be the case. Read the full story.
When the Supreme Court Fears Too Much Justice
At first glance, the Walmart class action sex discrimination case argued earlier this week before the Supreme Court and the Courts 5-to-4 reversal of a multi-million dollar damage award to a man who was wrongly imprisoned because of gross prosecutorial misconduct don't seem to have much in common. But take a second look: Each case involves questions of corporate or governmental liability, respectively, for misconduct by individual employees; and, in each case, vindicating the alleged violations of rights could disrupt the status quo and provide remedies for systemic, institutionalized injustice. Read the full story.
Supreme Court hears giant issue in Wal-Mart bias suit
The Supreme Court appeared closely divided Tuesday during arguments over the theory put forth by the plaintiffs in an enormous sex discrimination class-action suit against Wal-Mart. But even some justices who seemed sympathetic to the plaintiffs expressed qualms about how to administer a lawsuit involving as many as 1.5 million women seeking back pay that could amount to billions of dollars. Others appeared worried about the consequences for other businesses of a ruling that would allow the case against Wal-Mart to go forward. The mere certification of a class-action suit can prompt defendants to settle in light of the sums at stake, and the justices struggled to find a way to distinguish between gaps in pay that might have benign explanations and those caused by unlawful discrimination. Read the full story.
Justices Skeptical on Wal-Mart Bias Class
The massive class action against retail giant Wal-Mart Stores Inc. ran into stiff resistance at the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday, after surviving lower court challenges ever since it was launched 10 years ago. It is not clear to me: What is the unlawful policy that Wal-Mart has adopted? said Justice Anthony Kennedy, who as usual is the likely swing vote in the closely watched business case Wal-Mart v. Dukes. The outcome of the dispute, involving as many as 3 million female current and former workers, could cost Wal-Mart billions in back pay or limit the use of class actions as a civil rights remedy. Read the full story.
Supreme Court appears poised to reject class action in Wal-Mart sex-bias case
The majority of men on the court question how Wal-Mart could be found liable for illegal sex bias when its 3,400 store managers decide who gets promoted and who receives pay raises. Supreme Court justices, sharply divided along gender lines, appeared poised to reject a nationwide class-action suit that accuses Wal-Mart Stores Inc. of sex discrimination. Led by Justices Anthony M. Kennedy and Antonin Scalia, the majority of men on the court questioned how Wal-Mart could be held liable for illegal sex bias when its 3,400 store managers across the nation decide who gets promoted and who receives pay raises. Read the full story.
Supreme Court hears argument in Wal-Mart sex bias claim
During a vigorous hour of arguments Tuesday over the largest job-bias class action lawsuit in history, key Supreme Court justices suggested they would side with Wal-Mart rather than the women who allege the company discriminated against them. Justice Anthony Kennedy pressed lawyer Joseph Sellers, who represented the women suing Wal-Mart, on how potentially millions of employees could be swept into a single class-action case against the giant retailer. Read the full story.
Franken-Bill would have a monstrous impact on mandatory arbitration clauses
In the wake of the Supreme Courts April 27th decision in AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion Senator Al Franken (D-Minn) and others re-introduced legislation that would forbid pre-dispute mandatory arbitration agreements in employment, consumer or civil rights disputes. The reintroduced bill, entitled the Arbitration Fairness Act of 2011 (the original was introduced in 2009) includes [a] series of decisions by the Supreme Court . . . have changed the meaning of the [FAA] so that it now extends to consumer disputes and employment disputes. Another finding declares that mandatory arbitration undermines the development of public law because there is inadequate transparency and inadequate judicial review. Read the full story.
Argument recap: A fatal flaw detected
The massive class-action lawsuit against discount retailer Wal-Mart lost momentum, and perhaps more than that, in the oral argument before the Court on claims of widespread sex bias against its female workers. Read the full story.
North Platte native fights for former NFL Players' rights
Jim McFarland once fought for yardage on the football field as a North Platte Bulldog. Now, he is got a larger goal. McFarland's goal is larger than the end zone: better benefits for former National Football League players. Ten players, including standout quarterbacks Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Drew Brees, filed a class action lawsuit against the league to bar the owners from locking the players out of the league. Read the full story.
Eaton Corp hit with $150 mln gender bias lawsuit
Two New Jersey women filed a $150 million lawsuit accusing their former employer Eaton Corp (ETN.N) of gender discrimination in pay and promotions. The complaint filed in the U.S. district court in Manhattan against Eaton (ETN.N) and three male managers contends the century-old maker of industrial products promotes a "culture of gender hostility," especially in its electrical services sector. Read the full story.
Lawsuit Accuses Dewey, Staffing Firm of Wage and Hour Violations
Dewey & LeBoeuf, along with staffing firm Robert Half International, Inc., is being accused by one of the firm's network operations specialists of failure to pay overtime, in violation of labor laws, according to a lawsuit filed in federal district court in Manhattan on March 30.The complaint, a would-be class action, alleges that Dumay has regularly worked more than 40 hours a week in recent years without being paid any overtime for the excess hours. Read the full story.
Employee lawsuits a bigger part of modern American workplace
CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Bank loan officers, phone company engineers, exotic dancers, delivery truck drivers, exterminators, janitors and drug store assistant managers are among tens of thousands of U.S. workers who filed class action lawsuits against their employers last year. They are part of a flood of wage and hour cases that reached record levels in 2010. Nearly 6,800 private-sector lawsuits were filed nationwide. In Northern Ohio, the number of cases was up 37 percent over the year before. Read the full story.
Howrey sued over abrupt dismissals
The shuttered law firm Howrey is facing its first legal challenge over the events that led up to the firms rapid demise. In a class-action lawsuit filed April 4 in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, Stephanie Langley, a former records specialist in Howreys Falls Church litigation center, alleges the firms abrupt dismissal of its remaining employees at the end of last month violated a federal statute that requires employers to provide workers with 60 days notice of a mass layoff. Read the full story.
Wal-Mart Settles Latino Workers' Harassment Suit
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. agreed to pay $440,000 to settle a national origin harassment suit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on behalf of employees of Mexican descent at a Sams Club in Fresno, Calif. In a consent decree lodged in the the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California, Wal-Mart agreed to shell out $440,000 and to review and make available to employees its policies against national origin discrimination, harassment and retaliation. Read the full story.
Beverly Hills Labor Contractor Charged in Human Trafficking Case
Beverly Hills-based farm labor recruiter Global Horizons Inc. is being sued by the federal government for allegedly forcing hundreds of Thai workers to harvest pineapples and coffee beans while living in rat-infested conditions on farms in Hawaii and Washington. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleges in class-action complaints filed Tuesday in federal courts in Washington and Hawaii that Global Horizons Inc. used national origin and race discrimination, harassment and retaliation in supplying about 260 Thai men to work on the farms. Read the full story.
AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion: The Corporate Court Does it Again
The Corporate Court is at it again. This time the case is AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion, and this week's 5-4 decision in favor of the cell-phone giant is yet another far-reaching betrayal of some of the most fundamental principles of American justice. In this case, big business, with AT&T as its stalking horse, asked the Supreme Court to protect it from all those cheeky consumers and impudent employees who might have the temerity to complain that they're being ripped off or discriminated against. The ultra-conservative majority on the Court found a way to keep all those annoying individuals from banding together in group arbitration or in the courts, where they would have the benefit of lawyers and all those pesky constitutional rights and rules of civil procedure. Read the full story.
Apple, Google and Others Face Wage Fixing Class Action Lawsuit
A software engineer has filed a class action lawsuit against some of the biggest technology companies in the U.S., claiming they conspired with one another to fix employee pay and keep employee wages down. Apple, Google, Intel, Intuit, Adobe Systems, Pixar and Lucasfilm are all named in the antitrust wage fixing class action lawsuit. The wage fixing class action lawsuit follows an investigation launched by the U.S. Department of Justice in 2009 over similar misconduct, particularly that the companies made an illegal agreement not to cold-call each others employees in order to extend job offers. The companies settled with the DOJ and agreed not to ban cold calling and not to enter into any kind of agreement that prevents competition for employees. Read the full story.
Worker Can Grill Black & Decker on Overtime
MANHATTAN (CN) - The 2nd Circuit revived a class action that claims hardware honcho Black & Decker failed to pay its employees overtime. Though the three-judge panel said that lead plaintiff Greg Kuebel has a triable claim in the overtime issue, it affirmed a lower court's decision that Kuebel can not seek compensation for his commute to and from Home Depots that stock Black & Decker products. A federal judge had previously dismissed this claim, finding that Kuebel was unable to specify the amount of unpaid overtime work he completed and was imprecise with respect to damages. Read the full story.
Cuban workers may press Wal-Mart bias case: court
Former Wal-Mart Stores Inc warehouse workers of Cuban origin may pursue a lawsuit accusing the world's largest retailer of discrimination, and of firing them when they complained about their treatment. In the case of the Cuban workers, Rolando Padron, Bobirt Miranda and Eusebio Calzada accused Wal-Mart last October of paying them less and giving them different work schedules than non-Cuban workers, and denying them "make-up" days. Read the full story.
Class-action suit slams insurance giant
A federal class-action suit has been filed against a New York unit of French insurance giant AXA Group alleging that thousands of U.S. employees worked as many as 60 hours per week but weren't paid minimum wage or overtime. The suit, which names two former employees of the firm as plaintiffs, alleges that AXA Financial, AXA Advisors and other related entities hired unlicensed financial product marketers, made them pay for training materials and registration fees, and required them to work without compensation while studying for exams. Read the full story.
Warehouse workers file suit in Will
Warehouse Workers for Justice is continuing its quest to improve working conditions for Will County warehouse workers. On Wednesday, the group assisted as employees of Simos Insourcing Solutions filed a class action lawsuit against the company for allegedly not providing benefits they were promised when they were hired. The Simos employees work at the Walmart warehouse in Elwood. The lawsuit was filed in Will County Circuit Court. Read the full story.
Franken-Bill Would Have a Monstrous Impact on Mandatory Arbitration Clauses
[Ed. Note: what employers are saying...] In the wake of the Supreme Courts April 27th decision in AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion.pdf, Senator Al Franken (D-Minn) and others re-introduced legislation (S.987, H.R. 1873.pdf) that would forbid pre-dispute mandatory arbitration agreements in employment, consumer or civil rights disputes. The reintroduced bill, entitled the Arbitration Fairness Act of 2011 (the original was introduced in 2009) contains a number of findings including a series of decisions by the Supreme Court . . . have changed the meaning of the [FAA] so that it now extends to consumer disputes and employment disputes. Another finding declares mandatory arbitration undermines the development of public law because there is inadequate transparency and inadequate judicial review. Read the full story.
Yukon-Nevada settles U.S. class action suit
VANCOUVER - Yukon-Nevada Gold Corp. said Thursday that it has reached a $3.6-million settlement in a class action suit brought by former employees against the company and its wholly-owned subsidiary, Queenstake Resources USA. The settlement was reached with more than 390 employees laid off from its Jerritt Canyon mining facility in Nevada in 2008, but is still subject to court approval. Employees accused the company of violating the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, which requires employers to give 60 days notice of mass layoffs. Read the full story.
Another Technician Off-the-Clock Class Action: The Most Dangerous Occupation For Such Claims
A field representative has launched a class action in federal court in Florida, alleging that he and a large group of similarly situated employees were compelled to work overtime hours, without being properly paid. The case is entitled Salamanca et al. v. TNC (US) Holdings Inc. These field representatives performed technical job duties. They allege they also received nightly error reports, relating to malfunctions in the equipment and they were compelled to remain on call for issues arising for customers in their designated areas. An interesting twist is that the plaintiffs contend that the companys GPS records and the Company-issued phones will provide the best evidence of the hours they worked Read the full story.
KPMG fails to fairly promote women, lawsuit says
A former female senior manager at KPMG filed a proposed class action lawsuit accusing the accounting firm of discriminating against its female employees in pay, promotions and pregnancy leave. The lawsuit, filed in a New York federal court on Thursday, seeks $350 million in lost pay and benefits a well as other compensatory and punitive damages on behalf of thousands of current and former female managers at the company. Read the full story.
Sexual Harassment Class Action Suit Filed Against Two Largo Travel Companies
Five women, employees for Four Amigos Travel Inc. and Top Dog Travel Inc. Largo office, filed a sexual harassment law suit, alleging male supervisors at the companies acted inappropriately. The class-action sexual harassment lawsuit was filed in Federal Court last week. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed the suit after the women complained that their supervisors acted inappropriately. Read the full story.
BREAKING: SCOTUS Sides With Wal-Mart in Class Action Case
Siding with the retail giant Wal-Mart, the Supreme Court ruled that the nation’s largest job discrimination lawsuit cannot move forward as a class-action. It’s a crushing defeat for civil rights advocates and firmly grounds the Roberts Court as one of the most corporate-friendly courts in our nation’s history. Make no mistake about it, the ramifications of the decision are enormous. Read the full story.
Wal-Mart v. Dukes
The red meat of the Wal-Mart decision lies in the fight between Scalia and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg over a much more fundamental question: Was there a single question of law or fact common to all the women in the suit? The federal district court and 9th Circuit believed that there was. The five justices in the majority disagreed.Making matters worse, the 5-4 ruling did more than just shield Wal-Mart. The court’s conservatives rejected the women’s class-action case and then went further, making it more difficult for others to file class-action suits in the future. Read the full story.
Dukes v. Wal-Mart and the Limits of Legal Change
It’s a devastating defeat for the women who have spent years of their lives trying to change Wal-Mart through this lawsuit. The decision is also a defeat for workers and consumers everywhere who might have a beef with a large corporation—as it certainly sends the message that this sort of fight is getting tougher and tougher to win. It’s particularly dispiriting as a measure of our shared values: conservatives like Scalia were expected to back Wal-Mart, but even the supposed “liberals” on the court ultimately decided that business interests should trump the rights of workers Read the full story.
Why Wal-Mart Matters, But Perhaps Less Than You Think
The Supreme Court’s landmark decision on Monday in Wal-Mart v. Dukes understandably garnered front-page headlines in the nation’s newspapers. After all, the case was the largest employment discrimination case in history, dwarfing all other competitors by far with its potential to have included more than one-million current and former female Wal-Mart employees. But in reality, this mammoth pattern and practice class action was decided December 7, 2010. Read the full story.
Companies Can’t Discriminate, But Their Managers Can: The Supreme Court Gives Wal-Mart the Win in Dukes Gender Discrimination Class Action Case
Today the Supreme Court sounded the death knell for Dukes v. Wal-Mart, the class action lawsuit accusing Wal-Mart of paying and promoting women less than similarly- or less-qualified men. To protect corporations from having to do more to prevent gender discrimination than pop a few politically correct paragraphs into the employee handbook, the Supreme Court resorted to a belabored procedural argument that incentivizes corporations to do as little as possible to prevent discrimination. The five-Justice majority did not rule on whether or not Wal-Mart actually discriminates against women – they didn’t let the case get that far. Instead they shut it down by changing the rules of engagement. Read the full story.
California overtime-pay laws protect nonresidents too, court rules
Residents of other states who work for California companies are protected by the state's overtime laws during business trips here, the California Supreme Court decided unanimously Thursday. Employment lawyers predicted that the ruling would reduce business travel to the state and trigger hundreds of lawsuits against California companies in the coming days. Firms now typically pay employees in accordance with the labor laws of the states in which they live. Read the full story.
Costco class-action discrimination case to be revived in wake of Wal-Mart decision
A class-action lawsuit accusing Costco Wholesale of gender discrimination has been on hold for three years, awaiting a decision in a similar case against Wal-Mart. This week, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of Wal-Mart in a decision that will revive the Costco lawsuit and raises questions about the viability of any class-action dispute against a major employer. Read the full story.
Class Claims Kirby Vacuums Hoovered Them
NEW HAVEN (CN) - The Kirby "high end" vacuum cleaner company, through its Connecticut distributor, promised desperate workers sales jobs at $500 to $800 a week, then paid them as little as 40 cents an hour for 70-hour weeks, eight workers say in a federal class action. Defendants led plaintiffs to believe that promised paychecks, bonuses, and prizes were around the corner. But as defendants knew all along, nothing was around the corner says the opt-in class action, filed by New Haven Legal Assistance. Read the full story.
Best Buy reaches settlement in discrimination lawsuit
Best Buy Co. agreed to settle a class-action lawsuit accusing the largest U.S. electronics retailer of job discrimination, paying a total of US$200,000 to the nine named plaintiffs plus as much as US$10 million for legal fees and costs. The lawsuit was filed in 2005 in U.S. District Court in Oakland, California, by eight current and former employees and one job applicant. They accused Best Buy of infractions such as denying desirable job assignments and promotions and transfers to African-American, Latino and female employees. Read the full story.
Wells Fargo Agrees to Pay $32 Million to Settle Bias Lawsuit
Wells Fargo & Co. (WFC) agreed to pay $32 million to settle a lawsuit alleging its subsidiary Wachovia Securities LLC discriminated against female financial advisers by blocking career advancement and paying them less than men. Wells Fargo and lawyers for a class of about 1,200 plaintiffs asked a federal judge in Washington today to approve the terms of the settlement, which calls for internal changes aimed at promoting female advisers and four years of monitoring by outside counsel. Read the full story.
Joliet warehouse workers file class-action lawsuit
Employees of the Kraft/Cadbury warehouse in Joliet filed a class-action lawsuit Monday morning in U.S. District Court that claims they were cheated out of wages by Prologistix, the company that employs them. The employees were assisted by Warehouse Workers for Justice, the Chicago-based organization that has been working to improve conditions for Will County warehouse workers for almost two years. This is the fourth class-action lawsuit and eighth legal action taken by the organization. Read the full story.
U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Upholds Sterling Jewelers Plaintiffs Class Arbitration
A group of women who claim they were paid less than men while working for Sterling Jewelers, Inc., can seek to pursue their claims as class action in arbitration against the national jewelry chain, the U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit, ruled last Friday. The ruling in Jock et. al v. Sterling Jewelers Inc., should pave the way for the women who have worked at Sterlings stores to seek class certification of the gender discrimination claims. Read the full story.
Silverman Sherliker prepares for potential NotW class action
City law firm Silverman Sherliker has launched a News of the World (NotW) action group for employees of the axed tabloid with the aim of launching a class action against the newspaper. The firm has set up the action group on its website and is urging NotW employees to register interest with a view to potentially launching a class action against News International for stigma damages and long-term impact on their careers following the Sunday newspapers ongoing phone-hacking scandal Read the full story.
School Battles in Wake of Supreme Court Class Arbitration Decision
In the latest installment, a Colorado federal court ended a class action lawsuit brought by the students. But the court did not rule on the merits of their deceptive marketing claims, and the students are still free to bring claims to arbitration. Judge William Martinezs closing of the case on June 6 was based on the April U.S. Supreme Court ruling in AT&T Mobility LLC v. Concepcion, which severely restricted if it didnt eliminate class action arbitration. The Westwood ruling is the first for-profit education decision to follow the newly set precedent. Read the full story.
EEOC says Fred Meyer failed to protect employees from harassing customer
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed a class-action lawsuit on behalf of three female employees of Fred Meyer Stores Inc., who say the locally based grocer did not protect them from harassment from a regular customer at its store in Oak Grove. In the suit filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Portland, the federal agency alleges that a customer regularly harassed at least three female employees at the Milwaukie-area store between March and June 2009. The suit said the customer touched one of the employees breasts, groped her knee and rubbed up against her body. Fred Meyer failed to prevent the conduct and directed her to continue serving the customer. Read the full story.
Black institution accused of racial bias against black workers
Jackson Park Hospital on South Stony Island is about the last place job discrimination should be an issue .But last Friday, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed a class-action race discrimination lawsuit in federal district court against the hospital. The agency alleges the hospital discriminated against black female respiratory therapists. Read the full story.
Home-Based Agents File Class-Action Suit against AT&T
AT&T in Northern California is in a bit of trouble with its home based call center agents. According to the complaint, AT&T hired the at-home call center employees to provide billing and technical support for AT&T customers. The employees allege that AT&T devised an illegal scheme of mislabeling these virtual at-home call center employees as independent contractors as a way of dodging workers compensation costs as well as paying state and/or federal taxes, said the release. Read the full story.
PREVIEW-Wal-Mart plaintiffs set for a return to court
Plaintiffs in a huge sex bias class-action case against Wal-Mart Stores Inc (WMT.N) that was struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court will begin to unveil plans on Friday for how they will try to resuscitate their lawsuits. Lawyers for the women will argue in U.S. District Court in San Francisco that they should be able to press ahead with multiple, narrower class-action claims against the retailer. Wal-Mart, however, wants to make sure any potential class actions are kept firmly in the grave. Read the full story.
Recently in Employment Issues Category FINRA Rule Proposal Could Set the Stage For Broker Class Actions
Investment News reports that FINRA has authorized its staff to propose a new rule that would ban collective action employment claims under the Fair Labor Standards Act or the Age Discrimination in Employment Act from arbitration. Of course, this rule would have to be approved by the SEC before it could take effect. But with Federal courts closing their doors to these cases, many of these cases had to be refilled in state court and stripped of their FLSA claims. If passed, this new rule would have the effect of opening up the federal courts to brokers seeking to pursue class action employment claims. Read the full story.
Novo Nordisk Faces US Lawsuit About Overtime Pay Dispute
A U.S. law firm filed a lawsuit against Danish pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk A/S (NOVO-B.KO) in connection with a Californian overtime pay dispute for alleged wage and hour overtime violations. Specifically, the legal complaint, Brown v. Novo Nordisk, contends that the companys Californian sales representatives don't qualify for the outside salesperson exemption and that they are therefore entitled to overtime compensation under the California Labor Code. Read the full story.
Guaranteed Rate Loan Officers File Wage & Overtime Class Action Lawsuit
Mortgage Lender Guaranteed Rate, Inc. has been hit with a class action lawsuit for allegedly violating California wage and hour laws by failing to pay Loan Officers proper minimum wage, overtime and earned wages. The minimum wage and overtime class action lawsuit alleges Guaranteed Rate violated the rights of its Loan Officers under the California Labor Code by paying them below minimum wage, failing to compensate them for overtime hours worked and unjustly deducting expenses from previously earned wages. Read the full story.
Law Grads Take Their Job Frustrations to Court
Recent law school graduates are angry. They are angry about their debt and angry about the lack of jobs. Graduates of ABA-accredited institutions have filed a class-action suit to prevent law schools from engaging in what the students consider to be "fraudulent advertising." The graduates contend that law schools have been hiding behind the "recession" and failing to disclose the truth about the job market that law school graduates should expect to enter into. Read the full story.
Graniterock Wins Class Action Lunch Break Case
After nearly three years of litigation, a Santa Clara County judge arrived at a decision regarding the class-action suit, Driscoll, et. al v. Graniterock Co. Six plaintiffs, on behalf of 200 former Graniterock employees, brought a $6 million class action against the company for failing to provide structured meal breaks to concrete mixer drivers. A judgment for the employer spurs an inquiry as to whether relatively vague California law on the responsibilities of employers to employees can be interpreted to provide any clear direction to future parties in such cases. Read the full story.
Class Action Shows Importance of Background Screening Firms Following Fair Credit Reporting Act when Reporting Sexual Offender Data
A newly filed class action lawsuit against background screening firms highlights the need for employers to distinguish certain service providers from others in regards to potential-employee background checks. The lawsuit is composed of a claim alleging that certain non-accredited background screening firms have reported erroneous information about individuals to their employers without their knowledge. Some of this firms have produced negligent reports wrongfully categorizing consumers as sex offenders. Read the full story.
Discrimination Suit Against Bloomberg L.P. is Dismissed
A judgment in favor of Bloomberg L.P set aside claims that the financial and media company engaged in discrimination against women and mothers returning from maternity leave. The law suit asserted that that the Mayor of New York's company discriminated against this class of women by demoting them, excluding them from work events, and reduced their pay. The court ruled that while "work-life" balance may be an idealogical goal for the working mother, the law does not mandate it. Read the full story.
3M resolves EEOC age bias suit for $3 million
3M Co. has agreed to pay $3 million to about 290 former employees and put in place preventive measures to resolve a nationwide age discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The agency asserted the Maplewood-based industrial conglomerate unlawfully laid off hundreds of employees over the age of 45 during a series of terminations from 2003 through 2006. 3M fired many highly paid older employees, among others, apparently to save money and cut workers in salaried positions up to the level of director, the EEOC said Monday. Read the full story.
3M Agrees to Resolve Age-Bia Suit for $3M
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission reports that 3M agreed to settle in an age-discrimination suit. The lawsuit, which commenced in 2004, alleged that the company had unlawfully fired hundreds of their employees over the age of 45 in an effort to obtain younger, cheaper labor. 3M does not purport that settlement is not an admission of liability, but reiterates its practices are in compliance with the law. Read the full story.
Bloomberg Did Not Discriminate Against Women by Treating New Mothers the Same as Other Leave-Takers
The judge who ruled that Bloomberg LP did not illegally discriminate against women for taking pregnancy leave raised an important policy question in her written opinion. Judge Preska did not drop “an anvil…on the work-life balance scale,” despite commentators’ efforts to portray her decision as a calculated blow against work-life balance; in deciding in Bloomberg’s favor, all she did was follow the existing law. In her commentary, however, she questioned the wisdom of the law itself, and noted that one alternative might be for employers to “treat pregnant women and mothers better or more leniently than others.” Judge Preska did not say whether she thinks that would be a good idea. It is a dreadful idea. Read the full story.
National Football League Retirees Sue Union Over Contract
When we all thought the problems of the NFL lockout were over, a new complication emerges. This time, however, the conflict emerges not with our favorite athletes currently taking to the field, but instead-NFL retirees. Retirees claim that the union and individual players were unauthorized to negotiate pension, retirement, and disability benefits in respect to the class of retired football players. Lawyer for the retirees made a statement that " We're talking about the rights of people who are no longer players." Read the full story.
Trial Begins in Class Action Iowa Hiring Lawsuit
After a judge in the Polk Country District Court denied Iowa state claims that this potential class-action case was too broad, trial has begun between thousands of African American workers seeking redress for discriminatory hiring practices. The lawsuit encompasses approximately 20,000 employment applications and 6,000 African American Iowans who have encountered discrimination across the state. The case tries to accomplish a number of goals, one of which is to adhere to the initiatives of affirmative action to foster better business practices. By exposing the discriminatory practices now, African American workers in Iowa are hoping to establish a system of consistency and fairness across the state. Read the full story.
Ariz. SC Rules for Truckers in Class Action
Arizona truckers are gaining some momentum in their wage and hour dispute against Swift Transportation. The truckers contend that an “artificial calculation” has shorted them in pay, calculating fewer miles than they actually have driven. The Arizona high court agreed to proceed with a class-action certification after it initially refused to review the trial court’s decision to certify this broad class action. Truckers are hitting the road and hoping to arrive at a favorable resolution, challenging Swift’s use of faulty software mechanism to get the pay they believe they deserve. Read the full story.
Wal-Mart to Fund Training of Female Workers, Support Women-Run Businesses
In what many believe is Wal-Mart’s response to female workers who lost a planned class-action lawsuit against their employer, Wal-Mart plans to announce a five-year multi-billion dollar program that will train female worker and support women-run businesses. Wal-Mart sees this as an opportunity to take on a market that is opening up for women and where more women are taking the lead. However, these efforts don’t alleviate the strife between Wal-Mart and 12,000 of their female employees. Lawsuits are continuing against the mega store and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission continues to receive complaints. Read the full story.
Groupon Sued Over Unpaid Overtime
Discount mogul, Groupon, Inc., looks like it won’t be saving too much money if a potential class-action lawsuit gets filed against them. Former Groupon employers are suing the internet-phenomenon claiming that they were not paid overtime. Attorneys for the employees estimate that at least 1,000 Groupon sales representatives haven’t been paid overtime since the company emerged in 2008, up until last spring. Some individuals familiar with the matter believe that some Groupon employees may be eligible for retroactive payments anywhere from $2,000 to $10,000 each. Read the full story.
Exempt v. Non-Exempt: How to Avoid a Groupon-Style Class Action Lawsuit
Daily-coupons mogul, Groupon, is currently involved in a class-action dispute filed by current and former employees for failure to pay overtime (and then later paying overtime at an illegally low rate). It’s no surprise that Groupon is facing these kinds of claims; “Wage and hour” class-action disputes are some of the most common. If these claims are so common, however, why haven’t employers learned how to safeguard themselves and protect employees? The reason that most employers continue to find themselves in court dealing with these class actions is because most employers still don’t know how to classify employees. Apparently, the distinction between “exempt” and “non-exempt” employees could help prevent employers from future legal disputes. Read the full story.
Sony: Supreme Court Ruling Spurred Changes to Playstation Terms
Sony Playstation owners beware: your most recent software agreement may have some pretty interesting updates that will prevent you from waging any legal “games” with Sony. Recently, Sony changed its terms-of-service document asking U.S. customers to forfeit their rights to file class-action suits against the company and its partners after a security breach last spring resulted in the exposition of 77 million users’ personal details. Is this legal? Can customers waive their rights to bring class-action lawsuits? In a recent Supreme Court decision involving AT&T asking its employees to waive the right to file class-action disputes, it apparently is legal. Read the full story.
Wal-Mart Class Action Decision Sets Precedent, Cited in Costco Ruling
Here we go again. A trend seems to be emerging through the courts- denying class actions certifications in wholesale corporation disputes with employees. An appellate court reversed a district court’s grant of class to current and former employees for claims that Costco engaged in promotional practices that discriminated against women. The appellate court cited to the Supreme Courts ruling in one of this year’s most publicized employment disputes, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. v. Betty Dukes et al. The appellate judges have indicated that the Supreme Court’s decision in the Wal-Mart case helps to clarify a number of issues relating to class certification that are integral in most claims seeking class-action status. Read the full story.
Miami Judge Certifies Class-Action Against David. J. Stern, DJSP
Former employees of the Law Office of David J. Stern and DJSP Enterprises were awarded class-action certification Monday in Miami federal court. The dispute centers around former employees who were laid-off recently, on September 23, 2011. They claim that they were not given the required 60 days notice required under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN). The expected class size is expected to range from 700-85 full-time employees. Read the full story.
Is Class-Action On Its Last Shaky Legs?
Many legal analysts believe the days of class-action lawsuits are numbered. This is supposedly the result of the 5-4 conservative majority on the U.S. Supreme Court. Accordingly, some of the most notable class action disputes that have emerged this year are evidence to the court system’s lack of enthusiasm for employees and consumers filing these claims. These include the infamous Wal-Mart and AT&T disputes. Are these cases just two isolated rejections of class-action certification? Or perhaps perspectives are changing. Read the full story.
Texas Roadhouse sued for age discrimination
Texas Roadhouse, a national, Kentucky-based restaurant chain, has engaged in a nationwide pattern or practice of age discrimination in hiring hourly, “front of the house” employees, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced today. The EEOC’s lawsuit, Civil Action No. 1:11-cv-11732-DJC, filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts, alleged that since at least 2007, Texas Roadhouse has been discriminating against a class of applicants for “front of the house” and other public, visible positions, such as servers, hosts, and bartenders, by failing to hire them because of their age, 40 years and older. Read the full story.
Medical marijuana or employment?
100,000 registered medical-marijuana patients are being forced to decide between this “medicine” or employment. The Michigan Medical Marijuana Act of 2008 did not provide any protection for medical marijuana users from employer policies. This was the case for Joseph Casias, who was recently fired from his job for testing positive for THC in his body. Casias and others are struggling to fight back against employers with zero-tolerance policies. An increasing number of claims and cases like Casias’s have exposed that Michigan legislation, employers, and unions have not adapted to changes in perspectives on the use of medical marijuana. Read the full story.
Fifteen More Law Schools To Be Hit with Class Action Lawsuits Over Post-Grad Employment
A few weeks ago, recent graduates from New York Law School and Thomas M. Cooley Law School filed class action law suits against their schools for fraud, negligent misrepresentation, and deceptive business practices related to post-graduate employment data. Due to the recent dissolution of their representing law firm, Kurzon Strauss, students engaged in this suit have chosen to share their prerogative with grads at fifteen other law schools. These former law students feel adamant about gaining redress for the false hopes their law schools gave them. The reality is that the average debt load in 2009 among these 15 new law schools added amounts to $108, 829.40. Read the full story.
Proposed Legislation Would Prohibit Arbitration Clauses in Cell Phone Agreements
In a recent United States Supreme Court decision involving AT&T, the court upheld an arbitration agreement in the AT&T contract that required consumers to arbitrate any disputes with the cell phone provides and barred class action certification against angry consumers. In response, Senate Richard Blumenthal (CT) and Senator Al Franken (MN) have proposed a bill that would prohibit cell phone companies from placing binding arbitration clauses in their consumer contracts. In reviewing the proposition of this bill, the controversial and sometimes unfavorable results of arbitration come to light. Read the full story.
Interns, Unpaid by a Studio, File Suit
Two men who worked on the hit movie “Black Swan” have mounted an unusual challenge to the film industry’s widely accepted practice of unpaid internships by filing a lawsuit on Wednesday asserting that the production company had violated minimum wage and overtime laws by hiring dozens of such interns. Read the full story.
Senior Power: Happy Birthday, Betty Dukes
In the wake of the Wal-Mart sexual discrimination class-action suits, a new light has been cast on the words age, sex, and gender to describe preferential bias and discrimination. Combining these words, for example to claim age-sex discrimination, has proven to be a conundrum for the courts. This article examines how descriptive words to qualify the kinds of discrimination plaintiffs allege to suffer from can change the fate of their case. Courts must tackle stereotypes and societal expectations when examining the legitimacy of these discrimination claims, especially in the case of women. Read the full story.
C.A. Rules Employment Claims Against Retailer Should Be Arbitrated
A California Court of Appeals has ordered that a labor dispute between former employees of fashion chain, Forever 21, and the company should be arbitrated pursuant to the written employment agreement between the two parties. The former employees filed their claim suing for regular and minimum overtime wages; meal period and rest wages; meal and split shift premiums; conversion of wages; unjust enrichment; unfair business practices; and failure to keep accurate records. The Court held that there was no evidence that the written agreement containing the provision for arbitration was made under oppressive or unfair conditions and therefore should be enforced. The agreement “applies equally to both parties” and should result in the best outcomes for both the employer and the employees. Read the full story.
Ruth's Chris Faces Discrimination Suit
Ruth Chris, acclaimed steak house, is facing a sex discrimination class action suit brought by three former and one current employee of one of their Washington D.C. restaurant locations. The United States District Court for the District of Columbia authorized the parties to add class action claims to the suit. The suit claims of pay and promotion discrimination as well as sexual harassment. Read the full story.
Thomas M. Cooley Law School Adopts the 'Blame the ABA' Theory for Defending its Employment Stats
Over the past few months, more and more former law students have been gathering in numbers to sue their law schools for publishing and advertising false career statistics. Now, we are hearing from the law schools. Thomas M. Cooley Law School, one of the original schools joined in this class-action suit, has filed a motion to dismiss the class-action suit. They file this motion on the basis that they have complied with ABA requirements and they are therefore, not at fault. However, Cooley and New York University have yet to defend their employment statistics. We are left to wonder: Is casting blame on the ABA the right way to go? Read the full story.
YRC Offers $6.5M to Settle Retirement Plan Mismanagement Suit
YRC Worldwide Inc has agreed to pay a settlement of $6.5 million in a class-action lawsuit claiming the company improperly managed its retirement plans. The case, which combined four lawsuits by current and former employees, alleged YRCW violated the Employee Retirement Income Security Act. The plaintiffs claim that YRCW breached its fiduciary duties to members of its retirement plan by continuing to invest YRC stock even as the stock value decreased, perpetuating losses. Read the full story.
Visa Workers Say U.S. Firms Abused Them
Immigrants from the Philippines, Indonesia, Belarus, Turkey and Jamaica who came to the United States on work visas for agricultural employment have filed a class-action suit claiming they were “systematically defrauded and exploited in the recruitment and hiring process.” The workers claim that upon arriving in the United States, they were given different jobs than promised and were provided poor living accommodations. In bringing this claim, they seek compensatory and punitive damages for violations of Labor laws and the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act. Read the full story.
Madoff Ex-Clients File $19 Billion Suit Against JPMorgan
Former Bernie Madoff customers have banded together to file a class action suit against bank mogul, JPMorgan, alleging that the bank was complicit in concealing Madoff’s Ponzi scheme. The claimants allege that examining the finances sufficiently highlights that there was no investment strategy being employed, but instead money passed directly between Madoff and his clients. However, in a recent decision by a federal judge throwing out a similar suit with Picard, a trustee seeking money for Madoff victims, it is difficult to determine whether this suit will be successful. Read the full story.
A Litigator Fights Class-Action Suits
Mr. Ted Frank is a new kind of lawyer in the class action world. He is an objector. As described in this article, an objector doesn’t quite fit in the category of traditional class-action lawyers- those who either bring the lawsuits against corporate American or those who defend them. Instead, objectors are lawyers who make formal objections to settlements between corporate defendants and the respective classes of individuals who bring these suits. These objectors come with one goal: to get more money. Read the full story.
High Court Denies Lufkin Industries Appeal in Discrimination Lawsuit Brought by More than 1,000 Workers
A fourteen year-old class action suit came to an end after the U.S. Supreme Court denied Lufkin Industries an appeal in a Title VII classaction lawsuit for employment discrimination. 1,000 black Lukin Industries filed this class-action suit in 1997 claiming they had been routinely denied opportunities within the company and were not considered for promotions. The workers are expected to receive $5.5 million in back pay with interest, based on a ruling of the U.S. District Court that was upheld by the federal appeals court. Read the full story.
Class Action Abuses Challenged in the Courts; CEI Files Amicus Brief Challenging Abuses
Courts have been cracking down on the number of class-action law suits that have hit their dockets in recent years. Apparently, many class action lawsuits result in a “diversion and misuse of class-action lawsuit settlements” benefiting trial lawyers and pet projects of trial judges. Consumers or employees, those who are typically bringing these class-action suits, are not benefiting. As a result, courts are enforcing procedural safeguards to remedy the situation. Read the full story.
PGW Requests Summary Judgment in Age Discrimination Suit
Pittsburgh Glass Works (PGW) has filed a motion for summary judgment in an age discrimination suit filed against the company last year. The plaintiffs are seven former employees who allege they were terminated from their jobs solely as a result of their age. The company makes the counter-argument that because these terminations were need a company-wide decision, they fail in aggregating for the purpose of gaining class-action certification. The company says there is no support that plaintiffs, who fall within the 40-50 years of age range, were victims of age-discrimination. Read the full story.
NBA Lockout: NBA Players File Federal Class Action Suit
NBA players of nearly 30 league teams filed a class action suit against the league for interference with their contracts. The players have alleged four counts in their complaint ranging from “Violations of the Sherman Act” to “tortious interference with prospective contractual relations.” The NBA has responded by seeking a motion for summary judgment in order to render the lockout illegal. Read the full story.
BellSouth ‘Managers’ Win Class Certification
A Federal Judge has permitted class certification of a group of former BellSouth Telecommunications managers filing suit under the Fair Labor Standards Act. The “level-one” managers claim they have were mis-classified and barred from receiving overtime pay. Under this classification, they are not entitled to overtime pay by BellSouth, despite working sixty hour work weeks on average. BellSouth is a subsidiary of AT&T. Read the full story.
N.B.A. Players Merge Lawsuits; No Hearing Date Set
Two antitrust lawsuits filed by players against the N.B.A. were merged on Monday in the hope of bringing a swifter judgment against the league, and a swifter end to the lockout. The decision was announced by David Boies and Jonathan Schiller, whose law firm was hired last week by the National Basketball Players Association. Boies and Schiller will remain the lead lawyers in the case. Read the full story.
Retaliation In The Work Place? Allegations Within The Bureau of Prisons
The Federal Bureau of Prisons has a tough job. 35,000 employees work to handle the custody and care of over 214,000 federal prisoners. When the EEOC Office of Federal Operations set out to speak with BOP employees, they were faced with much more adversity than they had expected. Apparently, BOP workers were scared to reveal about what was happening at work. A few are beginning to come out of the woodwork and discuss discrimination and retaliation they faced at the BOP. As more employees begin to speak, they are finding common threads in their work experiences and have taken steps to file a class-action suit. Read the full story.
Ford Settles Class Action Lawsuit
More than 300 Ford employees have recently won an $835,000 class action suit against the auto-maker. Three years ago, Ford had hired those employees to work their "third shift" when just a week before they were bound to start, Ford eliminated their positions. Forced between a rock and a hard place, Ford had suffered some of its worst quarterly losses in years and then pursued the employment cuts. Regardless, these employees efforts have paid off in challenging Ford's behavior in providing hopeless job opportunities. Read the full story.
Former Safelite Tech Seeks Class Action Suit Against Company for Overtime Pay
A California auto-glass technician has filed a class-action lawsuit against his employer for overtime pay he says were not calculated as part of his work day. The class-action suit is comprised of three potential classes —"a California on-site technician class that includes all mobile technicians who were employed by Safelite in California for the four years prior to the filing of the complaint; a wage statement subclass that includes all those employed by Safelite as mobile technicians in California one year before the filing of the complaint; and a final wages subclass that includes all mobile technicians in California whose employment was terminated by the company within the three years before the complaint was filed." Read the full story.
L.A. Superior Court Faces Class Action
A new class action suit has been filed against the Los Angeles Superior Court after it had failed to destroy information relating to over 35,000 marijuana and drug-related offenses. The court uses this information to publish on an online crime index as reference to the public. However the error on behalf of the court is that it has only cited charges in this index, and not the trial dispositions. The result has been that individuals who had been formerly charged for these crimes who are not looking for work are being turned away because they appear to have criminal convictions. Read the full story.
Xbox Terms Update Bans Class-Action Lawsuit
Microsoft is the next big game console maker to ban class-action lawsuits on behalf of its consumers and force arbitration settlements for potential disputes with the company. Agreeing to the Xbox terms of service, now, means you are agreeing to withdraw your right to file a class action suit. Microsoft is following a trend that other game console manufacturers have pursued. In September, Sony implemented a similar policy for its Playstation Network users. Read the full story.
Law Schools Could Face Wave of Class Actions in 2012, Attorneys Warn
An update from previous articles posted in this newsletter- it appears as though more law schools will be added to the initial class action suit comprised of law school graduates suing their alma maters for fraudulent employment statistics. Many attorneys believe law schools around the country should be preparing their faculty and their in house counsel in case of suit., With little improvement in unemployment statistics and a stable freeze on the legal market, more law schools should be prepared to face their former students on the battleground. Read the full story.
New York and Minnesota Use Same Objective Test Regarding Employment Class Actions Regarding Gratuities
New York's application of Section 196-d of the Labor Law has recently been used in a Minnesota class action suit comprised of former Domino's Pizza deliverymen against the pizza company. New York has interpreted 196-d as prohibiting employers from retaining a gratuity or charge that appears to be a gratuity from the employee. The deliverymen were granted class action certification to challenge their former employer for retaining a "$1.00" delivery charge they claim should belong to them. Read the full story.
'AT&T' May Impact Employment Law
The April 27 United States Supreme Court decision in AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion is challenging traditional treatments and method of employment law as most lawmakers and lawyers understand them. The decision invalidated a California rule that required consumer contract arbitration agreements provide for mandatory class arbitration be stricken down. The decision essentially reversed precedent that had held that a state law that limits all contracts- not just arbitration agreements- escapes Federal Arbitration Act pre-emption. What California appears to mandate is a challenge to what has been understood to be preempted by FAA and challenge lawyers and judges to reconsider precedents nationwide that have invalidation class action waivers in arbitration agreements. Read the full story.
Hospital Staff Can't Fight Meal Breaks as a Class
A federal judge has decertified a class action suit of hospital workers challenging unpaid meal breaks at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Discovery revealed that the lead plaintiff and many of the potential class members were not full time employees at the hospital. The hospital had also administered thorough training programs for its employees to teach them about how to cancel automatic-unpaid lunch breaks if they were forced to work through their lunch break. The hospital infrastructure and training programs, combined with the part-time employee status of many of the class members, led the judge to reverse class-action certification. Read the full story.
Cranwell Workers Get $7M Settlement in Mail
700 current and former spa and country club employees will be receiving their share of a $7 million dollar class action settlement in the new year. When Cranwell Resort, Spa and Country Club began withholding employees' tips despite paying them sub-minimum wage, the employees' pursued legal recourse to claim back their wages. Class-action suits filed against employers withholding their employees' gratuities have been more common over the past few years. Many cases have settled or been resolved. Read the full story.
Port Authority Retirees Fight for Free Tolls
Former port authority police officers filed a class action suit against the port authority for revoking part of their benefits scheme. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey revoked free-tolls for life benefits of Port Authority officer retirees. The class is expected to include about 4,000 retirees. Read the full story.
Forever 21 Class Action Lawsuit Filed by Employees
Fashion franchise Forever 21 is facing a class action suit filed by former employees for back pay and harsh business practices towards employees. The petitioners contend that they were often held in the store to work past the times they clocked out, during their lunch breaks, were repeatedly searched for stolen merchandise. This is not the first time the franchise has faced legal trouble; another suit contended the employer failed on numerous occasions to pay employees. Read the full story.
Austin Club Owner at the Center of Class Action Lawsuit
Dancing in the dark? Seems like some bartenders and servers at several nightclubs in Austin, Texas have been. One employee, believing he was working under a pay scheme for hourly plus tips and gratuities was dumbfounded when he learned he had no paycheck to collect upon quitting his job. Now, he and several fellow employees are joining in on a class action suit to shine the light on some poor managements practices. Read the full story.
Workers Right to Sue Employers Over Pay, Other Conditions in the Flux
What happens when your employers tells you that you could get paid each day you work? What if there is a condition you use a company controlled ATM machine to withdraw your due wages? The result could be- as it was for some employees of Labor Ready-a loss of those wages, especially when you are charged a convenience fee to withdraw that money. Read the full story.
Rolf's Bakery Workers Continue Lawsuit, Though Lawyer Says Business Offered To Pay Lost Wages
Even with a bad economy and the frequency of job cuts and business closures, many employed individuals are not going to allow themselves to be surprised and let go without a fight. Workers of a Chicago-area bakery are refusing to settle on termination checks and vacation pay after the bakery went out of business and they lost their jobs. Instead, they are suing the bakery for violating the federal WARN Act. Read the full story.
NLRB Rules that Class Action Waivers in Mandatory Arbitration Agreements Are Unlawful
The National Labor Relations Board has ruled that mandatory arbitration agreements forced upon employers, waiving their right to participating in collective agreements and/or class action are unlawful under the National Labor Relations Act. The decision came as a result of a case where a non-union employer forced employees to agree to such waivers as a condition of employment. When a lawyer attempted to settle a dispute via arbitration and quickly met opposition because of such agreements, a suit was filed for a potential violation of fair labor standards. Read the full story.
Employees File Class Action Suit Against Menards
Minority employees working for mid-west home improvement powerhouse, Menards, filed a class action complaint with the Equal Employment and Opportunity Commission (EEOC) claiming race-based discrimination. After an EEOC-led investigation and an arbitration-settlement, Menards has agreed to pay up and change company policy. Commentators believe Menards made a positive business decision settling with plaintiffs. Read the full story.
Black Officers File Lawsuit Against Capitol Police
Capitol Police are facing serious opposition. Fifty officers, civilians, and employees have filed a class action lawsuit against Capitol Police, citing discrimination. This is the fourth class action of its kind filed against Capitol Police. Workers have cited hostile work environments, reprisals, denial of promotion, and age discrimination within their claim. Read the full story.
Is California the Incubator for U.S. Employment Law?
California’s reputation for sunny beaches and tow-haired beauties has inspired countless songwriters over the years. And although lyricists may not have paid much attention, the Golden State has also become known for being at the forefront of employment law developments. During Tuesday’s “California Dreamin’” panel, Proskauer Rose partners Harold Brody and Enzo Der Boghossian discussed some of the state’s key legislation and decisions of 2011 and the potential impacts for the rest of the U.S. Read the full story.
Walmart Women Still Seek Justice in Sex Discrimination Case
Doesn’t look like Walmart is going to catch a break in the class-action department anytime soon. Five hundred female employees in the southern part of the country filed discrimination charges with Equal Employment and Opportunity Commission. While Walmart escaped class action this past year in the landmark decision Dukes v. Walmart, it doesn’t look like female former-Walmart employees are planning to step aside from this battle. Read the full story.
From the Experts: Wage and Hour Issues, Under the Covers
For the past ten years, employment litigation has shifted from the emotionally charged world of “he said/she said” and disparate impact, to the more sanitized land of overtime records, vacation pay calculations, meal period compliance, and job descriptions. While the European executive was focused on discrimination issues, wage and hour infractions were actually a greater threat. Read the full story.
Fort Belvoir Starbucks Employees' Union to File Complaint Against AAFES
Former employees of the licensed Starbucks at Fort Belvoir are filing a suit against the Army and Air Force Exchange Service for allegedly videotaping employees without their knowledge and consent. As a result, some of these employees were charged for stealing beverages and pastries. The National Labor Relations Board will file a class action complaint on behalf of the employees fired at Fort Belvoir because they were subjected to labor practices in violation of labor relations code. Read the full story.
Cook's Pest Control Settles Bias Case
The subject of mathematics apparently has its views on race in America. At least under Cook’s Pest Control’s roof, math tests administered as part of employment hiring practices negatively affecting African Americans looking for jobs. A recent class-action lawsuit filed against the company holds that math tests may not be administered during employment proceedings if the job is not sufficiently math-based. Only African American job applicants denied jobs with Cook’s will be able to recover or file to share in the settlement. Read the full story.
Plaintiffs Allege Sanderson Farms Hired Illegal Immigrants
Sanderson Farms better be counting their nickels and dimes as well as their chickens these days. A class action lawsuit has been filed against the chicken processor for allegedly hiring illegal immigrants as a means to lower costs. The facts of the case establish that Sanderson Farms had been previously investigated concerning illegal immigrants; in 2008, the Department of Homeland Security arrested nearly twenty-five illegal immigrants at the company’s Moultrie location. Former employees of Sanderson Farms bring forward this suit. Read the full story.
US Court Upholds Class Action Suit Against L&T Infotech
When your employee has a bun in the oven, be wary and tread lightly- or you might be facing the implications of pregnancy much longer than the expected nine months. A former imployee of Larsen and Toubro Infotech, a subsidiary of Indian conglomerate L&T, filed a class action law suit against the company for pregnancy discrimination. The woman alleges that she was fired shortly after informing the company that she was pregnant. The District Court of New Jersey ruled to uphold the claims of intentional sex discrimination, individual and class claims of sex discrimination, and a class claim of pregnancy discrimination. Read the full story.
The Law School Lawsuits Go to Court: How Did Team Strauss/Anziska Fare Against New York Law School?
In August, New York Law School (NYLS) was hit with a class action lawsuit over the school’s allegedly deceptive post-graduate employment data. The case was filed by plaintiffs’ lawyers Jesse Strauss and David Anziska. In October, NYLS — represented by an alumnus who managed to ascend to the ranks of Biglaw partnership — filed a motion to dismiss that claim. Yesterday, the lawyers ventured down to the New York Supreme Court to argue the merits of the case. Read the full story.
Mario Batali Pays $5.25 Million to Settle Allegations He Cheated Workers Out of Tips
Mario Batali, the celebrity TV chef who compared bankers to Hitler and Stalin and criticized the financial industry for having “toppled the way money is distributed,” agreed to pay $5.25 million to settle allegations he cheated workers out of their tips. Read the full story.
MF Global Employees Fight for Back Pay While Execs Get Bonuses
Lawyers for employees who lost their jobs following MF Global's bankruptcy filed a class-action suit in November, claiming the firm didn't give them required notice of layoffs under federal and New York state law. Federal law requires employers to give employees 60 days notice, while New York's Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification act requires 90 days notice. Read the full story.
New York City ordered to pay $128M to minority firefighter applicants
A federal district judge has ordered New York City to pay $128.7 million in back pay in a judgment in a class action lawsuit filed on behalf of black and Latino firefighter applicants. Read the full story.
EEOC Says Trucking Company Rejected Applicants Improperly
A federal agency is suing trucking company Celadon, alleging that it illegally forced job applicants to take medical examinations and didn't hire those it perceived as being disabled.The suit claims the international trucking company violated the Americans with Disabilities Act. An EEOC lawyer also says federal rules require employers to make a conditional job offer before conducting a physical. Read the full story.
Trucker Harassment Class-Action Suit Backfires
When you think of truck drivers, not many people imagine a woman behind the steering wheel of an 18-wheeler. It's difficult to say whether the truck driving industry would be receptive to including more women in the profession. In a case filed by the EEOC, dozens of female truck driver recount several instances of sexual harassment and gender-based discrimination while employed at various trucking companies. However, a turn of events has this discrimination suit coming up against a brick wall and whether the EEOC and these aggrieved women can overcome it is still left to be determined. Read the full story.
Facebook Can Put Workers, Employers at Odds
Social media is everyone's favorite platform to share their interests, views, and opinions. While opening the arena for positive advocacy, not everyone is reveling in the things they see up on their "Newsfeeds," and your employer could be one of them. In a recent case filed for unlawful termination, a woman was fired for posting comments on her Facebook page about her position at a collection agency. "The potential lesson and takeaway from this suit: Watch what you say in public about your employer." Read the full story.
TCS Faces Class-Action Lawsuit in US
It’s now the turn of India’s largest information technology (IT) services provider, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), to face litigation heat in the US. A complaint filed by two former employees of TCS over unpaid wages has been accepted by a US court as a class action lawsuit. US District Court Judge Claudia Wilken issued an order that granted class-action status to the suit that accused Tata Sons and its subsidiary, TCS, of breaching employment contracts and violation of the California Labour Code. The complaint was filed by non-US employees Gopi Vedachalam and Kangana Beri, who were sent from India to the US to work on projects. Read the full story.
Business Alert: The 10 Employment Laws Every Manager Should Know
Wage-and-hour labor litigation continues to increase exponentially. Federal class actions brought under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) outnumber all other types of private class actions in employment-related cases. Particularly hard hit: employers in California, Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Texas. Click to learn more about some of the most important federal employment laws that could be affecting you and your business. Read the full story.
NLRB Rule Could Create Stir in the Break Room
Earlier this month, a federal judge in Washington, D.C., said most American employers must inform employees of their right to join a union and bargain collectively. That information comes by way of a poster, to be posted in lunch and break rooms, next to notices of maternity leave and minimum wage requirements. But management-side lawyers, pointing to a series of NLRB actions in recent months, say the agency is tilting too far toward union interests and is creating needless headaches for employers. And the poster rule, they say, is likely to stir up special problems in the many Bay Area workplaces where labor organizing is simply unheard of — so much so that few managers can be expected to respond appropriately to the queries the notice might spur among employees. Read the full story.
Court: Managers Don't Have to Ensure Lunch Breaks
A California Supreme Court recently ruled that employers are not obligated to ensure workers take their legally mandated lunch breaks. The case, filed nine years ago, was brought against Brinker International when former employees complained they were missing their lunch breaks while working for the restaurateur. The court ruled that the responsibility to make sure a lunch break would be taken belongs to the worker and not to the employer. Read the full story.
Chamber Files Pro-Arbitration Amicus in Goldman Employment Appeal
The issue of forced arbitration claims for both employees and consumers has caused a stir over the past year. The Chamber of Commerce is taking note, and at the beginning of the month filed an amicus brief to join banking mogul Goldman Sachs to challenge a magistrate judge’s determination that Goldman Sach’s mandatory arbitration clause within its employment contracts were unenforceable. The Chamber has a strong interest in arbitration-related cases and thus joins Goldman Sachs in filing this brief. Read the full story.
Superior Court Slashes CRASH Settlement Effort for June
The Los Angeles Superior Court is calling for attorney volunteers to settle a number of employment cases as part of its CRASH program. Judge William Highberger is leading the initiative. “The program, he explained, grew out of discussions among Mosk judges, initiated by Highberger’s wife, Judge Carolyn Kuhl, who supervises the courts there. The jurists indicated that a disproportionate amount of court time was being dedicated to three types of cases—asbestos, employment, and class-action litigation.” Read the full story.
The Challenge for Indian IT Firms: Showcasing Offshoring as a Value Creating Proposition
Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), India's largest information technology firm and part of the US$84 billion Tata Group, is the latest in a line of Indian IT companies to come under the scrutiny of the U.S. legal system. A court in California recently granted class action status to a lawsuit filed against the Mumbai-headquartered US$8 billion-plus firm. The case against TCS was filed by two employees in 2006 and relates to tax refunds and payment of full wages. TCS has been accused of breaching employment contracts and violation of the California Labor Code. Indian employees of TCS who were working in California from 2002 to 2005 are eligible to join the lawsuit. Read the full story.
EEOC Asks Court to Reconsider Hostile Work Environment Class Action Ruling
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is asking the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to reconsider a February ruling in which an appellate panel upheld dismissal of a putative class action hostile work environment lawsuit it had filed against a trucking company. Read the full story.
Former Employee Claims She was Fired Illegally for Being Pregnant
A former employee of a Kokomo restaurant is saying she was illegally fired because she was pregnant. Based on work reviews, the woman was meeting performance expectations at Rock Bottom Restaurant in Kokomo upon termination. A Rock Bottom manager admitted the woman was sent on maternity leave because they were concerned about liability. Read the full story.
Former Perkins Coie Attorney Sues Firm Over Paycheck Deductions, Seeks Class Action Status
A corporate attorney who formerly worked in the Menlo Park, Calif., office of Perkins Coie has sued the law firm in federal court in California, contending that it improperly made deductions from his pay and did not provide an accurate, itemized statement of his wages as required by state law. Read the full story.
Managers Sue for Overtime, Citing Unfair Practices
A growing number of current and former employees are suing employers in federal courts for wage and hour violations. In 2011, 7,006 wage-and-hour lawsuits were filed in federal courts, most of which were class action cases. That’s up 32 percent from 2008, and a 378 percent increase since 2000, according to an April report from law firm Seyfarth Shaw. Read the full story.
Looking into Labor: The Future of Class Action Waiver
In recent years, an increasing number of employers have promulgated policies that require their employees to submit employment claims to arbitration and to waive the rights to proceed in court and to a jury trial. The scope of the claims covered by these policies depends on what the employers want to cover, but they range from common law torts arising out of the employment relationship to wrongful termination claims, employment contract claims, claims under the employment discrimination laws and claims for violations of federal and state minimum wage and overtime laws. These policies generally exclude claims subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of federal or state agencies. Read the full story.
Publix Unpaid Overtime Class Action: What is Chinese Overtime?
Chinese what? Ok, you’ve probably heard of Chinese water torture. And Chinese New Year. And Chinese take-out (personal fave). But Chinese Overtime?Yes, Chinese Overtime. If you’re in a job in which the work hours tend to fluctuate each week and you get overtime pay, then you may have heard it referred to as either variable workweek overtime pay or half-time overtime pay. Read the full story.
Employees File Class Action Lawsuit Against Tommy Bahama
Employees at the retail store Tommy Bahama have filed a class action lawsuit against their employer, alleging violations of California’s wage and hour laws. The plaintiffs have accused Tommy Bahama of detaining employees at the end of their shifts to search for company merchandise. Employees at Tommy Bahama say that these searches add to the lengths of their work shifts, but they are considered off the clock during these searches. Without proper compensation for this time spent at the store, Tommy Bahama’s employees allege that their employer has avoided paying overtime that was rightfully earned by the employees. Read the full story.
Barista Files Class Action Lawsuit Against Peet's Coffee & Tea
An employee for Peet’s Coffee & Tea has filed a class action lawsuit against his employer, claiming violations of The Massachusetts Tips Law. The employee alleges that Peet’s Coffee & Tea has a policy where tips left by customers are split between all employees, including shift supervisors. The practice of paying shift supervisors from a pool of customer tips would violate The Massachusetts Tips Law. The class action is being brought on behalf of all baristas who have worked for Peet’s Coffee & Tea Stores in Massachusetts since May 2009. Read the full story.
Employee Alleges Wage and Hour Law Violations by Cosmopolitan Resort
A former employee of the Cosmopolitan Resort of Las Vegas has filed a class action lawsuit against the resort, alleging that Cosmopolitan did not fully compensate employees for all hours worked. The employee alleges that the resort required employees to change into work uniforms at a locker room on the resort’s premises. The resort, however, did not include time spent changing into uniforms when calculating the hours worked by employees. Read the full story.
Federal Judge Refuses to Certify Class Action Lawsuit
A federal judge in Chicago has refused to certify a class action lawsuit brought by a former employee of a transportation company. The employee claimed that his former employer, Swift Transportation, decided which drivers would receive the most favorable routes on the basis of race. After his termination from Swift Transportation, the former employee filed a discrimination charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The federal judge overseeing the lawsuit, however, dismissed the class action because the original complaint made no reference to any class-wide allegations. The individual discrimination claims made by the former employee were upheld. Read the full story.
Civil Rights Organization Files Class Action Lawsuit Against California Car Washes
A civil rights organization has filed a class action lawsuit against a group of car washes in Los Angeles, alleging violations of California’s wage and hour laws. The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) alleges in its lawsuit that the car washes routinely deny their employees breaks, do not give their employees overtime, and force employees to clock out before they finish their shifts. The suit comes in the aftermath of a suit brought last year by the California attorney general, alleging similar violations of worker’s rights by Los Angeles car washes. Read the full story.
Walmart Gender Discrimination Suit Reemerges
Walmart is facing individual gender discrimination suits from approximately 2,000 Walmart employees after the employees filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The current and former employees allege that Walmart discriminated on the basis of gender and that female employees did not receive the same pay and access to promotions given to male employees. The individual suits started out as a class action against Walmart, however the U.S. Supreme Court broke the class action last year. Read the full story.
Microsoft Changes Customer Contracts to Prohibit Class Action Suits
Microsoft has recently announced that they will be including a provision in their customer contracts that will prohibit customers from filing class action lawsuits against Microsoft. The company, whose Windows software system operates on 84 percent of personal computers, announced the new policy and heralded the policy as a way to make sure that individual consumer complaints are handled promptly and satisfactorily. Advocacy groups, however, have come out and accused Microsoft of trying to quash consumer’s legal rights. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is considering preventing certain businesses from including contract provisions that preclude consumers from filing class action lawsuits. Read the full story.
CVS Pharmacy Tech Overtime Class Action Lawsuit
A class action lawsuit claims CVS Pharmacies stiff their pharmacy techs out of overtime pay and force them to work “off-the-clock” without compensation. The unpaid overtime lawsuit was filed by Georgia resident Amber Mack, who worked as a pharmacy technician at CVS between 2008 and 2011. Mack alleges in the class action lawsuit that throughout her three years of employment, she regularly worked over 40 hours per week without overtime compensation, and that her supervisors were aware of the unpaid hours she was working. Read the full story.
United Airlines Faces Suit Alleging Racial Discrimination
A group of African-American pilots have filed a class action lawsuit against their employer, United Airlines, alleging that the company has discriminated on the basis of race in promoting its employees. The lawsuit alleges that United Airlines has a separate career track for African-American employees, and that African American employees are less likely to be given promotions or high wage positions. The class action lawsuit also alleges that United Airlines has discriminated against African-American employees in management decisions. The lawsuit alleges that minority managers are not included on important company emails where managerial issues are discussed. The pilots are seeking injunctive relief and back pay. United Airlines has denied the allegations. Read the full story.
Kaiser Permanente Faces Overtime Class Action Suit
A former employee of Kaiser Permanente has filed a class action lawsuit in California, alleging that Kaiser has violated wage and hour law by not paying for overtime. The lawsuit was filed by a former employee of Kaiser who worked as a Site Support Specialist, a non-exempt employee paid on an hourly basis. The lawsuit alleges that Kaiser forced Site Support Specialist employees to remain on call once every fifteen weeks, every night for an entire week, without receiving any additional compensation. Read the full story.
Overhill Farms Suit Denied Class Action Status
A class action lawsuit filed by several former employees of Overhill Farms Inc. has been denied class action status in Los Angeles Superior Court. Several former Overhill Farms employees filed suit against their employer, claiming that they were required to change into their work uniform on company premises, yet were not paid for this time. Judge David Minning denied class action certification due to potential questions about the credibility of the former employees. The former employees allegedly lied to their employer about certain facts related to their employment. Read the full story.
Class Action Lawsuit Against Advertising Agency Alleges Gender Discrimination
A group of female employees working for Publicis Groupe, the world’s third largest advertising agency, have secured class action certification for their lawsuit against their former employer. Female employees at Publicis Groupe alleged gender discrimination against their employer, arguing that they were paid less than their male counterparts for the same work. The former employees submitted evidence that showed that many of the executive positions at Publicis Groupe paid women approximately ten percent less than male employees working in the same positions. Read the full story.
Employees File Class Action Lawsuit Against Pharmaceutical Company
The law firm of Sanford Wittels & Heisler has filed a class action lawsuit against Forest Laboratories and Forest Pharmaceuticals on behalf of a group of former employees. The lawsuit alleges that Forest Laboratories and Forest Pharmaceuticals engaged in discriminatory treatment of female employees, particularly those with family obligations. The lawsuit also alleges that those female employees who took maternity leave were denied employment incentives provided to other employees. The lawsuit is seeking damages in the range of $100 million. Read the full story.
Male Employees File Class Action Lawsuit Against Michigan Department of Corrections
A Circuit Court Judge in Michigan has certified a class action by male employees of the Michigan Department of Corrections, alleging gender discrimination. The Michigan Department of Corrections has implemented regulations limiting opportunities for male employment at Michigan’s only prison for female inmates. The employees represented by the class action lawsuit allege that female employees face no similar limitations in working at the state’s numerous prisons for male inmates. The Michigan Department of Corrections has stated that the limitations were in response to lawsuits filed by female inmates who have accused male employees of sexual assaults. Read the full story.
Former Employees File Class Action Lawsuit Against Northern California Construction Company
Former employees of a Northern California construction company have filed a class action lawsuit against their employer, Ghilotti Bros, alleging violations of wage and hour laws. Ghilotti Bros, who hire predominately Spanish speaking employees of Mexican descent, allegedly has refused to pay employees for time worked outside the official job site. The former employees of Ghilotti Bros have alleged that they were forced to clean company vehicles off site, and were not paid for this work. Read the full story.
Class action suit targets Pizza Hut
A Memphis law firm has filed a federal class action suit against a firm that owns 1,200 Pizza Hut restaurants, including one in Alton. The suit claims the firm, NPC International Inc., encourages shift managers to work "off the clock," resulting in working for less than minimum wage. NPC International Inc. is the world's largest franchisee of Pizza Huts and operates more than 1,200 in the United States. Along with the Alton restaurant, it also has locations in Bethalto, Collinsville, Edwardsville, Godfrey, Granite City, Jerseyville, Troy and Wood River. Read the full story.
Law Office Or Intern Mill? Class-Action Suit Against NYC Law Firm Expands Ongoing Unpaid Internship Debate [EXCLUSIVE]
In what could be the first-ever unpaid-internship lawsuit filed on behalf of aspiring attorneys, a New York City law firm is being accused of acting as an intern mill amid the ongoing debate over the legality of unpaid internships. A class-action lawsuit filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in New York alleges that the Portela Law Firm, a relatively low-profile operation located in Manhattan’s Washington Heights neighborhood, violated state and federal labor laws by providing no educational experience for its unpaid interns and failing to compensate them for what was essentially grunt work. The suit was filed on behalf of Eddie Poff, a recent law-school grad from the Bronx, and as many as 40 former interns who worked for the firm from approximately March 2007 to the present. Read the full story.
Rite Aid, LexisNexis Face Class Action Over Worker Info
Rite Aid Corp. and LexisNexis Search Solutions Inc. were hit with a putative class action in Pennsylvania federal court Friday alleging the drugstore giant used damaging or inaccurate information to make adverse hiring decisions in violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Read the full story.
Supreme Court Shows Skepticism About Class Arbitration
The Supreme Court took up the question of arbitration again yesterday in the case of Oxford Health Plans vs. Sutter, and once again the conservative justices seemed skeptical that the process designed to keep disputes out of court should be open to class actions at all. Read the full story.
United States: Second Circuit Reverses Denial Of Individual Arbitration In Title VII Class Action
Since Concepcion, the plaintiffs' bar has been exhorting courts to recognize exceptions to its holding that courts may not refuse to enforce an arbitration agreement on the ground that it precludes class actions. In the employment context, the plaintiffs' bar thought that it had a winner with Chen-Oster v. Goldman Sachs, in which a magistrate judge concluded (and a district court agreed) that Title VII bars enforcement of such agreements when the named plaintiff seeks to rely on "pattern-or-practice" evidence of discrimination. Last week, however, the Second Circuit reversed Chen-Oster and closed the loophole in Parisi v. Goldman, Sachs & Co. Read the full story.
Class Claims Hospital Chain Shorts Pensions
Health-care workers claim in a class action that Catholic Health East underfunded 60,000 workers' pension plans by $438 million, using a bogus claim that they are "exempt from ERISA's protections because they are 'Church plans.'" Read the full story.
Judge defers class action in US tech 'poaching' case
A judge on Friday cited strengths of a suit charging Silicon Valley giants with secretly agreeing not to "poach" each other's workers but shot down a request for broad class action status. Read the full story.
Junior Seau Lawsuit Joins NFL Concussion Class Actions
Lawsuits filed against the National Football League by the family of deceased star Junior Seau have been merged with an existing class action suits covering thousands of former players. Read the full story.
Verizon retirees granted class action status over Prudential pension deal
Retired Verizon Communications workers have won the right to proceed with a class-action lawsuit against the telecom giant over its decision last year to transfer parts of its pension obligation to Prudential Financial. Read the full story.
Local hospital nurses victorious in class-action lawsuit against wage fixing
Nurses at five hospitals across the Capital District are getting something extra this pay period, after a settlement was reached in a lawsuit that alleged wage fixing by administrators. Read the full story.
Nearly 6,300 Dollar Tree employees seek class certification for lawsuit over wages
Nearly 6,300 Dollar Tree employees are waiting to hear whether a federal judge in Norfolk certifies a lawsuit over wages as a class action. The workers claim they often worked through their unpaid half-hour lunch breaks and are now seeking overtime for those hours. Read the full story.
Fisker Faced With Class-Action Suit Over Mass Layoffs
The same law firm that successfully sued Solyndra LLC over similar issues has filed a class action suit based on U.S. and California laws against Fisker Automotive for failure to provide 60 days notice to those culled by its mass layoffs on Friday. Read the full story.
Class action filed against Home Depot in Jefferson County
Former employees are alleging in a recently filed class action lawsuit that Home Depot doesn’t pay their final wages quickly enough. Read the full story.
Strippers face arbitration agreement in class action against Paradise City
A mandatory arbitration clause stands in the way of three strippers who filed a class action lawsuit against the club they say unfairly took a percentage of their tips, while a federal judge has preliminarily approved $138,000 in fees for attorneys in a similar case. Read the full story.
Judges OK class actions for NYC tenants claiming rent overcharges
Tenants who claim landlords illegally deregulated their rent-stabilized apartments can bring class actions seeking reimbursement for rent overcharges, a New York state appeals court ruled in a trio of decisions on Thursday. Read the full story.
U.S. Supreme Court raises threshold for class action certification
Alleged damages suffered by a class must be measurable on a class-wide basis before U.S. courts may certify a class action, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled. Read the full story.
Ramirez v. Balboa Thrift and Loan
The trial court's order denying plaintiff's motion to certify a class on her unfair competition claim (UCL) alleging defendant violated the Rees-Levering Motor Vehicle Sales and Finance Act is reversed and remanded, where: 1) the trial court's reliance on California Civil Code section 2983.3(b)(1) was not a proper basis for denying class certification; and 2) the trial court's conclusion was based on an improper legal assumption, i.e., that defendant would be entitled to assert this statutory exception as a valid affirmative defense to the UCL claim alleged by class members who were given a reinstatement right in the Notice of Intention to Dispose of Motor Vehicle. Read the full story.
Settlement Reached In Gender Discrimination Class-Action With Cleveleand-Based Manufacturer
A recent class-action lawsuit filed by the EEOC, charging a Cleveland manufacturing company Presrite with discriminating against women, has resulted in a $700,000 settlement and force Presrite to offer jobs to at least 40 women. Presrite was accused of turning down female applicants for less-qualified male applicants. Presrite was also charged with failing to keep applications and other employment data in a manner violating federal law Read the full story.
Class-Action Suit Allows Some Asylum-Seekers to Apply for Employment Authorization
As part of a class-action lawsuit, an agreement has been reached between the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Defense that will allow for asylum seekers whose cases have been pending for more than six months to apply for employment authorization. This settles the class-action suit to fix the “Asylum Clock,” the six month waiting period that an asylum seeker must abide by in order to legally apply for work authorization. Read the full story.
Wet Seal Settles Racial Discrimination Class-Action With African American Employees
Clothing retailer Wet Seal recently reached a $7.5 million settlement in a national class-action lawsuit initiated by four African-american women who claimed the company enforced policies that discriminated against black employees. The women alleged that Wet Seal kept policies that denied black employees equal pay and promotional opportunities. Pursuant to the settlement agreement, Wet Seal’s CEO and board of directors will make changes addressing the areas of racial discrimination that initiated the action. Read the full story.
EEOC Files First Class-Action Suit Under Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA)
In bolstering the enforcement of laws that prohibit genetic discrimination, the EEOC has filed the first class-action lawsuit ever pursued under the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA). GINA is a five-year-old law that protects current and prospective employees from being discriminated against based on their genetic information. The EEOC has filed this action against Founders Pavilion, Inc., a nursing and rehabilitation facility, and alleges that the facility used information obtained from medical questionnaires to discriminate against applicants for jobs. Read the full story.
Merck Faced With $100 Million Gender Discrimination Suit
A complaint filed against Merck has alleged that the company discriminates against female employees, particularly those who are pregnant, in “assignment, promotion, advancement, and pay, and punishes employees when they have children.” Specifically, the complaint filed asserts that Merck employees on maternity leave are not eligible for merit awards and recognition for sales. The complaint also alleges that Merck’s policies discourage the hiring and promotion of women. Read the full story.
Class-Action Status Granted to Female Prison Staff In Sexual Harassment Claims
Several female staffers at a prison complex in Coleman, Fla. were recently granted class-action status for their complaint of sexual harassment in the prison. With the support of the Justice Department, and at the behest of the Federal Bureau of Prisons, over 60 female workers filed a complaint alleging that they are subjected to vile and offensive behavior by inmates in the work environment Read the full story.
Employees File Class-Action Suit Against Kaiser Permanente For Overtime Pay
Current and former account managers at Kaiser Permanente have filed a class-action lawsuit against Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc. for failing to pay the account managers overtime wages. The employees claim that they did not meet any of the overtime exemptions, which made it unlawful for Kaiser to deny them overtime compensation Read the full story.
State Workers in Louisiana Seek Class-Action Status For Work Environment Health Issues
Former and current workers for the Louisiana Department of Revenue claim that they were made sick by “crud” and “soot” that collected on their desks in their office. The employees claim that the contaminants led to respiratory problems, allergy-like symptoms, and several other health problems and seek class-action status. Read the full story.
CA Supreme Court to Decide Cases That Clarify Class-Action Arbitration Limits on Employment Contracts
The California Supreme Court is set to decide three cases that will interpret AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion, the recent Supreme Court decision that has been used to enforce arbitration clauses by companies. The three pending cases will decide how the Supreme Court’s ruling affects arbitration agreements used by state employees to prevent employees from bringing class-action lawsuits. Read the full story.
Class-Action Suit Filed Against Warner Music Over Intern Pay
A former Warner Music Group intern filed suit claiming that, under New York state law, he was entitled to payment for the work he performed as an intern. The suit alleges the violation occurred because the internship had no academic or vocational training. The class-action was filed with the intent that other interns in similar situations could decide to join. Read the full story.
Employees Allege Untimely Wages and Benefits In Class-Action Against Coal Company
A recently-filed class-action lawsuit against Consolidated Coal Company, by a former employee, alleges that wages and benefits were not paid in a reasonable amount of time to employees. The case will be heard in West Virginia state court after the coal company failed to get the case removed to federal court. Read the full story.
Class Action Discrimination Suit With U.S. Postal Service Reaches Settlement
Roughly 41,000 current and former employees will be covered in a recent settlement reached with the United States Postal Service, in a class-action alleging discrimination against employees with disabilities. USPS denies any wrongful behavior. Read the full story.
Class Action Claim Blocked Against American Express
The Supreme Court blocked restaurant owners from suing American Express Co. for high credit card fees. The Court\'s decision allowed for American Express to use an arbitration agreement to protect themselves from the class-action suit filed by the restaurant owners. Read the full story.
NBC Universal Is the Latest to Be Sued By Unpaid Interns
Two unpaid interns for Saturday Night Live and MSNBC are seeking $5 million after working unpaid at least 24 hours a week. The two interns seek to capitalize on recent court decisions that have favored unpaid interns when they sue large corporations. NBC Universal started paying their interns in 2013. Read the full story.
Class-Action Certification Sought Against U.S. Census Bureau For Employment Discrimination
Eight plaintiffs are seeking class certification alleging that the U.S. Census Bureau conducted unlawful screened out African Americans and Latinos from jobs in 2010 based on arrest records. The suit claims that the Census Bureau presumed that job applicants with arrest records were not fit to work. Read the full story.
Hearst Interns’ Denial of Class Certification To be Reviewed
Unpaid interns that worked for Hearst Corporation will appeal to the Second Circuit after their motion to certify was denied by a New York district court. The former unpaid interns allege that they should be considered “employees” under the Fair Labor Standards Act, as well as under New York Labor Law, and thus were entitled to compensation for their work with Hearst Read the full story.