an update for the week of august 14, 2006
today's workplace: the employee rights blog
Walking in the Woods: Free; Northwest's Advice: Priceless: Want a solution to that pesky problem of not receiving high enough wages? Northwest Airlines says: take a hike. Need something that you can't afford? Easy: just dig through the trash to see if you can find it. In a publication for their employees facing layoffs and wage cuts, Northwest suggested that one way to cope was to take dates for walks in the woods, instead of the traditional dinner and a movie, and that employees shouldn't be shy about pulling something they like out of the trash. Whew, I'm glad Northwest was able to solve those problems for us -- hopefully they're not digging through airport trash bins for extra parts for their planes.
this week in the courts
MacDonald v. Grace Church Seattle  (Ninth Circuit; No. 04-35984)
Decision Date: August 11, 2006
Dismissal of Title VII claims against defendant nonprofit religious organizations for sexual harassment and retaliation is affirmed where dismissal was proper since the Washington State Human Rights Commission did not have subject matter jurisdiction over plaintiff's charges and therefore a 180-day deadline applied for the required filing with the EEOC, and plaintiff failed to comply with that time limit.
Hart v. Fed Ex Ground Package Sys. Inc.  (Seventh Circuit; No. 06-2903)
Decision Date: August 9, 2006
Denial of motion to remand to Pennsylvania in a class-action employment suit is affirmed where the structure of the Class Action Fairness Act logically shifts the burden of persuasion to the plaintiff to show that the "home-state controversy" or "local controversy" exceptions apply.
Decision Date: August 9, 2006
Respondent's order concluding that petitioner violated its obligation to bargain in good faith when it unilaterally changed its employees' health insurance carrier is vacated where respondent provided no reasoned basis for its decision.
Cooper v. IBM Personal Pension Plan  (Seventh Circuit; No. 05-3588)
Decision Date: August 7, 2006
Judgment for plaintiffs in a class-action suit alleging age discrimination under ERISA in the structure of a pension plan is reversed where the plan did not discriminate based on age, even though participants of different ages experienced different results.

Cooper v. Fulton County, Georgia  (Eleventh Circuit; No. 05-12318)
Decision Date: August 7, 2006
Summary judgment in favor of plaintiff, in claim against defendant county for FMLA violation, is affirmed over claims that: 1) plaintiff failed to notify defendant that his July 13, 1998 absence was due to a potentially FMLA-qualifying reason; 2) defendant's request for certification on July 13, 1998 was sufficient under the FMLA; and 3) the district court erred in awarding plainitff liquidated damages.
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