Supreme Court Denies Review in Six Labor, Employment Cases Nov. 3, 2014

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Following are summaries of the six labor and employment law cases denied Supreme Court review Nov. 3, 2014.

14-308 Hall v. Merit Sys. Prot. Bd.   

Ruling below (Fed. Cir., 560 Fed. App’x 979, 2014 BL 87402, unpublished):

The petitioner failed to demonstrate that the Merit Systems Protection Board abused its discretion or acted arbitrarily or capriciously in dismissing her refiled appeal. Given a delay or more than six years in her refiling and the lack of evidence of good cause to justify that delay, the board's decision to dismiss as untimely is affirmed. The board receives “wide latitude” under arbitrary and capricious review, and “[i]t is not for the Federal Circuit to substitute its own judgment for that of the Board” (Hall v. Merit Sys. Prot. Bd.,U.S., No. 14-308, cert. denied 11/3/14).

14-7 Baltimore Cnty. v. EEOC   

Ruling below (4th Cir., 747 F.3d 267, 122 FEP Cases 538):

The district court did not err in granting partial summary judgment in favor of the EEOC on the issue of the county's liability for maintaining a retirement plan in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. Even if the service-based pension benefits qualified as an “early retirement benefit” under the ADEA, the provision was not a defense to the challenged disparate treatment. The provision did not address employee contribution rates nor did it permit employers to impose contribution rates that increased with the employee's age at the time of plan enrollment. Therefore, the safe harbor provision was inapplicable. The case is remanded for further proceedings to address the issue of damages (Baltimore Cnty. v. EEOC,U.S., No. 14-7, cert. denied 11/3/14).

14-30 Thyssenkrupp Waupaca, Inc. v. DeKeyser   

Ruling below (7th Cir., 735 F.3d 568, 21 WH Cases2d 760):

This court reverses the district court's ruling that showering and changing clothes at a foundry was not compensable under the Fair Labor Standards Act, because the Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration had not mandated that workers in foundries like this one must shower and change clothes on-site. The district court granted summary judgment despite the fact that there was a factual dispute as to whether showering and changing clothes significantly reduced workers' health risks. OSHA's decision not to promulgate a rule requiring such activities does not bar a party from presenting evidence as to the compensability of such activities under the FLSA, and the factual disputes here otherwise preclude summary judgment. Courts cannot ignore, as the district court did here, factual evidence and expert testimony offered by the parties. The district court erred when it ignored the dispute in the evidence as to the health effects of chemical exposure at the foundry and the impact, if any, that showering and changing clothes would have on workers (Thyssenkrupp Waupaca, Inc. v. DeKeyser,U.S., No. 14-30, cert. denied 11/3/14).

14-231 Warch v. Longshoremen's Association Local 333   

Ruling below (4th Cir., 2014 BL 123488, unpublished):

The magistrate judge's order dismissing in part and denying relief in part on the civil action for breach of duty of fair representation against International Longshoremen's Association, Local 333, and challenging employment practices of Steamship Trade Association is affirmed for reasons stated by the magistrate judge. The magistrate judge found that the plaintiffs failed to submit new evidence, as required for a motion to alter or amend judgment under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 59(e) (Warch v. Longshoremen's Association Local 333,U.S., No. 14-231, cert. denied 11/3/14).

14-198 Foley v. Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, LLC   

Ruling below (11th Cir., 2014 BL 140814, unpublished):

The order of the district court, granting summary judgment to defendant investment bank on plaintiff's claim of disability discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act, is affirmed. Plaintiff is unable to establish that he is covered by the ADA. His unprofessional conduct rendered him unqualified to perform the essential functions of his job, and he cannot establish that the investment bank had “actual or constructive knowledge” of his alleged disability. Even if he were covered by the ADA, plaintiff's claims would fail because he cannot show that he was terminated because of his disability (Foley v. Morgan Stanley Smith Barney,U.S., No. 14-198, cert. denied 11/3/14).

14-362 Groeber v. Friedman & Schuman, P.C.   

Ruling below (3d Cir., 555 F. App'x 133, 2014 BL 38887):

The district court's dismissal for failure to allege a claim of racial discrimination and unlawful retaliation is affirmed. The plaintiff failed to put forth facts to support an inference that the adverse employment action was made under circumstances of unlawful discrimination. Her subjective belief that race played a role in employment decisions is not sufficient to establish an inference of discrimination, without proof that someone similarly situated was treated more favorably, and she offered no rebuttal to the employer's proffered performance-related reason for terminating her employment. As to her retaliation claim, while temporal proximity can be probative of a causal connection, the mere fact that an adverse employment action occurs after a complaint, without more, is ordinarily insufficient to satisfy the plaintiff's burden to demonstrate a causal link between the events. Here, a three-month period between the complaint and the firing is not unusually suggestive of a retaliatory motive, and she did not allege that anything otherwise nefarious occurred (Groeber v. Friedman & Schuman, P.C.,U.S., No. 14-362, cert. denied 11/3/14).