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The Supreme Court’s Labor and Employment Docket

Author: Joel N. Kreizman|October 20, 2015

Labor and employment cases

The Supreme Court’s Labor and Employment Docket

Labor and employment cases

Every term, the U.S. Supreme Court considers several cases with the potential to have significant ramifications for employers and employees. The Court’s new term dealing in labor and employment, which began earlier this month, is no exception.

Below is a brief preview of the labor and employment cases currently on the Supreme Court’s docket.

  • Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association: The justices have agreed to take up a much-anticipated case regarding public employee unions. The specific questions before the Court are: (1) Whether Abood v. Detroit Board of Education should be overruled and public-sector “agency shop” arrangements invalidated under the First Amendment; and (2) whether it violates the First Amendment to require that public employees affirmatively object to subsidizing nonchargeable speech by public-sector unions, rather than requiring that employees affirmatively consent to subsidizing such speech. In Abood, the Court held that public employees could be compelled to pay an agency service fee to cover their fair share of the costs of collective bargaining, contract administration, and grievance adjustment without running afoul of the First Amendment. The current case, which involves dues charged by unions representing the public school teachers in California, is expected to have a profound effect on the future of public sector unions.
  • Green v. Donahoe: The Court will take up an important employment litigation issue that has divided the federal courts of appeal. Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, employees have 45 days to file a constructive discharge claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. However, courts do not agree on when the clock starts running. The specific question before the Court is: Whether, under Title VII, the filing period for a constructive discharge claim begins to run when an employee resigns, as five circuits have held, or at the time of an employer’s last allegedly discriminatory act giving rise to the resignation, as three other circuits have held.
  • Tyson Foods v. Bouaphakeo: The Court will consider a class-action lawsuit involving alleged violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The plaintiffs maintain that they were not properly compensated for time spent donning and doffing protective gear. However, not all of the class members suffered harm under the FLSA. The Court specifically agreed to consider the following questions: (1) Whether differences among individual class members may be ignored and a class action certified under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(b)(3), or a collective action certified under the Fair Labor Standards Act, 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 (2) whether a class action may be certified or maintained under Rule 23(b)(3), or a collective action certified or maintained under the Fair Labor Standards Act, when the class contains hundreds of members who were not injured and have no legal right to any damages.

The justices continue to add cases throughout the term, so we encourage readers to check back for updates. We will also provide in-depth coverage of the decisions once they are announced on this blog as well as the Scarinci Hollenbeck Constitutional Law Reporter.

The Supreme Court’s Labor and Employment Docket

Author: Joel N. Kreizman

Every term, the U.S. Supreme Court considers several cases with the potential to have significant ramifications for employers and employees. The Court’s new term dealing in labor and employment, which began earlier this month, is no exception.

Below is a brief preview of the labor and employment cases currently on the Supreme Court’s docket.

  • Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association: The justices have agreed to take up a much-anticipated case regarding public employee unions. The specific questions before the Court are: (1) Whether Abood v. Detroit Board of Education should be overruled and public-sector “agency shop” arrangements invalidated under the First Amendment; and (2) whether it violates the First Amendment to require that public employees affirmatively object to subsidizing nonchargeable speech by public-sector unions, rather than requiring that employees affirmatively consent to subsidizing such speech. In Abood, the Court held that public employees could be compelled to pay an agency service fee to cover their fair share of the costs of collective bargaining, contract administration, and grievance adjustment without running afoul of the First Amendment. The current case, which involves dues charged by unions representing the public school teachers in California, is expected to have a profound effect on the future of public sector unions.
  • Green v. Donahoe: The Court will take up an important employment litigation issue that has divided the federal courts of appeal. Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, employees have 45 days to file a constructive discharge claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. However, courts do not agree on when the clock starts running. The specific question before the Court is: Whether, under Title VII, the filing period for a constructive discharge claim begins to run when an employee resigns, as five circuits have held, or at the time of an employer’s last allegedly discriminatory act giving rise to the resignation, as three other circuits have held.
  • Tyson Foods v. Bouaphakeo: The Court will consider a class-action lawsuit involving alleged violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The plaintiffs maintain that they were not properly compensated for time spent donning and doffing protective gear. However, not all of the class members suffered harm under the FLSA. The Court specifically agreed to consider the following questions: (1) Whether differences among individual class members may be ignored and a class action certified under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(b)(3), or a collective action certified under the Fair Labor Standards Act, 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 (2) whether a class action may be certified or maintained under Rule 23(b)(3), or a collective action certified or maintained under the Fair Labor Standards Act, when the class contains hundreds of members who were not injured and have no legal right to any damages.

The justices continue to add cases throughout the term, so we encourage readers to check back for updates. We will also provide in-depth coverage of the decisions once they are announced on this blog as well as the Scarinci Hollenbeck Constitutional Law Reporter.

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