In order to state a retaliation claim under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), a plaintiff must establish that his employer took an adverse employment action against him that was causally related to his FMLA leave. In Berridge, a former senior account manager alleged that he suffered such retaliatory adverse employment action eleven months after taking FMLA leave in the form of removal from a key account, placement upon a performance improvement plan (PIP), and ultimately, termination. Berridge v. Nalco Company, Civ. A. No. 10-3219 (D.N.J., Jan. 30, 2014). In an interesting holding, the court held that neither the account removal nor his placement on the PIP constituted materially adverse employment actions. According to the court, the account removal did not alter the plaintiff’s title, salary, benefits, expense account, and automobile entitlement and the PIP simply tracked his job description and thus “comprised of directives relating to [his] preexisting responsibilities.” Thus, the court rejected his FMLA retaliation claims based upon the PIP and account removal. While the court held that his discharge did constitute an adverse job action, the plaintiff nonetheless was unable to rebut the employer’s legitimate reason for terminating his employment—poor performance.
Supreme Court Rules Class-Action Waivers Are Enforceable—Even if the Cost of Individual Litigation Is Too High
This morning, with Justice Scalia writing for a 5-3 majority, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that a waiver of class arbitration in a commercial contract is enforceable under the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA), even if the plaintiffs’ cost of individually arbitrating a federal statutory claim exceeds the potential recovery. The Court refused to invalidate the class-action waiver on the ground that pursuit of individual claims would be fiscally impractical. According to the Court, “The class-action waiver merely limits arbitration to the two contracting parties.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, the appellate court responsible for the federal district courts of Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee, recently made clear that claims asserted under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) cannot be subject to contractually shortened limitation periods.
Michigan Governor Furthers LGBT Protections in State Contracts and Bans State Agencies From Asking for Salary History
Hitting the ground running, Michigan’s new governor, Gretchen Whitmer, has imposed new requirements in the employment arena—but only for executive branch state employees and some contractors and grant and loan recipients. This could be a sign of things to come for employers everywhere in Michigan, or at least a sign of building momentum within the state government.