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Employment Cases on the Supreme Court’s Calendar

The U.S. Supreme Court‘s new term got under way on October 3, the first Monday in October. Here are the employment cases for which the Court has so far granted review. We will update this posting with developments in these cases and any other employment cases for which review is granted.

Coleman v. Court of Appeals of MarylandNo. 10-1016. On March 20, 2012, the Court ruled that Congress did not abrogated the States’ Eleventh Amendment immunity when it included a right to time off for an employee’s own serious health condition in the Family and Medical Leave Act. The Fourth Circuit ruled that the Eleventh Amendment barred an FMLA claim against the Maryland Court of Appeals. The case was argued on January 11, 2012. The briefs filed in the case are available at the ABA’s Supreme Court Preview site. A transcript of the oral argument is available here.

Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. EEOCNo. 10-553. On January 12, 2012, the Court ruled that the First Amendment requires a “ministerial” exception to employment discrimination laws, and that the exception barred the claims in the case before it. The Sixth Circuit had ruledthat the exception did not bar the teacher’s claims under the Americans with Disabilities Act. The case was argued on October 5, 2011. The briefs filed in the case are available at the ABA’s Supreme Court Preview site. A transcript of the oral argument is available here.

Knox v. SEIU Local 1000No. 10-1121. This case clarifies a union’s obligations to nonunion public employees who are compelled to pay fair share fees for union representation under Chicago Teachers Union, Local No. 1 v. Hudson, 475 U.S. 292 (1986). On June 21, 2012, the Court ruled that any dues increase that funds political activities must be preceded by notice and an opportunity to object. The Ninth Circuit decision under review is available here. The case was argued on January 10, 2012. The briefs filed in the case are available at the ABA’s Supreme Court Preview site. A transcript of the oral argument is available here.
Pacific Operators Offshore, LLP v. ValladolidNo. 10-507. The case concerns compensation for workers injured as a result of operations conducted on the outer continental shelf. On January 12, 2012, the Court affirmed the decision under review, adopting the “substantial nexus” text for determining whether the operative statute applies. The Ninth Circuit decision under review is available here. The case was argued on October 11, 2011. The briefs filed in the case are available at the ABA’s Supreme Court Preview site. A transcript of the oral argument is available here.

Roberts v. Sea-Land Services, Inc.No. 10-1399. On March 20, 2012 the Court ruled that an employee is “newly awarded compensation” when he first becomes disabled and thereby becomes statutorily entitled to benefits, no matter whether, or when, a compensation order issues on his behalf, under the Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act. The Ninth Circuit decision under review is available here.The case was argued on January 11, 2012. The briefs filed in the case are available at the ABA’s Supreme Court Preview site. A transcript of the oral argument is available here.

UPDATE [10/19/2011]

Elgin v. Department of the TreasuryNo. 11-45. On June 11, 2012, the Court ruled that the Civil Service Reform Act establishes the exclusive means for obtaining judicial review for covered employees who challenge covered adverse employment actions. The First Circuit decision under review is reported at 641 F.3d 6 (1st Cir. 2011). The case was argued on February 27, 2012. The briefs filed in the case are available at the ABA’s Supreme Court Preview site. A transcript of the oral argument is available here.

UPDATE [11/17/2011]

NFIB v. SebeliusNo. 11-393Florida v. Department of Health and Human ServicesNo. 11-400. On June 28, 2012, the Court upheld the individual mandate of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act as a tax measure, but struck down the requirement that States join the expansion of Medicaid under threat of losing all Medicaid funding. The Eleventh Circuit decision under review is reported at 648 F.3d 1235 (11th Cir. 2011). For information about the law’s anticipated effect on employers, see this analysis from the Rand Corporation and this one from The New England Journal of Medicine. The case was argued over three days: March 26, 27 and 28. The briefs filed in the case are available at the ABA’s Supreme Court Preview site. Transcripts of each day’s oral arguments are available here.

UPDATE [2/21/2012]

Christopher v. SmithKline BeechamNo. 11-204. On June 18, 2012, the Court ruled that the FLSA’s outside salesperson’s exemption applies to pharmaceutical sales representatives, who do not sell directly to consumers. The Ninth Circuit decision under review (which applied the exemption to the representatives) is reported at 635 F.3d 383 (9th Cir. 2011). The case was argued on April 16, 2012. The briefs filed in the case are available at the ABA’s Supreme Court Preview site.