In Zehl v. City of Elizabeth Board of Education, a plaintiff of apparent limited means – a school cafeteria worker – asserted CEPA and NJLAD claims against her employer. A-1296-11T3 (N.J. App. Div. May 31, 2012). Discovery proved extensive, hotly contested and time consuming, and in an attempt to conserve judicial resources, the trial court appointed a discovery master to address and resolve all discovery disputes – at a rate of $450 per hour – with the cost to be split evenly by the parties. On appeal, the Appellate Division rejected the appointment of the discovery master, concluding that the financial burden placed upon the plaintiff by the court would hinder her ability to continue to litigate the case, effectively blocking her access to the courts. Suggesting the conclusion would be different if this was a class action or if the plaintiff was of greater means, the Appellate Division concluded that the trial court should have at least considered the plaintiff’s financial resources as well as the remedial nature of her claims (which were brought under fee-shifting statutes to protect victims of discrimination and whistleblowers who suffer retaliation for exposing wrongdoing), rather than focusing primarily upon the court’s own concerns.
Lukov v. Schindler Elevator Corp., No. 12-17695 (February 24, 2015): In an unpublished decision, the Ninth Circuit recently overturned summary judgment granted to an employer on the plaintiff’s retaliation claims.
Mel Jones is Northwest Diversity Manager for Skanska USA, a multibillion dollar international building and development company. Before joining Skanska, Jones was a civil engineer and owned his own engineering design company. As an African American business owner, Jones experienced the subtle-yet-real vestiges of race discrimination—quiet exclusion, “accidental” omission on project bid…..
In recent months, the New Mexico Legislature enacted legislation expanding employment protections for medical marijuana users. Recent changes to the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act, New Mexico’s medical marijuana law, expand the range of medical conditions for which medical marijuana may be prescribed and create new employment protections for employees who legally use medical marijuana.