On June 29, 2022, NELA filed an amicus brief in Holder v. A&L Homecare (22-3101), urging the 6th Circuit to maintain a 2-step FLSA certification process. This case addresses A&L Homecare’s attempt to avoid an FLSA collective action by arguing in favor of the much more restrictive process adopted in the 5th Circuit Swales decision. The brief addressed the history of collective actions and why courts across the country (including in the 6th Circuit) have rejected Swales. As the brief states, “It is often said that experience is the best teacher. Experience shows that the two-step method is a reliable tool for handling FLSA collective actions. As virtually every Circuit Court has done, this Court should affirm its use.” NELA is grateful to NELA Members Clif Alexander and Lauren Braddy, Anderson Alexander PLLC (TX), Richard Burch, Brucker Burch PLLC (TX), NELA Member Sarah Schalman-Bergen and Olena Savytska, Lichten & Liss-Riordan, P.C. (MA) for drafting the amicus brief.… Read More
On March 9, 2022, NELA joined our Affiliate, California Employment Lawyers Association (CELA), and the National Employment Law Project (NELP) to file an amicus brief in support of the Respondent in Viking River Cruises Inc. v. Moriana. This case addresses the issue of whether the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) requires enforcement of a bilateral arbitration agreement providing that an employee cannot raise representative claims, including under the California Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA). Our brief argues that PAGA is not an end-run around arbitration and because the FAA was never intended to preempt the states’ law enforcement functions or their authority to determine how to structure their law enforcement authority, the Court should affirm the denial of Petitioner’s motion to compel arbitration. We are extremely grateful to Rachel M. Bien and Monique Olivier (Olivier Schreiber & Chao LLP, CA) who drafted the brief and the team at NELP for their editing support.… Read More
On March 1, 2022, NELA filed an amicus brief in support of the Respondent in Southwest Airlines Co. v. Saxon. This case addresses the very important issue of whether workers who load or unload goods from vehicles that travel in interstate commerce, but do not physically transport such goods themselves, are interstate “transportation workers” exempt from the Federal Arbitration Act. NELA filed in support of Latrice Saxon, a ramp worker for Southwest Airlines facing mandatory arbitration of her employment claims. The brief examined the text of the Federal Arbitration Act’s exemption for transportation workers and argues that Ms. Saxon’s job duties place her, and those similarly situated, within the exemption. The brief also notes that recognizing Ms. Saxon’s class fulfills the legislative purpose of the FAA, and the 7th Circuit’s analysis properly applies earlier supreme court jurisprudence surrounding this issue. We are extremely grateful to NELA Amicus Advisory Council Co-Chair Michael Foreman and his Penn State University Civil Rights Appellate Advocacy Clinic for drafting this brief.… Read More
On January 28, NELA filed an amicus brief in the NLRB case The Atlanta Opera, Inc. and Make-Up Artists and Hair Stylists Union, Local 798, IATSE. This case addresses whether the Board should reconsider its standard for determining the independent contractor status of workers. The brief examines the many ways in which NLRB definitions, standards and tests affect various antitrust, trademark, and tort laws. As the brief concludes, “Employers should not be allowed to assert “entrepreneurial freedom” where that argument would imply an antitrust violation, or “naked licensing” of its trademark. Nor should employers be allowed to assert independent contractor status where that claim would be rejected in common-law courts in tort cases.” We are grateful to our drafters Michael T. Anderson, Adam C. Breihan, Mark Hanna and Roseann R. Romano (Murphy Anderson, PLLC) and Shannon Liss-Riordan and Zachary L. Rubin (Lichten & Liss-Riordan, P.C.) for drafting this important brief.… Read More
On January 11, NELA signed on to the National Employment Law Project’s amicus brief in the 3rd Circuit case Burrell v. Lackawanna Recycling Center. This case concerns three former civil detainees of Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania who filed a proposed class action complaint alleging that the County, the private company that owns and operates the Lackawanna County Recycling Center, and other private and public defendants forced hundreds of child support debtors to work at the Recycling Center for $5.00 per day in unsafe conditions in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The amicus brief discusses the history of prison labor and its connection to American slavery. Additionally, the brief highlights the unique breadth of the FLSA’s coverage of employees, how courts have interpreted the FLSA’s definitions, the policy purposes behind the FLSA, and why the district court’s standard fails to uphold those policies. We are grateful to NELP and NELA member Rachel Bien, Olivier Schreiber & Chao LLP (CA) for the opportunity to sign on to this important brief.… Read More
On November 30, NELA filed an amicus brief in the 6th Circuit case In Re: OSHA Rule On COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing, 86 Fed. Reg. 61,402 (21-7000). Petitioners in this case aim to stay the recent OSHA regulation that requires companies with over 100 employees to impose vaccination or testing requirements in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. NELA’s brief highlights the tension created by regulatory requirements that ensure safe working conditions while limiting individual worker choice. Courts have long upheld that the benefits of regulations governing health and safety in the workplace outweigh the cost to worker choice; if Petitioners’ theory is adopted, the brief argues, the gates will open to challenge this line of jurisprudence. Additionally, the brief addresses the right of vaccinated workers to refuse unsafe working conditions were the vaccine mandate stayed.
NELA is joined on this brief by the Jobs With Justice Education Fund and we are grateful to NELA member Adam C. Breihan and NELA Board Member Mark Hanna, and their Murphy Anderson, PLLC colleagues Michael T. Anderson and Arlus J. Stephens for drafting this important brief.
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On July 30, NELA and 63 other organizations signed on to the National Women’s Law Center amicus brief in the 9th Circuit case Morgan v. United States Soccer Federation. This high-profile case concerns the pay disparity between the US men’s and women’s soccer teams. Amici submit this brief to provide additional context regarding the broader struggle for women’s pay equity and to highlight significant errors in the district court’s decision. The gender wage gap harms hundreds of millions of women in the United States and is persistent across every segment of the labor market, including professional sports, where women receive fewer resources, less support, and far less pay. The district court’s erroneous interpretation of the EPA and Title VII-and its endorsement of the blatant pay disparities here-threatens to perpetuate unequal pay and thus, gender discrimination. We are grateful to NWLC for the opportunity to sign on to this important brief.… Read More
On July 20, NELA signed on to an amicus brief filed by the National Employment Law Project in the Eleventh Circuit case of Hamrick v. Partsfleet, LLC. The brief, filed in support of a petition for en banc review, challenges a ruling that drivers who do not cross state lines are not engaged in interstate commerce, and are therefore not protected by the Federal Arbitration Act. Hamrick and his fellow drivers were misclassified as independent contractors and denied overtime, and compelled into arbitration. The brief argues that where delivery drivers deliver goods that have been transported between states, those workers are protected under the Federal Arbitration Act. We are grateful to NELP and NELA member Shannon Liss-Riordan, Lichten & Liss-Riordan PC (MA) for drafting this brief.… Read More
On February 11, NELA joined AARP in a 6th Circuit amicus brief in Pelcha v. MW Bancorp (17-497). The amicus brief was drafted in support of a petition for en banc review, asking the full 6th Circuit to weigh in on the issue of causation standards in ADEA cases. In Pelcha, the 6th Circuit concluded that the correct standard in ADEA cases was that of Gross, and not Bostock. This interpretation is incorrect and would deal a huge blow to older workers making ADEA claims. As the brief argues, “If ‘but for’ does not mean ‘sole cause’ under Title VII, it cannot mean “sole cause” under the ADEA for the simple reason that the plain text of the causation language in Title VII and the ADEA are identical.” We are grateful to NELA Board Member Dara S. Smith, NELA members Daniel B. Kohrman and Laurie A. McCann, and their AARP team for drafting the brief.… Read More
On February 10, NELA and The Institute joined NELP in a Supreme Court amicus brief in Cedar Point Nursery v. Hassid. In Cedar Point, employers argued that their private property rights were infringed upon by the presence of third-party inspectors, labor organizers, and government enforcers. The brief argues that inspection by government and third-party experts is vital to holding employers accountable and enforcing vital workplace harassment laws, and in no way do these inspections constitute a per se taking. We are grateful to NELP for drafted this brief.… Read More
On January 19, NELA and The Institute signed on to an amicus brief drafted by The Institute For Constitutional Advocacy And Protection (ICAP) in the 10th Circuit case Faith Bible Chapel v. Tucker. The brief argued that any expansion of the church autonomy doctrine as a defense in workplace harassment claims would eliminate employment protections for workers at religious institutions. We are grateful to ICAP for drafting this brief.… Read More
On January 6, 2021, NELA and The Institute signed on to an amicus brief drafted by Lambda Legal in the 7th Circuit case Demkovich v. St. Andrew The Apostle Parish. Plaintiff Sandor Demkovich was subjected to workplace harassment and a hostile work environment as an LGBTQ employee. His employer argued that as Demkovich was a “minister”, all hostile work environment claims were barred under the ministerial exception. The amicus brief submitted by Lambda Legal urges the en banc 7th Circuit not to bar all hostile work environment claims for religious employers, and highlights the potential harms of an expansion of the ministerial exception on LGBTQ employees and others who often experience discrimination in the workplace. We are grateful to Lambda Legal for taking the lead on this brief.… Read More