From Institute for Justice’s Short Circuit newsletter: “How many times can an eye surgeon accidentally operate on the wrong eye before his surgical privileges are revoked? Three is the magic number at the Murfreesboro, Tenn. Veterans Affairs hospital. Sixth Circuit: And the revocation does not violate the due process of law.” [or constitute retaliation under employment discrimination law; Ahad v. Wilkie]
- Federal judge upholds Harvard’s admissions policy against charges of discrimination against Asian Americans, appeal likely [Anemona Hartocollis, New York Times; Roger Clegg/Martin Center; Neal McCluskey, Hechinger Report (“private institutions should be free to have affirmative action, but it should be prohibited at public institutions”); Ilya Shapiro, WSJ last year]
- In Florida, following an initiative from Gov. Ron DeSantis, state universities expected to adopt versions of “Chicago Statement” committing to freedom of expression [Mary Zoeller, FIRE]
- Under antitrust pressure from the U.S. Department of Justice, college association drops guidelines discouraging “poaching” students and other competition for enrollment. Could mean big changes in admissions process [Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed]
- In case you missed this angle in the astounding Bruce Hay story earlier: Hay “has already run afoul of [Harvard] investigators for reaching out to journalists (namely me), which they view as an act of retaliation” under Title IX [Kera Bolonik]
- “The Galling Push for a Student Debt Bailout” [Cato Daily Podcast with Christian Barnard and Caleb Brown] If more of the same is what you want, you’re in luck with the House majority’s new College Affordability Act [Neal McCluskey, Cato]
- The story of Oberlin College’s town-gown legal debacle in the Gibson case [Abraham Socher, Commentary] Return of the loyalty oath, cont’d: update on University of California requirement that all faculty candidates “submit an equity, diversity and inclusion statement as part of their application” [Nora McNulty, Daily Bruin; Stephen Bainbridge; earlier] Professor at the New School exonerated after quoting James Baldwin [FIRE] Students at University of Tennessee, Knoxville, have a lot of sensitivity training in their futures. Coming to 4-H too? [Hans Bader]
Some lawyers actually train potential clients to find something to blow the whistle on when the prospect of termination is nigh. “But perhaps in the future this may change and ambush firings will become the norm to avoid this kind of thing.” [Coyote]
A case called Digital Realty Trust v. Somers gives the Supreme Court a chance to rein in a particularly inappropriate use of the Chevron doctrine, under which courts give deference to agencies’ interpretations of law [Ilya Shapiro, Harvard Law Review blog]
The last few years have of course seen renewed attention — academic, judicial, and journalistic — to the question of whether courts have become altogether too deferential to executive agencies. While Chevron deference (and its cousins, Auer and Seminole Rock deference) was originally justified as a necessary tool for preventing courts from unduly meddling in administrative decisionmaking, hasn’t the pendulum swung too far?…
As the Supreme Court explained in Long Island Care at Home, Ltd. v. Coke in 2007, the APA [Administrative Procedure Act] requires an agency conducting notice-and-comment rulemaking to provide the public with “fair notice” of what will be, or might be, included in its final regulation. Yet there was nothing in the [Securities and Exchange Commission’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking] that would have given any notice to the public that it was going to change whom Dodd-Frank would protect from retaliation.
Just last year, the Court reaffirmed in Encino Motorcars, LLC v. Navarro that procedurally deficient rules that violate the APA do not receive Chevron deference because they lack the “force of law.” The SEC regulation here was procedurally deficient because of the final rule’s fair-notice problem, so it shouldn’t qualify for Chevron.
More on the Somers case and Cato’s amicus brief: Trevor Burrus and Frank Garrison.
- Sending a letter to your employees informing them of a pending EEOC investigation might itself violate discrimination laws [Jon Hyman] More: Jerome Woehrle;
- As its fiscal year 2017 closes, a “return to frantic filing” at the EEOC [Matthew J. Gagnon, Christopher J. DeGroff, and Gerald L. Maatman, Jr., Seyfarth Shaw]
- Once occupational licensure is in place, it’s hard to pry off established interests that grow up around it [Steve Bates, Society for Human Resource Management, and thanks for quotes]
- Nassau’s labor unions say it’s “impossible” to summarize their contracts with county, as financial control board would like [Robert Brodsky, Newsday]
- “Michigan’s pension reforms are kind of a big deal” [Eric Boehm, Reason] “State Police Pay 43 Officers Over $300k Each To Not Retire” [Evan Carter, Michigan Capitol Confidential]
- “Organized Labor Wants to Push Out Local Restaurants and Raise Prices at Portland International Airport” [Nigel Jaquiss, Willamette Week]
Suppose you have an employee who takes FMLA leave for rotator-cuff surgery. Let’s say during said FMLA leave, you discover that the employee is vacationing on a Caribbean island. And, further suppose that you discover this employee’s island vacay via his own public Facebook posts, which included photos of him on the beach, posing by a boat wreck, and in the ocean. Or, more accurately the employee’s co-workers saw the photos and ratted him out to management.
So, what do you do?
Fire the employee for abusing and/or misusing FMLA leave by engaging in activities (verified by pictures posted on his Facebook page) that demonstrated his ability to return to work earlier than the end of the FMLA leave.
Tread lightly, however, before making that decision, for in Jones v. Gulf Coast Health Care, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals concluded that based on these same facts, Rodney Jones was entitled to a jury trial on his FMLA retaliation claim….
Full story here.
- “This One Simple Trick — Used by Colin Kaepernick — Will Make It Harder To Fire You” [Coyote] And on the topic of retaliation, Obama administration appointeees have been revising doctrine in a direction sharply unfavorable to employers both at the EEOC and at OSHA, the latter of which has legal authority to enforce the retaliation provisions of many laws like Dodd-Frank unrelated to conventional occupational hazard [Jon Hyman on EEOC and OSHA]
- In $5 million award, Texas jury finds SEIU playbook on janitors’ campaign encouraged lawbreaking disruption of target business and its clients [Jon Cassidy and Charles Blain, WSJ]
- Obama administration’s new blacklisting rule on labor violations gives unions a whip hand in negotiations with federal contractors, as if by design [Marc Freedman, U.S. Chamber]
- Finally, a state appellate court pokes a hole in the bizarre California Rule under which public employers may not reduce future pension benefits even when based on work not yet performed [Dan Walters/Sacramento Bee, Scott Shackford, Reason]
- Hearing over expanding employment-law damages in Colorado highlights shift in EEO law toward goal of money extraction [Merrily Archer]
- Post-Friedrichs, the future of mandatory union dues in public employment [Federalist Society podcast with Scott Kronland and William Messenger] “Big Labor Tries To Eliminate Right-To-Work By Lawsuit” [George Leef]
“The employer fired Onderko for his ‘deceptive’ attempt to obtain workers’ compensation benefits for a non-work-related injury. He injured his knee while pumping gas on his way home from work, and falsely tried to claim that the gas-pump injury was an exacerbation of an earlier work injury.” In a decision with only one dissent, the Ohio Supreme Court has now held that the genuineness of the injury was irrelevant to his ability to sue for being fired over it: “It no longer matters whether the workers’ compensation injury underlying a retaliation claim is legitimate or illegitimate, or the employee filing such a claim is truthful or a perpetrator of a fraud.” [Jon Hyman]
The Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as ObamaCare, sometimes gives employers an incentive to reduce the work hours of employees so that they will not meet eligibility thresholds for costly health insurance. Lawyers for employees have responded by arguing that this reduction of hours constitutes “retaliation” under ERISA and is itself unlawful. Now a Southern District of New York federal court seems to have bought the theory, at least to the extent to denying a defense motion to dismiss. [R. Pepper Crutcher, Balch & Bingham on Marin v. Dave & Buster’s, Inc.]
After the Feminist Majority Foundation promoted a Title IX complaint against the University of Mary Washington, primarily based on the public Virginia university’s failure to crack down harder on student use of the independent Yik Yak social media gossip platform, UMW President Richard Hurley in June wrote an unapologetic letter crisply refuting many of the group’s contentions. What do you think happened next? Sponsors amended their complaint to allege that Hurley’s letter itself constituted unlawful retaliation against persons invoking Title IX protection. “The [U.S. Department of Education’s] Office for Civil Rights announced its intent to investigate the university this month.” And now a group of 72 women’s and civil rights organizations, including the respectable American Association of University Women and Leadership Conference for Civil Rights, have “announced a campaign to enlist the federal government in pressuring colleges to protect students from harassment via anonymous social-media applications like Yik Yak.” [Eugene Volokh; Hans Bader; Chronicle of Higher Education; Fredericksburg, Va. Free Lance-Star (Hurley letter)] One thing’s for sure, someone is retaliating against something.
More: Eugene Volokh is out with a don’t-miss followup post analyzing the FMF complaints in much more depth, and noting that Hurley is being charged with retaliation for “engaging in normal public debate”:
Readers might recall the recent attempt to use Title IX to shut down critical speech as retaliation, in the Northwestern University / Prof. Laura Kipnis controversy…. This complaint is yet another such attempt.
The Feminist Majority Foundation, though a publisher of a magazine [Ms.], doesn’t seem to care much about the First Amendment rights of students, or of accused university officials. Its complaint goes far beyond constitutionally unprotected and rightly punishable speech, such as true threats of violence.
Instead, it faults the university for not stopping criticism of feminist arguments and feminist arguers, whether vulgar criticism or other criticism. It faults the university for speaking out, without vulgarities or epithets, in its own defense. And the premise of the complaint thus seems to be that one side of a debate has the right to speak — to condemn and to accuse — but the federal government should step in to stop the other side from responding.