US Supreme Court Watch

Note: As of July 14, 2016 this page is no longer being updated. Sorry, folks.

Employment law decisions: 2015-2016 session

  • Dollar General Corporation v. Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians – The Court split 4-4, thus affirming the 5th Circuit’s judgment that an Indian tribal court has jurisdiction over an intern’s claim that the manager of a store on tribal land sexually molested him while he was working there. June 23, 2016.
  • Encino Motorcars, LLC v. NavarroCourt gives no deference to Department of Labor’s rule regarding exempting “service advisors” at car dealerships from the Fair Labor Standards Act’s overtime-pay requirements. June 20, 2016. [Blog]
  • Green v. Brennan – For federal employees, the filing period for a constructive discharge claim begins to run when an employee resigns, not at the time of an employer’s last allegedly discriminatory act giving rise to the resignation.  May 23, 2016.
  • CRST Van Expedited, Inc. v. EEOC – A favorable ruling “on the merits” is not a necessary predicate to find that a defendant in a Title VII case has prevailed for purposes of being awarded attorney’s fees. The Court gave no opinion on whether a defendant must obtain a preclusive judgment in order to prevail. May 19, 2016. [Blog] [SCOTUSblog Opinion analysis: Title VII defendants can recover attorney’s fees without prevailing “on the merits”]
  • Heffernan v. City of Paterson – The First Amendment bars the government from demoting a public employee based on a supervisor’s perception that the employee supports a political candidate. April 26, 2016. [Blog]
  • Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association – The Court split 4-4, thus affirming the 9th Circuit decision which followed Abood v. Detroit Board of Education. Public-sector “agency shop” arrangements do not violate the First Amendment. The 4-4 decision does not set a precedent, so the issue can return to the Court in a later case. March 29, 2016. [Blog]
  • Tyson Foods, Inc. v. Bouaphakeo – A class or collective action can be certified where liability and damages will be determined with statistical techniques that presume all class members are identical to the average observed in a sample, and the class contains members who were not injured. March 22, 2016. [Syllabus] [Blog]
  • Gobeille v. Liberty Mutual Insurance Company – ERISA preempts a Vermont statute that requires health insurers to report payments and other information relating to health care services to a state agency for compilation in an all-inclusive health care database. March 1, 2016. [Blog]
  • Campbell-Ewald Company v. Gomez – An unaccepted Rule 68 offer that would fully satisfy an individual plaintiff’s claim does not moot that claim, and also does not moot a class action. January 20, 2016. [Blog]
  • Montanile v. Board of Trustees of the National Elevator Industry Health Benefit Plan – When an ERISA-plan participant wholly dissipates a third-party settlement on non traceable items, the plan fiduciary may not bring suit to attach the participant’s separate assets under ERISA Section 502(a)(3). January 20, 2016.

Pending cases at the US Supreme Court

  • NLRB v. SW General Inc – Whether the President’s appointment of an NLRB Acting General Counsel violated the Federal Vacancies Reform Act. [Opinion below] [Briefs] [Blog] Oral argument in the Fall of 2016.

Decisions during 2014-2015 session

  • EEOC v. Abercrombie & Fitch Stores – An employer can be liable under Title VII  for refusing to hire an applicant based on a “religious observance and practice” even if the employer lacks actual knowledge that a religious accommodation was required, so long as the need for an accommodation was a motivating factor in the employer’s decision. June 1, 2015.  [Blog]
  • Tibble v. Edison International – ERISA trustee’s continuing duty to monitor investments determines when statute of limitations begins to run. May 18, 2015.  [Blog]
  • Mach Mining v. EEOC – Courts may enforce the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s mandatory duty to conciliate discrimination claims before filing suit, yet the scope of review is deferential. April 29, 2015.  [Blog]
  • Young v. United Parcel Service – If a pregnant woman can’t do her regular job and asks for a light duty assignment, and many (but not all) other workers get light duty as an accommodation for a disability or on-the-job injury, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act may require that the employer also accommodate the pregnant woman. March 25, 2015. [Blog]
  • Perez v. Mortgage Bankers Assoc – A federal agency [Department of Labor] need not engage in notice-and-comment rulemaking pursuant to the Administrative Procedure Act before it significantly alters an interpretive rule that articulates an interpretation of an agency regulation. March 9, 2015. [Blog]
  • M&G Polymers USA, LLC v. Tackett – When a collective bargaining agreement is silent concerning the duration of retiree health-care benefits, courts should apply ordinary contract principles, and not presume that silence means the parties intended those benefits to vest. January 26, 2015.
  • Department of Homeland Security v. MacLean – Whistleblower’s disclosures, which were contrary to TSA’s regulations
    on sensitive security information, were not “specifically prohibited by law,” because regulations do not qualify as “law” under the whistleblower statute.  January 21, 2015.
  • Integrity Staffing Solutions, Inc. v. Busk – Time spent in post-shift security screenings is not compensable under the Fair Labor Standards Act as amended by the Portal-to-Portal Act. December 9, 2014. [Blog]