| Return-to-work policies may affect different groups differently based on race and sex. Employers should carefully craft their policies to avoid potential Title VII or Equal Pay Act claims.
| In Rose v. Verizon Wireless Services, LLC, the Eastern District Missouri Court of Appeals held that an arbitration provision was not enforceable because the contract at issue was an unenforceable contract of adhesion and did not match the reasonable expectations of the parties.
| In July 2021, President Biden recommended that the FTC develop rules curtailing the unfair use of employee non-compete agreements. How will the new rules affect the enforceability of such agreements?
| Employee or independent contractor? Despite imperfections, the economic reality test remains the standard to determine whether a worker is classified as an "employee" entitled to Fair Labor Standards Act benefits and protections.
| On May 28, 2021, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued new guidance seeking to clarify significant questions regarding mandating vaccines for employees, reasonable accommodation, and employee incentives for vaccination.
| After it granted review six months ago, The U.S. Supreme Court has reversed the Ninth Circuit's $40 million judgment in favor of plaintiffs in a FCRA class action case, holding that thousands of the class members had no standing for their claims.
| The Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District, recently held, in a case involving an employee's breach of his duty of loyalty to his employer, that a statutory cap on punitive damages was a violation of the prevailing plaintiff's constitutional right to trial by jury.
| Thinking about DQ'ing a potential hire due to a prior conviction? Think again. Illinois employers better listen up, and look to the newly enacted employment law (known as Senate Bill 1480). Key changes in the law deal with protections to employees and potential hires with criminal convictions, as well as new requirements for employers on providing information to State agencies regarding demographics and payroll data.
| Under Missouri law, an arbitration agreement that reserves for the employer the unilateral right to modify the agreement lacks consideration, and is unenforceable.
| At-will...the ability to do something as one pleases. While most employment relationships are at-will, may an employer modify, at-will, Missouri Approved Jury Instructions in a case involving a violation of the Missouri Human Rights Act? As the Western District Court of Appeals explains, you better have a lawful reason…
| Kansas and Missouri federal courts certify FLSA class actions, challenging the tip sharing arrangements of casinos in Kansas, Missouri, and other locations.
| Bread. Cherry. Bogart. Bippy. Fink. IDK what any of these words mean, but apparently, they are slang words popularized in the 1960s by Boomers. Find out about Boomer discrimination and how Boomers aren't too different from Millennials (their generational arch nemesis) in this far out post. I promise it won't be a drag.
| On March 2, 2021, the Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District, in Chemline Inc. v. Mauzy, affirmed in part and reversed and remanded in part, a St. Louis County Circuit Court's order finding a sales representative in contempt of the court's permanent injunction order expressly prohibiting contact with his former employer's customers.
| OMG. Some Millennials are now protected under the ADEA and state age discrimination laws. Learn what this all means for Millennials and employers in the workplace. Unless, of course, you want to be basic.
| Nearly one year into the COVID-19 pandemic, Illinois businesses are already facing lawsuits and workers' compensation claims arising from COVID-19 exposures and diagnoses. In this blog post, we examine the types of claims that have been filed and that may be filed in the future against Illinois businesses related to COVID-19. This includes the potential for claims based on negligence, workers' compensation, employment law, and COVID-19 vaccines.
| Little about 2020 was normal, and the number of trials in the Kansas City area was no exception. Data released by the Greater Kansas City Jury Verdict Service shows that the total number of jury trials in the Kansas City area was down over 65% in 2020 when compared to 2019.
| Under Missouri law, an employment arbitration clause that includes a litigation double-standard – that is, a unilateral right to bring a claim in court for an employer while attempting to bind the employee to arbitrate all claims – is unenforceable.
| With recent statutory changes, Missouri is taking meaningful steps to reform the state's punitive damages standards and consumer protection statute—two aspects of Missouri law that have made it one of the most plaintiff-friendly venues in the country.
| The U.S. Supreme Court's Bostock ruling upends prior Eighth Circuit precedent on discrimination based on sexual preference.
| Missouri Court of Appeals compels arbitration, where the parties agreed to submit threshold issues of arbitrability to a third-party neutral rather than the court.
| The U.S. Supreme Court, in a 6-3 decision, holds that Title VII's prohibition against sex discrimination applies to discrimination based on a worker's sexual orientation or gender identity.
| The Missouri Court of Appeals held that a plaintiff had standing to sue under the FCRA, where an offer of employment was revoked due to an inaccuracy on his criminal background report.
| The City of St. Louis joins numerous regional and local governments enacting "ban the box" legislation, prohibiting employers from asking about an applicant's criminal convictions on job applications.
| The Eighth Circuit reversed class certification of a claim under the Americans with Disabilities Act that challenged a railroad's "fitness-for-duty" policy, holding the district court abused its discretion in finding that plaintiffs met the cohesiveness, predominance and superiority requirements.
| In an update to a prior post, Senate Bill 591 (which seeks to impose stricter standards for the application of punitive damages) cleared The Missouri House on May 12, 2020 in a 98-51 vote. The Bill, now on its way to Governor Parson for his signature, will likely go into effect on August 28, 2020. Governor Parson is expected to sign the measure without veto.
| Public Act 101-0221, the Workplace Transparency Act, amended the Illinois Human Rights Act and now requires Illinois employers to provide annual sexual harassment prevention training by December 31, 2020, followed by annual training thereafter.
| An issue of first impression was recently presented to the Missouri Supreme Court: whether an employee's accommodation request is a protected activity under the Missouri Human Rights Act. The Missouri Supreme Court found...
| A recent decision by the Missouri Court of Appeals, Southern District, demonstrates the importance of specifically crafted non-compete provisions in employment contracts.
| Covid-19 has caused stress for both business owners and employees. In the past days, two new benefits are in effect from April 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020: emergency paid sick leave (EPSL) and paid FMLA leave (FMLA+).
| Missouri Supreme Court held the Missouri Human Rights Act is not a remedy for out-of-state employees aggrieved by discriminatory practices of Missouri-headquartered companies.
| The data is out on Kansas City area jury verdicts for calendar year 2019, and it contains mostly good news for defendants. While the total number of jury verdicts was up slightly from 2018, the percentage of those verdicts in plaintiffs' favor was down, with nearly 60% of claims that went to a jury ending in a defense verdict. 2019 also saw a drop of almost 30% in the number of verdicts over $1 million. Although the data shows a rise in the average verdict amount, that increase is entirely attributable to a single mega verdict of more than $100 million; controlling for that outlier, the size of the average award was also down significantly.
| City of St. Louis has seen a steady decline on the judicial hellhole rankings with modest reforms but the Illinois counties of Madison and St. Clair remain hotspots for asbestos litigation and "no-injury" BIPA lawsuits according to the 2019/2020 American Tort Reform Foundation Judicial Hellholes Report.
| City of St. Louis has seen a steady decline on the judicial hellhole rankings with modest reforms but the Illinois counties of Madison and St. Clair remain hotspots for asbestos litigation and "no-injury" BIPA lawsuits according to the 2019/2020 American Tort Reform Foundation Judicial Hellholes Report.
| The use of artificial intelligence screening tools promise to get employers one step closer to finding that perfect candidate, but their use may open Pandora's box of privacy concerns over the use and storage of such information. Illinois is among the first states in the country to provide a framework for AI's use in the interviewing process.
| The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit has, for the second time, reversed and remanded a railroad employment case. Both reversals were based on jury instructions the Court deemed erroneous.
| Though seemingly obvious, the Eighth Circuit affirmed arbitration agreements are not immune to contract law basics when it denied an employer's motion to compel arbitration for lack of acceptance.
| The confidential nature of settlement negotiations and terms, as is frequently agreed to by the parties as part of a settlement package, is a well-established and often referred to as sacred part of American jurisprudence. In a recent opinion, Illinois' First District Appellate Court reminded litigants that such confidentiality, in fact, can be lost.
| The U.S. Supreme Court recently resolved a split among state and federal courts on the issue of whether lost wages under the Federal Employers' Liability Act (FELA) are taxable under the Railroad Retirement Tax Act (RRTA). The Illinois Appellate Court was one of the first in the nation to apply the Supreme Court's holding that awards of lost wages in FELA cases are taxable.
| A recent 7th Circuit case rules that obesity, without an underlying physiological cause, is not "regarded as" a disability under the ADA. However, jurisdictions nationwide appear to be split on the issue.
| SECOND UPDATE: Missouri Governor Mike Parson signs Senate Bill 7, which amends venue and joinder laws, to prevent out of state plaintiffs from litigating their cases in an inappropriate venue.
| Even with asbestos litigation on the slow decline, Madison County and St. Clair County, Illinois remain the top venues for asbestos litigation.
| Eastern District Court of Appeals Applies Enhanced Workers Compensation Mesothelioma Benefits to Employee of Defunct Corporation.
| Missouri has continued to hold that arbitration agreements are not unconscionable when they are shown to have valid mutual assent and are not self-serving.
| In recent years, the plaintiffs' employment bar has continued to explore new and more creative avenues to state claims in Missouri. In Doe v. Ozark Christian College, Plaintiff filed a negligence action against Ozark Christian College, claiming the college negligently recommended a prospective employee to the employer church, which directly resulted in...
| The Kansas City, Missouri City Council has unanimously passed an ordinance banning private employers in the City from asking job applicants about their salary history.
| If a plaintiff fails to exhaust administrative remedies by failing to file a charge, or includes allegations in her Complaint that were not raised in a charge that she filed, this does not strip the court of jurisdiction to hear the case. It is incumbent upon the defendant to properly raise this as a defense, in a timely manner.
| UPDATE: House Passes Senate Bill 7, in which the Missouri legislature seeks to amend venue and joinder laws, to prevent out of state plaintiffs from litigating their cases in an inappropriate venue.
| In response to the Illinois Supreme Court's Rosenbach decision, the Illinois Senate introduced SB2134 as a proposed amendment to the Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA). The amendment would delete language allowing a private right of action and change the definition of biometric identifiers to add electrocardiography results from wearable devices.
| The Supreme Court has issued another ruling limiting class-action claims, in favor of individual arbitration, this time finding that contractual ambiguity is no substitute for a clear expression of consent to class-wide arbitration.
| The Illinois Appellate Court has held employees' claims under Illinois' Biometric Information Privacy Act do not constitute "wage or hour violations" subject to mandatory arbitration under an employment agreement.
| The Illinois Appellate Court, First District, held that a party may timely withdraw a previously disclosed testifying expert and redesignate said expert as a Rule 201(b)(3) consultant entitled to the consultant's privilege against disclosure absent exceptional circumstances.
| In Senate Bill 7, the Missouri legislature seeks to amend venue and joinder laws, to prevent out of state plaintiffs from litigating their cases in an inappropriate venue.
| The Missouri Supreme Court's recent holding in Kader v. Bd. of Regents underscores the importance of ensuring that each alternative of a disjunctive verdict directing instruction is supported by sufficient evidence at trial.
| Missouri Supreme Court holds that there is adequate consideration for an at-will employee's agreement to arbitrate and compels arbitration of his wrongful termination and discrimination claims.
| Independent contractors who work in transportation may not be forced into mandatory arbitration.
| The Eighth Circuit affirms summary judgment in an employer's favor in a disability discrimination case, where the employee's excessive absenteeism was attributed to a disability and other family medical issues.
| Defense attorneys beware. The 2018-2019 American Tort Reform Foundation's (ATRF) Judicial Hellholes Report is out, and the City of St. Louis landed fourth on this list because of its massive verdicts, forum shopping, and legislative failures.
| An adverse employment action is an element of a failure to accommodate claim. Adverse employment action means more than a mere inconvenience.
| Recently, the Southern District Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court's determination in a bench tried case on an employee's claim for what he described as unpaid commissions. In affirming the trial court's Judgment, the court of appeals made clear that Missouri law allows an employer to unilaterally modify the terms of an at-will employee's compensation.
| In August 2018, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals decided Dish Network L.L.C. v. Ray, an important ruling in the field of arbitration clauses and their effect on potential class action litigation. The Tenth Circuit specifically addressed the question of who should determine whether an arbitration clause allows classwide arbitration: a court or an arbitrator?
| While we regularly report to our readers on significant case law developments in the labor and employment field, the most dramatic developments in Missouri, over the past year, have played out in the legislative arena.
| In a closely watched and long-awaited ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court on May 21st held that it is lawful for an employer, in an agreement with an employee, to provide that all disputes be resolved through one-on-one arbitration between the company and the employee.
| The Missouri Court of Appeals affirms the trial court's dismissal of a claim for defamation, based on the intra-corporate immunity rule, which protects certain internal communications made to corporate managers.
| A recent ruling by the Court of Appeals for the Eastern District of Missouri illustrates the perils of using disjunctive verdict directing instructions. In Kader v. Bd. of Regents, the court reversed a $2.5 million verdict against Harris-Stowe State University (“HSSU”) and remanded the case for a new trial based upon instructional error in the disjunctive verdict directing instruction.
| The Missouri Supreme Court enforced a forum selection clause in an employment contract, holding that contract disputes between the parties could only be brought in Johnson County, Kansas.
| Despite an uptick in advocacy, support, and inclusion of the LGTBQ community over the past several decades, as of today, discrimination based on sexual orientation remains an invalid claim under the Missouri Human Rights Act (“MHRA”). However, in a recent decision by the Western District of the Missouri Court of Appeals...
| The Missouri Court of Appeals for the Southern District upholds denial of an employer's motion to compel arbitration ruling that at-will employment is insufficient consideration to support an arbitration agreement and denying employer's request to find that, in accordance with federal policy, at-will employment should be sufficient consideration for an arbitration agreement.
| Whistleblower claims do not apply to all statutory violations. A Missouri trial court erred in allowing a whistleblower claim to go to the jury, because the doctor's cited statutes did not reflect a specific and clear public policy supporting the whistleblower's claim. Whether the doctor reasonably believes an act violates public policy is irrelevant to his or her wrongful discharge claim.
| The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, in Donaldson v. Nat'l Union Fire Ins. Co. of Pittsburg, recently upheld the denial of benefits under an ERISA-governed insurance policy because the plan administrator's interpretation of the disputed policy language was found to be reasonable.
| In Watson v. Air Methods Corp., No. 15-1900 (8th Cir. en banc, Aug. 31, 2017), the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed its own precedent and held that a former employee may bring a state law wrongful discharge claim against an "air carrier," notwithstanding the pre-emption provision contained in the Airline Deregulation Act ("ADA").
| The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals recently held that, because the RRTA authorizes taxes on money and not stock, Union Pacific Railroad Company is now entitled to a refund of approximately $75 million that it paid in taxes from 1997 to 2007 to the IRS.
| The U.S. Supreme Court rejects yet another creative state court end-run on arbitrability.
| The United States Supreme Court ruled on May 22, 2017, that the Hague Convention, on the service of judicial documents abroad, permits service by mail if the receiving country has not objected to service by mail and service by mail is authorized under otherwise-applicable law.
| Earlier this week, Governor Eric Greitens signed Missouri HB 153 into law. HB 153, which supplants Missouri's existing expert witness standard with that set forth in Federal Rules of Evidence 702, 703, 704 and 705, effectively submits expert testimony in most civil and criminal case to the analysis set forth in Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc., 509 U.S. 579 (1993).
| Within a two-week period, two federal judges issued strongly worded orders denouncing the common practice of asserting boilerplate objections to written discovery.
| The Missouri Court of Appeals rules that a worker may owe an independent duty of care to a co-worker, which is separate and distinct from her employer's non-delegable duties.
| Most organizations collect and store personal or sensitive information about their clients and employees. Protecting sensitive or private information should be a priority for all organizations, regardless of their size. Threats to information security arise from...
| A Missouri plaintiff did not irrevocably waive the protections of the work product doctrine simply by designating an expert witness and then withdrawing the designation without disclosing the expert’s analysis or conclusions.
| Employees acting negligently within the scope of employment are not granted immunity under the Worker's Compensation Act; they remain liable if plaintiff establishes that a co-employee breached a personal duty of care.
| Three years ago, the Missouri Supreme Court handed down a decision concerning when and how an employer had to challenge an employee's alleged untimely filing of a complaint under the Missouri Human Rights Act. Ever since, that decision has created consternation and confusion for practitioners, who hoped that this issue might be clarified in a Court of Appeals, Western District case.
| The Missouri Supreme Court reverses and remands an employment discrimination and retaliation case, in favor of employer-defendant, due to prejudice resulting from an improper submission of a jury instruction.
| On May 23, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court decided the case of Green v. Brennan in order to resolve a split among the Circuits on whether, in an action for constructive discharge, the 45-day limitation period for the employee to initiate contact with the EEOC begins to run after the employer's last discriminatory act, or at the time of the employee's resignation.
| A recent order of the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas may be beneficial to defense practitioners fighting the so-called "reptile theory" of plaintiff's litigation, frequently aimed at trucking companies, which attempts to put the company on trial rather than litigating the circumstances of a particular accident. A targeted motion to dismiss and strike, focused upon the broad, boilerplate complaints that allege hiring, training, qualification, and supervision practices by the company and alleged violations of the FMCSA and FMSCR, may help to limit the scope of discovery and evidence sought in furtherance of the "reptile theory."
| On May 18th, the U.S. Department of Labor issued its final overtime exemption rule, raising the minimum salary threshold to qualify for the Fair Labor Standards Act's white collar exemption to $47,476 per year. The regulation takes effect on December 1st. Between now and then, employers have an important decision to make for their white collar employees whose earnings are near the new threshold.
| On April 11th, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon signed an executive order requiring that state departments, agencies, and boards and commissions under the executive branch remove questions about criminal history from the initial job applications of prospective employees.
| We are often asked by clients if there is anything they can do to keep Plaintiff's counsel from speaking with managers who are no longer with the company. A recently published Missouri Informal Advisory Opinion on Legal Ethics (Opinion 2013-01) addresses this subject.
| While a Kansas court may grant relief from a final judgment based on excusable neglect, it is an abuse of discretion to grant that relief when the party seeking that relief has failed either to explain what facts constituted excusable neglect or to provide any evidence to support that claim.
| The Missouri Court of Appeals for the Western District, applying a modified economic realities test, held that AutoZone, Inc., the parent corporation of AutoZoners, LLC, was not Plaintiff's employer for purposes of the Missouri Human Rights Act. However, the Court found that Plaintiff made a submissible case for sexual harassment, which lead to its decision to uphold the jury's rulings in favor of Plaintiff for her hostile work environment claim, the trial court's decision in refusing to reduce the award of compensatory damages and the jury's award of punitive damages against AutoZoners, LLC. The case was ultimately remanded on the issue of attorneys' fees.
| On November 17, 2015, the Missouri Court of Appeals for the Western District ruled for the first time that a misdemeanor first offense for driving while intoxicated did not qualify as a crime of moral turpitude.
| In the case of Sharpe Holdings, Inc., et. al. v. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit upheld a preliminary injunction issued by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, which enjoined the government from...
| On October 14, 2010, 61 year old Steven Cox was fired from the Kansas City Chiefs. He was replaced with a 37 year old. Litigation ensued and presumably concluded, with a decision in the Chiefs' favor. The Missouri Supreme Court, however, threw a penalty flag, and granted a new trial in the case. Read more to find out why.
| Recently, the Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District, upheld a $2 million punitive damages award against an employer in a disability discrimination case brought under the Missouri Human Rights Act...
| In Bowers v. Asbury St. Louis Lex, LLC d/b/a Plaza Lexus, et al., the Missouri Court of Appeals for the Eastern District, in a race discrimination lawsuit, issued its latest ruling on employer-employee arbitration agreements.
| On March 9, the U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari at the request of the University of Notre Dame on another matter arising from the Affordable Care Act, and remanded the case to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, with instructions to reconsider its ruling in light of the Supreme Court's 2014 decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby.
| The Eighth Circuit recently analyzed the application of the “outside sales” and “administrative” exemptions under the Fair Labor Standards Act in the context of promotional workers. Also, the Court was asked to decide, for the first time, what constitutes a valid waiver of an employee’s rights under the FLSA.
| Eighth Circuit affirms summary judgment for Employer on a retaliation claim, absent evidence of pretext.
| It is time for Missouri employers to re-evaluate their employment agreements to see if the arbitration clauses, or the agreements as a whole, are still enforceable. Notwithstanding the U.S. Supreme Court's repeated endorsement of the enforceability of arbitration agreements, the Missouri Court of Appeals for the Eastern District has elevated to a whole new level the Missouri courts' hostility toward arbitration clauses in employment agreements, in the case of Jimenez v. Cintas Corporation.
| In an action that has drawn significant national media attention, Kansas Governor Sam Brownback issued an Executive Order rescinding an Executive Order signed eight years earlier by then Governor Sebelius, which had prohibited discrimination against state employees based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
| A former federal air marshal's communication of TSA decision to terminate missions, despite a hijacking threat, was protected under the whistleblower statute because it was not a "specifically prohibited disclosure."
| Eighth Circuit Upholds Summary Judgment on ADEA Claim.
| This is the first ban-the-box ordinance in Missouri that applies to private employers.
| Eighth Circuit reverses summary judgment against terminated employee, where employer had asked its insurer for premium deductions because its "oldest, sickest" employers were no longer with the company.
| St. Louis life science company's non-compete clause is ruled overbroad in scope, and information for which protection was sought was not truly "trade secret".
| Recently enacted Kansas law changes the rules for business owners who wish to restrict firearms on their premises.
| U.S. District Court refuses the EEOC's attempt to block the implementation of Honeywell's employee wellness program, which provides incentives for its employees to take advantage of health screenings.
| The Kansas Supreme Court, in Craig v. FedEx Ground Package System, clarifies the standard for determining whether workers are employees or independent contractors
| The Missouri Supreme Court recently sustained the trial court'sdenial of an employer's motion to compel arbitration in the case of Carla Baker v. Bristol Care, Inc. d/b/a Bristol Manor, et al., No. SC93451.
| Individuals and businesses relying upon contractors to provide labor services may be exposing themselves to liability if these contractors fail to pay their employees in accordance with the Missouri Minimum Wage Law.
| The EEOC expands "reasonable accommodation" rights of pregnant employees.
| The FMLA offers significant protections to eligible employees. However, FMLA rights do not shelter an employee who refuses to comply with her employer's reasonable requests for information, and that refusal may even be grounds for termination. In some circumstances, even if the requests are somewhat related to the FMLA leave, the employer may be protected from an FMLA interference claim.
| In Templemire v. W&M Welding, Inc., the Missouri Supreme Court threw out its long-held interpretation of section 287.780, RSMo requiring a plaintiff in a worker's compensation retaliatory discharge claim to prove their filing a claim under Chapter 287 was the exclusive cause for the discharge. The Court now holds…
| NLRB General Counsel fires a shot across the bow of McDonald's and other national franchisors.
| The Tenth Circuit addresses the duration of sick leave, as a "reasonable accommodation" for an employee with a disability.
| The U.S. Supreme Court handed down its Hobby Lobby decision on June 30 and it is already having a ripple effect. On July 3rd, the Court issued an injunction on a case pending in the lower Federal Courts simplifying the paperwork needed to claim a religious exemption under the Hobby Lobby decision. The female members of the Court issued a dissent to the order.
| Closely-held or family owned companies whose owners have strong religious beliefs may be able to exclude certain contraception-related benefits from their employee health benefit programs. The federal government has available "less restrictive" means of assuring that employees get access to such care at no additional cost, than an outright mandate that all employers provide those benefits.
| Experts are not required to rule out all possible causes when performing the differential etiology analysis if the experts have properly ruled in the alleged cause.
| Employers need well-drafted contractual agreements to compel arbitration with their employees for sexual harassment and discrimination claims. In Baier v. Darden Restaurants, et al., 420 S.W.3d 733 (Mo. App. W.D. 2014), a Missouri appellate court held that an arbitration agreement was not enforceable when an employee signed a document stating that all employment disputes would be arbitrated, but the employer did not sign.
| A Kansas plaintiff may amend their pleadings to assert punitive damages up until the day of the pretrial conference.
| A man who sued his former employer, alleging he was discharged in retaliation for filing a workers' compensation claim, appealed on the basis that the trial court used a jury instruction with the wrong standard. In a 5-2 decision written by Judge George W. Draper III, the Missouri Supreme Court rejected the 'exclusive causation' standard and replaced it with the "contributing factor" standard. On remand and in future cases, the jury must determine whether the plaintiff's filing of a workers' compensation claim was a "contributing factor" to his or her discharge.
| Based on its adoption of a statutory scheme of comparative negligence, Kansas has abolished common law assumption of the risk as a bar to recovery. Simmons v. Porter, 298 Kan. 299, 312 P3d 345, 355 (Kan. 2013).
| When a motor vehicle collision involves a commercial vehicle, plaintiffs often sue the commercial driver's employer through respondeat superior, whereby employers are strictly liable for the negligence of their employers.
| The plaintiff has the burden of proving standing, which is a jurisdictional issue that can be raised at any time.
| The Supreme Court resolves a split in authority, and opts for a broader reading of who may bring a whistleblower claim under SOX.
| In Kansas, the parties bind themselves to an enforceable settlement, even though the parties contemplate subsequent execution of a formal instrument. However, when the parties specifically condition a contract on it being reduced to writing and signed, there is no enforceable contract until such act is accomplished.
| Plaintiff furnished sufficient evidence to show that the employer's claim that he was fired for safety violations was a pretext for discrimination
| Some major changes are coming soon to Missouri's Workers' Compensation Law. Earlier this year, the Missouri General Assembly passed what began as a legislative effort to address issues in the coverage of occupational diseases created by the switch in 2005 to strict construction of the Law. In the end, this effort resulted in…
| The high court is expected to resolve a circuit split on whether the owners of privately held secular companies, who oppose offering contraception-related benefits on religious grounds, may challenge these mandatory coverage requirements under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act
| Employers must carefully monitor injured workers' potential claims against third parties who caused workplace injuries, and proactively manage the litigation process.
| Companies who employ drivers may be exposed to greater liability in Missouri courts. In McHaffie v. Bunch, 891 S.W.2d 822, 824 (Mo. banc 1995), the Missouri Supreme Court held that once an employer has admitted to respondeat superior liability for an employee driver's negligence, it is improper to allow a plaintiff to proceed against the employer on any other theory of imputed liability, such as negligence in employee hiring, retention, or training.
| The Missouri Supreme Court has repeatedly interpreted the Missouri Human Rights Act in a manner that makes it easier for plaintiffs to pursue claims, and harder for employers to defend them, than under similar federal anti-discrimination statutes. (See our March 20, 2013 report titled Burden of Proof in Retaliation Cases.) Here, once again, the Missouri Supreme Court diverges both from federal precedent and prior Missouri precedent, making it more difficult for employers to dismiss untimely discrimination complaints that are filed under the MHRA.
| Missouri adheres to the rule prevailing in most jurisdictions that in the absence of a contract between an employer and employee for a definite term or a contrary statutory provision, an employee can be terminated at any time with or without cause or for any reason, provided the termination does not run afoul of a federal or state anti-discrimination statute. Amaan v. City of Eureka, 615 S.W.2d 414 (Mo. 1981).
| The EEOC recently filed a lawsuit against The Founders Pavilion, Inc., alleging that the company violated the Genetic Information Discrimination Act (GINA). In the suit, the EEOC charges that a New York nursing and rehabilitation center violated federal law when it asked for applicants' family medical history as part of a post-offer, pre-employment medical exam.
| The rigorous standards for class certification enunciated in recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions are being applied in the federal Circuit courts. Wal-Mart v. Dukes and Comcast require strong proof of "commonality" and other FRCP Rule 23 elements, at the class certification stage, even if this overlaps with the merits of the case.
| Two important decisions that can limit the scope of employer liability in Title VII cases; less clear how helpful these decisions will be in cases brought under the Missouri Human Rights Act.
| When the reason for termination falls within the "public policy" exception to the employment-at-will doctrine, parties cannot contractually shorten the two-year Kansas statute of limitations for commencing a retaliatory discharge action
| In the future, courts may be obliged to give broader deference to EEOC, NLRB, and U.S. Department of Labor interpretations of the agencies' own authority. The recent U.S. Supreme Court decision in City of Arlington v. FCC, - U.S. - , No. 11-1545 (U.S. May 20, 2013) involved the validity of a Federal Communications Commission ruling on the regulation of wireless towers and antennas. . .
| When a plaintiff, in his summary judgment opposition papers, attempts to first introduce information that should have been part of his Rule 26 disclosures (or supplements to them), defendant should move to strike.
| The Kansas Supreme Court has recently clarified the legal standard for determining if an employee injury at a company-sponsored social event arose "out of and in the course of employment", thus making the employee eligible to receive Workers Compensation benefits.
| In Owen v. Bristol Care, Inc., 702 F.3d 1050 (8th Cir. 2013), the Eighth Circuit recently held that an arbitration agreement that included a class action waiver provision was enforceable under the Fair Labor Standards Act. In so ruling, the Eighth Circuit squarely rejected the NLRB's holding in D.R. Horton that such waivers are unenforceable because they violate employee rights under Section 7 of the NLRA.
| In a recent opinion, the Missouri Court of Appeals for the Western District held a workers' compensation claimant had sufficiently proven her husband sustained an occupational disease arising out of and in the course of his employment with Capital Region Medical Center with evidence that his hepatitis C was "probably" caused by his employment. This, despite the fact that claimant presented no evidence that anyone with hepatitis C was ever present in the workplace.
| Employers around the country are eagerly waiting for the U.S. Supreme Court to rule on the appropriate standard of proof for Title VII retaliation claims, in University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center v. Nassar . What does this mean for Missouri employers? Less than you might think.
| In the wake of the Chiefs' recent courtroom setback in which their arbitration agreement with employees was held unenforceable (see post Kansas City Chiefs Start the Season 0-2), the Chiefs recently went to trial in an age discrimination case filed by a 61-year old maintenance manager with 12 years of service. . .
| On February 26, 2013, the Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District ruled on the cases of two former Kansas City Chiefs employees who had been terminated, and had filed complaints of age discrimination. In one case, the day after she was hired, the employee (a Community Relations Director) was directed to sign an agreement requiring that any dispute. . .
| This decision underlines the importance of observing the contractual nature of an agreement to arbitrate. It is also another case which warns of the dangers of an employer: a) relying on the mention of, or reference to, outside or ancillary agreements as a substitute for explicitly being bound by specific terms of the agreement at issue; and, b) not signing the agreement.
| In this case, a corporate successor, Central Trust sued the former employee of its acquired company, Springfield Trust after the employee started a business which directly competed with his former employer and Central Trust.
| Those of us who practice employment law find ourselves, with increasing frequency, dealing with the preparation and negotiation of employee non-compete agreements, and the handling of disputes concerning such agreements. A "non-compete agreement" is any restrictive covenant entered into between employer and employee that restricts post-employment activities of the employee. . .