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Employment Law

Mach Mining v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission - Post-Decision SCOTUScast

SCOTUScast 5-21-15 featuring Paul Mirengoff
Paul E. Mirengoff May 21, 2015

On April 29, 2015, the Supreme Court issued its decision in Mach Mining v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. This case involves the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's (EEOC) Title VII duty to investigate claims of discrimination levied against an employer and to make good faith efforts to eliminate discriminatory employment practices before filing suit against that employer. The question this case asks is whether and to what extent a court may enforce the EEOC's duty to conciliate discrimination claims before filing suit.

In a unanimous opinion delivered by Justice Kagan, the Court held that courts have the authority to review whether the EEOC has fulfilled its statutory duty to conciliate discrimination claims prior to filing suit against an employer. The judgment of the Seventh Circuit was vacated and remanded.

To discuss the case, we have Mr. Paul Mirengoff. Mr. Mirengoff is a retired attorney in Washington, D.C. and is a blogger at powerlineblog.com.

Department of Homeland Security v. MacLean - Post-Decision SCOTUScast

SCOTUScast 5-13-15 featuring Kevin Govern
Kevin H. Govern May 13, 2015

On January 21, 2015, the Supreme Court issued its decision in Department of Homeland Security v. MacLean

The question in this case concerns the Federal Whistleblower Protection Act, which prevents the government from terminating an employee for revealing “any violation of any law, rule, or regulation” or “a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety”--unless that revelation is "specifically prohibited by law."  The question here is whether a federal air marshal’s disclosure that the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) had decided to cut costs by removing air marshals from certain long-distance flights was a disclosure “specifically prohibited by law.”

In an opinion delivered by Chief Justice Roberts, the Court held by a vote of 7-2 that the disclosure in this case was not “specifically prohibited by law.” The judgment of the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit was affirmed.  The Chief Justice’s opinion was joined by Justices Scalia, Thomas, Ginsburg, Breyer, Alito, and Kagan. Justice Sotomayor issued a dissenting opinion, which was joined by Justice Kennedy.

To discuss the case, we have Kevin Govern, who is an Associate Professor of Law at the Ave Maria School of Law.

M&G Polymers USA v. Tackett - Post-Decision SCOTUScast

SCOTUScast 4-23-15 featuring Michael DeBoer
Michael DeBoer April 23, 2015

On January 26, 2015, the Supreme Court issued its decision in M&G Polymers USA, LLC v. Tackett. The issue in this case is whether, when courts interpret collective bargaining agreements in Labor Management Relations Act (LMRA) cases, they should assume that silence concerning the duration of retiree health-care benefits means the parties intended those benefits to vest (and therefore continue indefinitely), or should require that it be stated explicitly (or at least stated in some way) that health-care benefits are intended to endure after the expiration of the collective bargaining agreement. 

In an opinion delivered by Justice Thomas, the Court held unanimously that when determining whether retiree benefits should continue indefinitely after the expiration of a collective bargaining agreement, courts should apply ordinary contract principles.  Those principles do not support a presumption that the agreement reflects an intent to vest retirees with lifetime benefits. The judgment of the Sixth Circuit was vacated and the case remanded for further proceedings. Justice Ginsburg filed a concurring opinion, which Justices Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan joined. 

To discuss the case, we have Michael DeBoer, who is an Associate Professor of Law at the Faulkner University School of Law.

Innovation and Inequality: Conservative and Libertarian Perspectives - Event Audio/Video

2015 National Student Symposium
Richard A. Epstein, Elizabeth Kregor, John O. McGinnis, Frank H. Easterbrook April 17, 2015

We are in an age of accelerating technology but many fear we are also in an age of growing inequality. Does the fast pace of innovation pose a threat to social stability? Many fear that machines will take away jobs from the less skilled and extend the reach of superstars, thus deepening inequality. This panel will address the dangers of innovation to employment and equality and what, if anything, the government should do about it.

  • Prof. Richard Epstein, NYU School of Law
  • Ms. Beth Kregor, Director of the Institute for Justice Clinic on Entrepreneurship at the University of Chicago Law School
  • Prof. John McGinnis, Northwestern University School of Law
  • Moderator: Hon. Frank Easterbrook, U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit

This program was presented on February 21, 2015, as part of the 2015 Federalist Society National Student Symposium.

Young v. United Parcel Service - Post-Decision SCOTUScast

SCOTUScast 4-1-15 featuring Teresa Collett
Teresa Stanton Collett April 01, 2015

On March 25, 2015, the Supreme Court issued its decision in Young v. United Parcel Service. This case concerns whether the Pregnancy Discrimination Act requires an employer that provides work accommodations to employees who are not pregnant but have work limitations to provide similar accommodations to pregnant employees who share similar abilities and limitations.  The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit affirmed a grant of summary judgment in favor of the employer, agreeing that there was no genuine issue of material fact and that the employer was entitled to judgment as a matter of law.

By a vote of 6-3, the Supreme Court vacated the Fourth Circuit’s judgment and remanded the case for further proceedings. Viewing the record in the light most favorable to the pregnant employee, the Court stated, there is a genuine dispute as to a material fact: whether UPS provided more favorable treatment to at least some employees whose situation cannot reasonably be distinguished from that of the pregnant employee.  The Court left open for resolution on remand, however, whether a genuine dispute of fact had been raised on the reasons UPS gave for treating the pregnant employee differently and whether they were simply a “pretext” for unlawful discrimination.

Justice Breyer delivered the opinion of the Court, which Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Ginsburg, Sotomayor, and Kagan joined. Justice Alito filed an opinion concurring in the judgment. Justice Scalia filed a dissenting opinion which Justices Kennedy and Thomas joined. Justice  Kennedy also filed a dissenting opinion.

To discuss the case, we have Teresa Collett, who is a Professor of Law at the University of St. Thomas School of Law.