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Join NELA President Jim Kaster in Chicago for our 2017 Trial Boot Camp. Below, Jim shares a few words about his 3rd time as a Trial Boot Camp Faculty Member. Motions, conferences, delays, and a general reluctance by some courts to go to trial make it increasingly unlikely that our cases will be resolved by juries. Because of this, it is hard to attain and retain the skills we all need to be successful trial advocates. If your practice fits this description, I urge you to sign up for the 2017 NELA Trial Boot Camp, taking place October 12–14 in Chicago, IL. The deadline to register as a Trial Boot Camp Advocate has been extended through this Friday, September ...
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Written by Elizabeth Colman, Paul H. Tobias Attorney Fellow, The Employee Rights Advocacy Institute For Law & Policy   This October, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in a trio of cases challenging whether employers can legally force workers to accept class and collective action bans as a condition of employment. Proponents of the bans argue that because they are contained in the employers’ forced arbitration clause, the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) requires courts to enforce the bans.     Workers argue that forcing them to resolve all employment disputes in individual arbitration  violates their right to engage in “concerted activities... ...
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On March 15, 2017, Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) introduced the Mandatory Arbitration Transparency Act of 2017 (MATA, S. 647 ). Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Al Franken (D-MN), Edward Markey (D-MA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Patty Murray (D-WA), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) are cosponsors. The introduction of MATA represents a new approach to limit the harmful effects suffered by workers who are forced to arbitrate workplace claims. The bill prohibits enforcement of any predispute forced arbitration provision that contains a “covered confidentiality clause,” defined as communications that would violate a state or federal whistleblower statute, those involving ...
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On April 4, 2017 in honor of Equal Pay Day, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and Representative Rosa L. DeLauro (D-CT) reintroduced the Paycheck Fairness Act in the Senate and the House of Representatives, respectively. On average, women still earn only about 80 percent of what men earn. Womens income comprises an increasingly greater share of family income. Pay inequity harms not only women, but also the families that rely on their income, and the economy overall. The Paycheck Fairness Act would go a long way toward eradicating the pay gap by placing the burden on employers to demonstrate that pay disparities are not sex-based, prohibiting retaliation against ...
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In documents submitted to the United States Senate Judiciary Committee, two former law students of Judge Neil Gorsuch recount his expression of alarming views on women in the workplace during a class on ethics and professionalism at the University of Colorado Law School in April 2016. On April 20, 2016, Jennifer Sisk, a student in the class, summarized the views expressed by Judge Gorsuch in a Facebook post. She also expressed her concerns regarding the substance of what Judge Gorsuch had said during class to her Dean of Students. After Judge Gorsuchs nomination to serve on the United States Supreme Court, Barry Roseman (Denver, CO), a member of NELAs Judicial ...
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As described in the February edition of On The Hill, a narrative has emanated from Republicans in Congress for several years in which lawsuits and lawyers are villains robbing defenseless corporations of time and profits through frivolous litigation. Absent from this messaging is any mention of the responsibilities and accountability corporations and employers have to ordinary Americans when they violate civil rights and other laws. In keeping with this theme, Republican members of Congress named the week of March 6 Lawsuit Abuse Week, and moved forward on five bills in the House of Representatives designed to attack access to justice. Three of the five bills ...
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The NELAHQ Blog is pleased to present the following post from Elizabeth Colman, the Paul H. Tobias Attorney Fellow at The Employee Rights Advocacy Institute For Law & Policy (The Institute).This post has been updated to reflect that the U.S. Supreme Court has granted certiorari in Lewis, Morris, and Murphy Oil, and consolidated them for argument. This post may also be viewed on The Institute's website . Horton Comes to a Head: U.S. Supreme Court Poised to Resolve Conflict Regarding Workers Rights To Act Collectively The United States Supreme Court granted three petitions for certiorari during their Friday, January 13 conference that touch ...
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On October 25, 2016 NELA joined a group of civil rights organizations, led by Bay Area Lawyers for Individual Freedom (BALIF) and the Impact Fund, in signing onto an amicus brief in Carcao v. McCrory , currently pending in U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. This case involves a challenge to a portion of North Carolinas notorious H.B. 2 law that would prevent transgender persons from using public restrooms in line with their gender identity, if that identity does not match the gender on their birth certificate. The plaintiffs in this case sought a preliminary injunction against enforcement of the provision as applied to all transgender persons ...
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On August 3, 2016, NELA, joined by the Truckers Justice Center, Teamsters for a Democratic Union, and General Drivers, Warehousemen & Helpers Local No. 89, filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Administrative Review Board (ARB) in support of whistleblower complainant Kenneth Palmer in Palmer v. Canadian National Railway/Illinois Central Railroad Company . A unique burden-shifting framework applies to a number of statutes enacted to protect workplace whistleblowers. In cases arising under these laws, a complainant has the burden to demonstrate by a preponderance of the evidence that his actual or perceived protected activity was a ...
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On behalf of the 1,200-member strong California Employment Lawyers Association (CELA), we welcome you to the City of Angels for #NE LA 16 ! When the Roll Call Of The States begins, you can be sure that CELA’s shout-out will resonate throughout the room. While we know that many are drawn to the Golden State because of our California sun, CELA has been working for thirty years to ensure that the climate for California workers is equally hospitable. We look forward to welcoming you. CELA is a statewide organization of more than 1,200 attorneys who represent workers in discrimination, harassment, retaliation, whistleblower, wage and hour, and other employment ...
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The 2016 NELA Convention is coming to California, in Downtown Los Angeles, June 22–25 . The NELA Convention brings together the best and brightest employment law minds from across the United States. The NELA Convention provides a broad view of the employment law perspective, allowing practitioners from across the country to share the innovative techniques they apply to achieve success, despite often being in plaintiff unfriendly venues. Their innovations are our opportunities. Moreover, a number of the best attorneys from the California Employment Lawyers Association (CELA) will be speaking or giving trial presentations as part of the California track—speakers ...
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Dear NELA Members: The Civil Jury Project at the New York University School of Law currently is studying the causes and consequences of the pronounced decline in civil jury trials in both state and federal courts. As part of that effort, they have developed a survey that they would like NELA members to complete, and we have agreed to forward their request to the NELA membership. Please note the time-sensitive nature of the request, as the survey will remain open only through the end of May. A brief description of what The Civil Jury Project hopes to accomplish, and a link to the survey, is reproduced below in italics. Please feel free to respond ...
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On April 6, 2016, NELA and the National Employment Law Project filed an amicus brief in support of the Respondents in Encino Motors, LLC v. Navarro (Case No. 15-415), currently pending in the U.S. Supreme Court. The five plaintiffs in this case were, or are, service advisors at a Mercedes-Benz dealership in California. Their responsibilities included greeting customers, recording their complaints, drafting service estimates, and suggesting work to be performed. While they regularly worked more than forty hours per week, they did not receive overtime pay and, in 2012, filed suit in federal district court alleging violations of the Flair Labor Standards ...
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On April 5, 2016, NELA was joined by our colleagues from the National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) in filing an amicus brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, in support of the Plaintiff-Appellant Kristin Punt in Punt v. Kelly Services & GE Controls Solutions . Kristin Punt was fired from her job almost immediately after she was diagnosed with breast cancer. As is true for most people during the first days or weeks after receiving a cancer diagnosis, the extent of her cancer and what her treatment would entail were uncertain. When Ms. Punt made an accommodation request to her employer by e-mail on December 5, 2011, she knew that: ...
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On March 11, 2016, NELA joined the Equal Justice Society, Justice at Work, the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts, and the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice in filing an amicus brief in support of the Plaintiff-Appellants in Jones v. City of Boston , currently pending in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. The Jones plaintiffs challenged a drug test administered by the Boston Police Department from 1999 through 2006, as discriminatory against African-American officers. The “hair test” at issue attempts to determine whether a person has used cocaine by testing the amount of cocaine and cocaine metabolites ...
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The NELA HQ Blog is pleased to publish the following post drafted by NELA member Andrew J. Perlmutter from Passman & Kaplan in Washington, D.C. On February 8, 2016, NELA filed an amicus brief in Abernathy v. Department of the Army, MSPB Docket No. DC-1221-14-0364-W-1, pending before the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB). NELA’s amicus brief was filed in response to the MSPB’s invitation for public amicus participation, published in the Federal Register at 81 Fed. Reg. 2,913-2,914 (January 19, 2016). The appellant was a government contractor who blew the whistle in 2012 on violations of law, rule or regulation to the ...
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On January 19, 2016 NELA joined the National Employment Law Project, the National Association of Consumer Advocates, the National Consumer Law Center, and Towards Justice in filing an amicus brief in support of the plaintiff-appellees in Mohamed/Gillette v. Uber . The plaintiffs in this case represent a class of current and former Uber drivers who have alleged that Uber’s background check policies violate the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and the California Investigative Consumer Report Agencies Act (CICRAA), and have challenged Uber’s misclassification of its drivers as independent contractors under the California Private Attorneys General ...
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On October 28, 2015, NELA joined with AARP to file an amicus brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit on behalf of the Plaintiff-Appellants in Whitley v. BP, P.L.C. Under § 1104 of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), the fiduciary of an employee benefit plan must exercise his or her duties “solely in the interest of the participants and beneficiaries” of the plan, and “with the care, skill, prudence, and diligence” of a prudent person under the then-prevailing circumstances. The Defendants in Whitley are a group of individuals and entities associated with BP who acted as fiduciaries for a number of benefit ...
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On October 26, 2015, NELA joined the Metropolitan Washington Employment Lawyers Association (MWELA) in filing an amicus brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in support of the Plaintiff-Appellant in Sharif v. United Airlines, Inc. Mr. Sharif, who worked as a Service Director for United Airlines, suffered from anxiety as a result of being imprisoned and tortured by Iranian police during the Islamic Revolution in 1979. To manage his anxiety, Mr. Sharif requested, and was granted, intermittent leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Under the arrangement, Mr. Sharif was allowed to take leave once a month for one to ...
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On September 29, 2015, NELA filed an amicus brief jointly with AARP, Interfaith Worker Justice, and the National Employment Law Project (NELP) in support of respondents in Tyson Foods Inc. v. Bouaphakeo , No. 14-1146, pending in the U.S. Supreme Court. This case concerns certification of state law class action wage and hour claims under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23, collective action claims under the Fair Labor Standards Act and the use of representative evidence. The brief was drafted by NELA member Seth R. Lesser, Klafter Olsen & Lesser LLP, Rye Brook, NY. Employees at a Tyson meat-processing facility brought Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) ...
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