A state-by-state review of court cases pertaining to workplace rights.
Select your state from the map below or from this list. (If your state does not have any court cases, then the page will not scroll down when you click on the state.)
Source: Reuters, Fortune
Date: September 1, 2016
Volkswagen AG said on Thursday it has filed an appeal of a federal labor board decision on its dispute with the United Auto Workers union in Tennessee to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. The National Labor Relations board on Aug. 26 sided with the UAW in the union’s effort to get VW to negotiate wages and benefits for about 160 of the 1,500 hourly workers at a VW plant in Chattanooga, Tenn.
Source: Lydia Wheeler, The Hill
Date: August 19, 2016
The nation’s second most powerful court on Friday sided with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in a case challenging actions the board took against a company that tried to keep employees from joining a union.
Source: Andrea McCarren, WUSA
Date: December 13, 2010
The federal investigation stems from an incident earlier this year in which a pilot with Metropolitan Aviation of Manassas made an emergency landing and was fired soon after.
Circuit Court Grants Federal Employee Right to File Action Against Agencies for Claims Lost at Agency Level
Source: Matthew Tully, FedSmith
Date: October 6, 2010
In a major federal employee upset, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit recently changed the way federal employees and agencies may approach partial relief in future discrimination claims.
Source: Jeff Jeffrey, Blog of Legal Times
Date: September 28, 2010
A federal judge in Washington today dismissed a State Department foreign services officer's age discrimination suit against Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, saying that Elizabeth Colton has failed to state a claim upon which relief could be granted.
Source: Post Now, The Washington Post
Date: August 23, 2010
Officials with the Library of Congress have agreed to pay $250,000 to an employee who sued over alleged sexual harassment by the former top law librarian.
Source: Rachel Feitzeig, The Wall Street Journal
Date: August 18, 2010
Andre Chreky, the D.C. hairstylist who once tamed the tresses of first lady Laura Bush, agreed to dole out $7 million to settle a sexual-harassment claim, according to the Washington Post.
Source: Mike McPhate, Washington Post
Date: July 19, 2010
A jury has awarded $900,000 to five black police officers in the District after deciding they were punished for complaining over racial discrimination, according to a Washington Examiner report.
Source: Jeffrey Diamond, ABCNews.com
Date: September 19, 2008
A transgendered woman, who lost a job offer because of her sexual status, has won a potentially groundbreaking federal sex discrimination lawsuit. A federal district court judge in Washington, D.C., ruled today that the Library of Congress discriminated against Diane Schroer when it offered her a job and then rescinded it after learning she was transgendered.
Source: Ms. Magazine
Date: February 6, 2007
[A] hair stylist to the Washington DC elite and longtime hairdresser to first lady Laura Bush, is facing sexual harassment charges for the second time in four months. In the latest lawsuit, [the stylist's] former employee alleges that she was fired for rebuffing [his] sexual advances. The previous lawsuit by [another] former employee, contains similar charges and also claims that [the stylist] withheld wages and tips. Each woman is seeking a minimum of $4 million in damages.
Source: Stephen Franklin, Chicago Tribune
Date: January 3, 2007
The AFL-CIO and [the United Food and Commercial Workers] sued the federal agency in charge of workers' health and safety, saying it has failed to implement a rule that would require employers to buy protective equipment for their employees. Such a rule would apply to as many as 20 million people who work in a number of places, including restaurants, hospitals, factories and at construction sites, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration said in 1999. That was the year the agency proposed that employers pick up the costs of their workers' protective equipment, saying 48,000 injuries and at least 7 deaths could be avoided annually as a result of such an action. The agency has yet to act on the rule.
Source: Associated Press, Law.com
Date: August 23, 2006
The federal government may not tax the money plaintiffs receive as compensation for emotional distress and other intangible injuries. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit struck down as unconstitutional a portion of the tax code that said only compensation for physical injuries is tax exempt. The ruling affects only Washington, D.C., but, depending on whether the IRS appeals to the Supreme Court or decides to adopt the finding nationwide, it could mean the end of tax bills following a variety of trials, from civil rights disputes to employment discrimination cases.
Source: Will Lester,
Associated Press, Washington Post
Date: June 27, 2006
The Homeland Security Department can't implement proposed personnel rules because they improperly limit the ability of labor unions to bargain over working conditions, a federal appeals panel ruled Tuesday. The system of regulations proposed early in 2005 by the federal agency "renders collective bargaining meaningless and is utterly unreasonable and thus impermissible," the unanimous three-judge panel said. Their strongly worded ruling upheld portions of federal District Court rulings last year and also expanded the protections of unions to bargain for worker rights. The department's proposed rules gave agency management the power to override agreements reached in collective bargaining, removed many issues about work rules from bargaining discussions and created an internal board to hear labor disputes.
Date: June 23, 2006
Morgan Stanley, the world's second-biggest securities firm, is in talks to settle allegations of discrimination against some of its female brokers. The law firms Mehri & Skalet and Sprenger & Lang filed a suit in Washington, D.C. on behalf of "all female financial advisors" working at Morgan Stanley between August 2003 and now. Wall Street brokerages including Morgan Stanley and Merrill Lynch have paid tens of millions of dollars in recent years to settle discrimination claims. The lawsuit filed in federal court in Washington, D.C. said Morgan Stanley "systematically denied equal employment opportunities to its female financial advisers" and discriminated against women in granting compensation and promotions.
Source: Steven Greenhouse, New York Times
Date: May 10, 2006
Nearly nine years after a unionization drive failed, a federal appeals court has ruled that the Smithfield Packing Company repeatedly broke the law in battling unionization at its giant pork-processing plant in Tar Heel, N.C. The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit upheld a broad cease-and-desist order that the National Labor Relations Board issued against Smithfield in 2004 in response to complaints by the United Food and Commercial Workers. The circuit court noted that Smithfield had illegally confiscated union materials, spied on workers' union activities, threatened to fire workers who voted for the union, and threatened to freeze wages and shut the plant if the employees unionized. The plant has 5,500 employees and is the world's largest pork-processing facility.
Source: Steven Greenhouse, New York Times
Date: January 19, 2006
They are called the unlocatables. They number nearly 100,000, and they are at the center of a lawsuit filed against the Department of Labor. The suit, filed by Interfaith Worker Justice, a group that mobilizes members of the clergy to help low-wage workers, seeks to compel the department to turn over the names of such workers--many of them Mexican immigrants--who are owed a total of $32 million as part of back-wage settlements but who have not received their money because they cannot be located.
Source: Karlyn Barker, Washington Post
Date: January 5, 2006
A woman whose sexual harassment complaint led to the departure of her supervisor at the D.C. Department of Parks and Recreation has been abruptly dismissed from her job at the agency, her attorneys said yesterday. Garrina Byrd filed a complaint with the city's Office of Human Rights in April, alleging that her then-supervisor required her to have sex with him in order to keep her job. She repeated the allegation last month at a D.C. Council committee hearing. "Clearly the agency retaliated against her for telling her story," one of Byrd's attorneys said. He said that just before her council testimony, Byrd had been told by a supervisor that her employment was being renewed for another 13 months.
Source: Daniel Pulliam, GovExec.com
Date: October 7, 2005
Alleging race discrimination in hiring and advancement practices, 13 current and former employees of the Commerce Department filed a $500 million class action lawsuit Wednesday, 10 years after the first complaint was made. The suit includes 11 black and two white plaintiffs and includes allegations that employees saw recriminations after speaking out against the alleged "pervasive race discrimination at Commerce." Attorney David W. Sanford plans to include all black employees who have worked at Commerce since 1995 along with anyone who believes that the department retaliated against them for speaking out against what the lawsuit describes as "systemic race discrimination."
Source: Bloomberg News, Chicago Tribune
Date: September 20, 2005
A union for flight attendants sued the Federal Aviation Administration and Labor Secretary Elaine Chao, claiming they failed to ensure the health and safety of workers at airlines. The suit, filed by the Association of Flight Attendants, says airline crews are subject to hazards such as turbulence, sudden changes in cabin air pressure, unwieldy service carts, exposure to toxic chemicals, unruly and sick passengers, and threats of terrorism.
Source: Christopher Lee, Josh
White, Washington Post
Date: August 11, 2005
The federal government often touts itself as a model employer of workers with disabilities. Lisa Bremer begs to differ. She was awarded $3 million yesterday in compensatory damages after jurors found that the Commerce Department failed to provide "reasonable accommodation" for her battle with multiple sclerosis. Bremer, a Freedom of Information Act officer at the department since 1987, took disability retirement in April 2003 after her supervisor ended an arrangement that had allowed Bremer to work from home two days a week. She sued at that time. Federal law limits Bremer's award for compensatory damages to $300,000.
Source: Christopher Lee, Washington Post
Date: August 16, 2005
Leaders of federal employee unions yesterday called on Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff to meet with them and discuss revamping the department's new personnel system, parts of which were ruled illegal by a federal judge last week. U.S. District Judge Rosemary M. Collyer faulted the new system for undermining employees' rights to collective bargaining, and she blocked the department from implementing new rules governing labor relations and employee appeals. The ruling delays indefinitely the move to the new personnel system, parts of which had been scheduled to take effect yesterday, and it complicates the White House's push for similar civil service changes government-wide.
Source: Pete Yost, Associated
Press, Washington Post
Date: June 2, 2005
As a man, David Schroer was an Army colonel and terrorism expert. As a woman, Diane Schroer was out of a job. What happened in between is the subject of a civil rights lawsuit against the Librarian of Congress. According to the case filed Thursday in federal court, David Schroer had accepted a position as a terrorism research analyst at the Congressional Research Service when he informed his future boss he was about to change his name to Diane and to begin dressing as a woman. The next day, the suit alleges, Schroer's future boss called to say that he would not be a "good fit" at the Library of Congress, of which the CRS is a part.
Maffei, States News Service, Boston Globe
Date: October 11, 2004
The Justice Department has agreed to settle a class-action lawsuit with as many as 550 white men for $11.5 million, a rare win for the class of lawyers who say they were not chosen for high-profile jobs because of gender and skin color. Faced with claims by hundreds of white men who say they were passed over for federal immigration judgeships in the mid-1990s, the Justice Department has agreed to settle a case in which the Clinton administration's affirmative action policies are alleged to have created their own bias. Critics see the settlement--which must be approved by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission--as an effort to undermine affirmative action programs.
Source: Sara Robinson, New York Times
Date: August 14, 2004
A federal district judge in Washington on Thursday dismissed an antitrust lawsuit that contended medical residents are forced to participate in a system that ensures they work long hours for low wages. The ruling, a major setback to the two-year-old challenge to the physician training system, follows passage of a Congressional amendment to antitrust law intended to derail the case. A central issue in the case is the system that pairs graduating medical students to slots in residency programs, commonly known as the Match.
Source: Darryl Fears, Washington Post, Boston Globe
Date: May 17, 2004
On a recent balmy Monday, Marsha Coleman-Adebayo walked into a federal courtroom to fight the Environmental Protection Agency. Arguments were heard in a lawsuit Coleman-Adebayo filed against her employer of 14 years. She believes that the EPA has been trying to force her out of her job since she took the agency to court for discrimination six years ago and won a $300,000 judgment. She alleges that the EPA is also retaliating against her for testifying before Congress that the agency targets whistle-blowers and other employees who buck the system.
Source: Darryl Fears, Washington Post
Date: May 10, 2004
On a recent balmy Monday, Marsha Coleman-Adebayo walked into a federal courtroom to fight the Environmental Protection Agency. The two sides argued, not over the environment, but the working environment: At issue was whether Coleman-Adebayo should be allowed to continue working out of her Bethesda home rather than at the agency's downtown offices in the District. The arguments came in a lawsuit Coleman-Adebayo filed against her employer of 14 years. She believes that the EPA has been trying to force her out of her job since she took the agency to court for discrimination six years ago and won a $300,000 judgment. She alleges that the EPA is also retaliating against her for testifying before Congress that the agency targets whistle-blowers and other employees who buck the system. "My story is the story of so many people in government," said Coleman-Adebayo, a senior policy analyst at the agency. "If you file a discrimination complaint, your career is over. What that means is that the 1964 Civil Rights Act is a joke in federal cases."
Source: Lyndsey Layton, Washington Post
Date: March 25, 2004
A dozen disabled residents from across the region plan to file a class-action lawsuit in federal court today against Metro, saying its van service for the disabled is so poor that it endangers their lives and violates federal law. "It's dreadful," said Marc Fiedler, co-founder of the Disability Rights Council of Washington, which has collected complaints from MetroAccess riders for several years. "The dream of having accessible, reliable, transportation has turned into a nightmare for many of these individuals. . . . Riders of this system are experiencing persistent, pervasive, abominable service." Since 1990, the federal government has required Metro and other public transit agencies to provide comparable service to disabled people who cannot ride a subway or conventional bus system. About 12,000 people are registered to use MetroAccess, which has a long record of problems. The Washington Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs, which is representing the disabled riders, said MetroAccess violates federal law because the service is so shoddy that it isn't comparable to Metrobus or Metrorail.
Source: David Cay Johnston, New York
Date: March 5, 2004
The executive who ran the United Way here for 27 years pleaded guilty on Thursday to stealing $497,298 from the charity in a plea agreement that might send him to prison for 27 months. The charity's current president said that much more was taken and that a longer prison term was warranted. The defendant, Oral Suer, ran the United Way of the National Capital Area, the nation's second-largest local United Way, with almost no oversight from the chief executives and business leaders who served on his board until he retired in 2001. For years he faked expenses, billed personal trips to Las Vegas to his United Way local and took cash advances that were not repaid, audits showed. Mr. Suer, 69, also ordered the charity's auditors, the firm of Councilor, Buchanan & Mitchell, to withhold information about his misconduct from the board, a subsequent inquiry by the new board found. Although the accounting firm works for the board, not the agency's staff, it complied with the order year after year.
Source: Kirsten Downey, Washington Post
Date: December 18, 2003
The Palm, a clubby steak-and-ribs, bourbon-on-the-rocks kind of restaurant that caters to Washington's movers and shakers, has agreed to pay $500,000 to settle a federal complaint that women have been denied jobs as waiters because of their sex. In its agreement with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Palm also promised to seek out women to fill future openings. It will improve its personnel recordkeeping, train its managers and new hires on federal equal employment opportunity laws, and advertise upcoming job openings in women's publications and major metropolitan newspapers.
Source: Laurence Arnold (AP), FindLaw Legal
Date: December 11, 2003
A federal judge rejected Amtrak's request to block a threatened one-day walkout by railroad unions to protest what they say is chronic underfunding of passenger rail. Unions representing 8,000 of Amtrak's 21,000 employees had planned the work stoppage for Oct. 3 but agreed to postpone any action until the court ruled. Though the unions can proceed, they have not said whether or when they will do so. The stalemate over federal funding they hoped to address with their one-day protest has been broken, at least for this year.
Source: Associated Press, Miami Herald
Date: November 17, 2003
Retired pilots of US Airways have filed a lawsuit against the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. and the carrier. The Soaring Eagles, which is the retired pilots association of US Airways, filed the suit Monday in U.S. District Court, according to Sherwin Kaplan, a lawyer for the group. The suit seeks a restraining order and preliminary injunction compelling the federal agency to correct a series of underpayments in the pensions paid to the pilots, Kaplan said. The Soaring Eagles want the court to require the PBGC to pay either the amount of benefits guaranteed by law or 90 percent of the retiree's prior payment. For those whose prior payment was less than the guaranteed amount, the group wants the agency to pay 100 percent of the benefit.
Source: Emily Gersema (AP), Rocky Mountain Telegram
Date: November 5, 2003
The Agriculture Department has settled a class-action lawsuit filed on behalf of 2,100 Asian and Pacific Islander workers who contended they were passed over, demoted or fired after they filed discrimination complaints. The department refused on Wednesday to specify how much it will pay the workers in settling the case. But Farook Sait, president of the workers' group Organization of South Asian Americans in Agriculture, said the amount was about $1.5 million, excluding the plaintiffs' attorney fees, which the department agreed to cover. Some workers will get retroactive promotions and back pay, he said. No workers were fired but some were moved to dead-end jobs elsewhere within the department, Sait said. Those people will be paid damages.
Source: Reuters, FindLaw Legal News
Date: November 4, 2003
The U.S. government will pay over half a million dollars to Linda Tripp, a central figure in the Monica Lewinsky scandal, as part of a settlement of lawsuits that accused U.S. officials of violating her privacy, court documents showed on Monday. Tripp's secretly taped conversations with Lewinsky fueled the sex scandal that almost brought down former President Bill Clinton. Tripp transferred to a job at the Pentagon from the White House after news of her tape recordings became public. Tripp sued the Defense Department and the U.S. government for privacy violations, including a charge that officials leaked information that she was interviewing for a job at a lower rank and salary than her old job. Tripp also accused U.S. officials of leaking information from her security clearance. Under the settlement, Tripp will be paid a lump sum of $595,000 and she will receive a retroactive increase in her pay grade which will be used to re-calculate her retirement benefits.
Source: David Nakamura and Henri E. Cauvin, Washington Post
Date: August 8, 2003
A 58-year-old Washington man has been awarded more than $300,000 after a jury determined that the Washington Convention Center Authority had improperly terminated him because of his age. Langdon Johnson sued after he was dismissed from his job as director of sales and marketing in February 2001, after working for the city landmark for 13 years. Convention Center officials told him that he was being let go because his job no longer would exist under a reorganization. But Johnson, who was 55 at the time of his termination, argued in court that he was eventually replaced by two "substantially younger" women -- said to be 36 and 29 -- who performed the same duties but were paid a total of 21/2 times the roughly $76,000 he had been paid at his highest annual salary.
Source: Joshua Partlow, Washington Post
Date: August 6, 2003
The Journal Newspapers Inc. agreed to pay $71,500 to settle a union allegation that the company unfairly laid off workers and closed regional offices last year in an attempt to stop employees from unionizing, the company confirmed yesterday. The one-time cash payout will be divided among eight former Journal employees. It settles a dispute that began last December when the suburban newspaper closed its offices in Montgomery and Prince George's counties and fired the eight, 10 days before a scheduled election to decide whether workers would be represented by the Washington-Baltimore Newspaper Guild.
Source: Sewell Chan, Washington Post
Date: July 31, 2003
The District's juvenile justice agency has failed to maintain a safe workplace and protect correctional officers from injuries and illnesses at the city's juvenile jail, according to a lawsuit filed yesterday by the officers' union in D.C. Superior Court. The suit alleges that officials at the Youth Services Administration "have shown a disregard for workplace safety" by failing to keep basic records on hazardous incidents. According to a log attached to the suit, there were 53 injuries among the approximately 200 correctional employees at the Oak Hill Youth Center in Laurel during the year that ended in April. Forty of the injuries resulted from contact with juveniles, usually when officers were breaking up fights or restraining children for misbehavior.
Date: July 20, 2003
A high-ranking Arab-American FBI agent has filed a suit against the bureau, the Department of Justice, and two top officials, alleging discrimination and reprisal based on his national origin. The suit was filed Friday in a U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia by Bassem Youssef, an FBI agent for 15 years. A U.S. citizen born in Cairo, Egypt, Youssef seeks compensatory damages as well as other relief. Youssef's suit gives evidence of a highly respectable career as an FBI agent who, familiar with the culture and customs of the Arab world, helped bridge the gap between U.S. intelligence and its Middle Eastern counterparts, establishing important relationships in the years leading up to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
Source: David Johnston, New
Date: July 20, 2003
The F.B.I.'s highest-ranking Arab-American agent has filed a racial discrimination lawsuit against the bureau, charging that he was kept out of the investigation of the Sept. 11, 2001, hijackings because of his ancestry. The agent, Bassem Youssef, filed the lawsuit on Friday in Federal District Court for the District of Columbia. Mr. Youssef, a naturalized American citizen born in Egypt, said in his complaint that "no other non-Arab F.B.I. employee with similar background and experience was willfully blocked from working 9/11-related matters." Some of the actions against him had broader implications, Mr. Youssef said in his complaint, undermining important counterterrorism investigations prior to the attacks. In one incident two months before the hijackings, F.B.I. agents in Miami lost a prospective informant on the Qaeda terrorist network because of what Mr. Youssef said was an internal argument about his involvement in interviews with the source. Whatever information might have been learned was lost, he said.
Source: Bloomberg News, New York Times
Date: July 12, 2003
Pension plans for the employees of Trans World Airlines, which was acquired by the AMR Corporation in 2001, were terminated properly by the United States Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, a federal appeals court has ruled. The Court of Appeals in Washington upheld a lower court's rejection of claims by pilots that the pension agency violated federal law when it canceled the pensions.
Source: Chris Silva, Washington
Date: June 30, 2003
After 16 months of haggling over a plan to turn for-profit and the bad press that went with it, CareFirst is dealing with more bad news. In late May, an employee of one of the health plan's affiliates filed a $10 million sexual harassment lawsuit against CareFirst. And she's represented by the national law firm founded by Johnnie Cochran, the Los Angeles-based lawyer who successfully defended O.J. Simpson. Twilitta Webb filed suit in D.C. Superior Court alleging that two female executives of Group Hospitalization and Medical Services Inc. (GHMSI) -- a CareFirst affilitate at which Webb works -- sexually harassed her, beginning in early 2001. Webb alleges that she was subject to "offensive touching, sexual advances, lewd comments, obscene phone calls, [and] demands for sex by a CareFirst supervisor and management official" at the GHMSI office in D.C.
Source: Christine Dugas, USA
Date: June 26, 2003
The federal government filed a lawsuit Thursday against fallen energy giant Enron, its former directors and a number of executives for failing to protect workers' retirement assets. The suit is the culmination of an investigation launched in November 2001 by the Department of Labor. In addition to the former Enron board members, it names the members of the administrative committee in charge of the 401(k) plan, and former top executives Kenneth Lay and Jeffrey Skilling. Experts say the action puts all employers on notice that they must carefully monitor their retirement plans or risk stiff penalties.
Source: Edward Walsh, Washington Post
Date: June 20, 2003
A labor union that represents federal employees filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court yesterday seeking to overturn a new government policy that is designed to encourage competition from private firms for some of the work that is now done by civil servants. In the lawsuit, the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU) accuses the Office of Management and Budget of violating the Federal Activities Inventory Reform (FAIR) Act of 1998 by changing the definitions used to determine what work should be considered "inherently governmental" and what work is "commercial" in nature and, therefore, eligible to be performed by nongovernment, contract workers.