Melissa Legault

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In 2006, Arizona voters approved a ballot measure which resulted in the passage of the Arizona Minimum Wage Act and established a state-wide minimum wage (currently $11.00/hour).  This law also permitted individual Arizona counties, cities, and towns to regulate both the minimum wage and the employee benefits to be provided by private employers located within their geographic boundaries.  That meant that local governments could establish a minimum wage higher (but not lower) than the statewide…
Would-be plaintiffs in two employment decisions – one from the Fifth Circuit, one from the Ninth Circuit – were recently reminded that, no matter how solid the facts of their case, they can still lose on a technicality. The first case, Lee v. Venetian Casino Resort, LLC, considered whether a plaintiff’s Title VII claim was time-barred because he did not file suit within 90 days of receiving a right-to-sue notice from the U.S. Equal…
On January 15, 2019, the United States Supreme Court held in New Prime Inc. v. Oliveira that a trucking company could not compel its drivers, which it classified as independent contractors, to arbitrate their wage and hour claims against the company because Congress intended to exempt all interstate transportation workers from the Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”).  Section 1 of the FAA exempts “contracts of employment of seamen, railroad employees, or any other class of workers…
As most readers of this blog are aware, the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) and analogous state laws prohibit employers from discriminating against qualified employees (and applicants) based on known physical or mental disabilities, and also require employers to provide those employees with reasonable accommodations for their disabilities.  Although broad in their protections, these laws have limits, as two recent federal appellate court decisions illustrate. In Connelly v. WellStar Health System, Inc., the Eleventh…
On December 7, 2018, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit unanimously held in Hustvet v. Allina Health System that an employer did not unlawfully terminate an employee who refused to receive a rubella vaccination.  The plaintiff, a healthcare specialist working with potentially vulnerable patients, requested an accommodation exempting her from receiving the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine due to her “many allergies and chemical sensitivities.”  She also refused…
On November 15, 2018, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit unanimously held in Netter v. Barnes that an employee did not engage in “opposition or participation” activity protected by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 when she reviewed and duplicated confidential personnel files without authorization.  The plaintiff, an African-American Muslim woman, worked for the Guilford County  (North Carolina) Sheriff’s Office for over sixteen years with…
The U.S. Supreme Court currently is contemplating whether to review three employment discrimination cases involving what, if any, protection Title VII extends against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.  See R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes Inc. v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission et al., case number 18-107 (considering transgender discrimination under Title VII; see Sixth Circuit opinion below reported at 884 F.3d 560); Altitude Express v. Zarda, case number 17-1623…
In its first opinion of the 2018 term, the U.S. Supreme Court held in Mount Lemmon Fire Dist. v. Guido, No. 17-587, slip op. at 1-7 (November 6, 2018) that the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (“ADEA”) applies to all political subdivisions of states, regardless of size, rejecting an argument that the 20-employee jurisdictional threshold applicable to private employers also applies to state government employers. Background In Mount Lemmon, the employer, a…
Earlier this year, the United States Supreme Court held in Epic Systems Corp. v. Lewis that employers can require employees to agree to arbitrate disputes between them solely on an individual basis and to waive class and collective action litigation procedures without running afoul of federal law.  (See our post here).   Addressing an issue not explicitly discussed in Epic, the Kentucky Supreme Court recently held in Northern Kentucky Area Development District v. Snyder that…