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Labor & Employment 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.

City and County of San Francisco v. Sheehan - Post-Argument SCOTUScast

SCOTUScast 4-8-15 featuring Tom Gede
Thomas F. Gede April 08, 2015

On March 23, 2015, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in City and County of San Francisco v. Sheehan. This case asks two questions. The first is whether law enforcement officers are required by the Americans with Disabilities Act to accommodate a mentally ill suspect who is armed and hostile while they are bringing the suspect into custody. The second question is whether law enforcement entry into a home could be unreasonable for purposes of the Fourth Amendment, even where a warrant requirement exception existed, if law enforcement officials anticipated an armed, hostile suspect within.

To discuss the case, we have Tom Gede, who is a principal in Morgan Lewis Consulting LLC and of counsel to Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP.

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.

The New NLRB Representation Case Rule - Podcast

Labor & Employment Law Practice Group Podcast
Homer L. Deakins, Jr., Brent Garren, John N. Raudabaugh March 30, 2015

On December 15, 2014, the National Labor Relations Board published a final rule amending its representation case procedures, which will become effective on April 14, 2015. According to the Board, the final rule retains the essentials of existing representation case procedures but removes “unnecessary barriers to the fair and expeditious resolution of representation cases.” Among other things, the rule shortens the election process to as few as 14 days from the current median time of 38 days, requires employers to give unions employees’ personal telephone numbers and email addresses, and makes post-election appeals discretionary with the Board rather than as of right.

The final rule has been challenged in lawsuits brought by employer associations in the U.S. District Courts for the District of Columbia and Western District of Texas. The complaints allege that the rule will restrict communication between employers and employees before an election, depriving employers of due process and speech rights and employees of information needed to decide intelligently how to vote.

  • Homer L. Deakins, Jr., Chairman Emeritus, Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C.
  • Brent Garren, Deputy General Counsel, Local 32BJ, Service Employees International Union
  • Hon. John N. Raudabaugh, former member, National Labor Relations Board, Reed Larson Professor of Labor Law, Ave Maria School of Law, National Right To Work Legal Defense Foundation