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Business Law - Legal Comment

The author, R. Eddie Wayland, is TCA's General Counsel, and a partner with the law firm of King & Ballow. Mr. Wayland frequently speaks and presents seminars throughout the U.S. on legal topics, including labor and employment issues. He also provides in-house training in these areas.  He has twice been selected Chairman of the Labor and Employment Section of the Tennessee Bar Association and was founder and editor of the TBA Labor Letter.  Among his publications, Mr. Wayland was co-author for Americans with Disabilities Act Compliance Guidebook, and was a contributing author for The Developing Labor Law.

  • Employee’s Failure to Cooperate with Interactive Process Dooms Lawsuit

    A federal court in Ohio recently found that an employee, who refused to consider non-opiate alternatives to treating his pain issues, did not cooperate in the interactive process mandated by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) following his request for a reasonable accommodation. The court therefore concluded the employer did not violate the ADA when it subsequently discharged the employee.

  • Court Rules Company Must Participate in Lawsuit Pursuant to Joint Employer Doctrine

    A federal court based in New York found that a construction management company had to participate in a sexual harassment lawsuit brought by an ironworker against the company, the general contractor, and the subcontractor. The construction management company argued that it should be dismissed from the lawsuit because it was not the ironworker’s “employer” for purposes of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, and because it took all reasonable steps it could to address the ironworker’s complaints. The court rejected both of these arguments.

  • Technical Violation of Fair Credit Reporting Act Not Sufficient to Establish Standing

    The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania recently considered whether an applicant denied employment based on the results of a pre-employment background check had standing to sue the employer on behalf of herself and similarly situated individuals for violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).

  • Federal Appeals Courts Split on Whether Sexual Orientation Discrimination Prohibited by Title VII

    This past summer, we discussed a decision by the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, which held that sexual orientation discrimination constitutes discrimination on the basis of a person’s sex for purposes of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII). 

  • Driver with PTSD Prevails in Disability Discrimination Suit Against Carrier

    Safety is a primary concern in the trucking industry. When a carrier discovers that one of its drivers may be unsafe, action is typically required. Knowingly allowing an unsafe driver to operate a vehicle can have catastrophic consequences for a carrier. 

  • Recent National Labor Relations Board Developments Update

    In recent articles, significant year-end decisions of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) were discussed. Specifically, one article concerned the NLRB’s return to the legal standard for the joint-employer analysis that was in place prior to the Browning-Ferris decision. 

  • Court Finds Employer-Mandated Mental Health Examinations Permissible

    Last month, the Chicago-based United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit affirmed a federal trial court’s decision which held that an employer did not violate the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) when it required an employee to undergo mental health examinations.

  • EEOC Prevails in Title VII Lawsuit for Sexual Orientation Discrimination

    A current “hot” topic in employment discrimination law is whether sexual orientation discrimination is protected by Title VII. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has taken the position that sexual orientation discrimination falls under the ambit of Title VII’s protection against discrimination based on sex.

  • NLRB Changes Test for Evaluating Employer Workplace Policies

    This past month, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) voted in a 3-2 decision to change a component of the test it uses to determine whether an employer’s policies in the workplace violate federal labor law. The decision is one of several recent actions reversing or revising rulings from the Obama era that affect employers, as Republican appointees now hold a majority on the NLRB for the first time since the George W. Bush administration.

  • Court Finds No Duty to Automatically Reassign Disabled Employee

    Recently, a federal district court in South Carolina addressed whether an employer sufficiently offered a disabled employee a reasonable accommodation after the employee was no longer able to fulfill the essential functions of her current position. 

  • Appeals Court Holds Discrimination Related to Breastfeeding is Protected by the PDA

    The federal appeals court based in Atlanta issued a decision in which it held that discrimination related to breastfeeding is protected by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA). The decision is an important one for employers to be aware of when considering accommodation requests made by pregnant or breastfeeding employees.

  • Court Rejects Employer’s No-Break “Flexible Time” Policy

    A federal appeals court in Philadelphia recently held that an employer was liable under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) for not properly compensating its employees for rest breaks taken under the employer’s new “flexible time” policy. The decision came after an appeal from the trial court’s ruling that the employer violated a U.S. Department of Labor regulation that required breaks of less than 20 minutes to be compensable as working time.

  • Court Rules “Totally Disabled” Employee Still Can Be “Qualified” Under the ADA

    This past month, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued a press release on its website regarding a recently-attained settlement in a disability discrimination suit. Under the terms of the settlement, the employer accused of the discrimination agreed to pay $100,000.00 to settle the lawsuit. The settlement comes on the heels of an appeals court decision in the employee’s favor.

  • Appeals Court Finds Error in the Counting of a Disputed Vote in a Union’s Favor

    The federal court of appeals for the Seventh Circuit recently ruled that the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) erred in counting a disputed vote in the union’s favor during a union-representation election. The case provides an interesting look at the law surrounding the counting of disputed votes in union representation elections.

  • Court Revises Ruling on Sleeper Berth Issue in Carrier’s Favor

    A federal trial court in Nebraska recently revised a previous decision in a case involving the issue of whether time spent by truck driving students in truck sleeper berths needed to be paid by a motor carrier.

  • Court Upholds FMCSA’s ELD Rule

    It appears that the new ELD rule is here to stay. Per the FMCSA, Carriers and drivers who are using paper logs or logging software must transition to ELDs no later than December 18, 2017. Drivers and carriers should familiarize themselves with the rule and be prepared to be in compliance with it by the end of this year.

  • Driver Fails in Fair Credit Report Act Reinvestigation Claim

    In this case, the driver, who was no longer employed by the carrier, claimed to have trouble finding employment because of a negative remark on a report concerning his driving record published by a consumer reporting agency. The information for the negative remark was supplied to the consumer reporting agency by the carrier. The driver filed a lawsuit concerning the “reinvestigation” done by the carrier to see if the negative remark was accurate.

  • Truck Drivers Found Not Exempt From Overtime Requirements

    The Third Circuit Court of Appeals found that two trucking companies’ employees were not subject to the Motor Carrier Act (“MCA”) exemption to FLSA overtime requirements and that the Pennsylvania Minimum Wage Act (“PMWA”) applied. The companies, Fast Rig Support and First Americans Shipping and Trucking, failed to “plainly and unmistakably” show that the exemption applied. 

  • Trucking Company Secures $3.25 Million for Trademark Infringement

    This month, a jury awarded a Wisconsin-based tucking company $3.25 million in damages for trademark infringement, unfair business competition, and other charges against a company that owns the controlling interest in several job-board posting websites related to the trucking industry. 

  • Court Allows Female Truck Driver's Discrimination Claims to Move Forward

    A federal appeals court recently vacated the trial court’s dismissal of a female trucker’s employment discrimination claims, holding that the trucker pleaded facts sufficient to state plausible claims of employment discrimination.

  • Effective Interactive Process Results in Dismissal of Truck Driver’s Disability Lawsuit

    A federal district court in Illinois recently rejected a truck driver’s allegation that his employer violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”).

  • Motor Carrier Found Liable for $5,890,338.82 in Lost Pharmaceuticals

    A federal court in Ohio ruled that a motor carrier had to pay a freight broker $5,890,338.82 pursuant to the terms of the contract between the parties after the shipment of pharmaceuticals that was being transported by the motor carrier was stolen in Tennessee.

  • Court: It’s Not Whistleblowing if You Only Report to the Wrongdoer

    Tennessee law protects employees from being fired for “whistleblowing.” In a recent decision by the Tennessee Supreme Court, the Court ruled that a whistleblower must report the misconduct to someone other than the wrongdoer, even when the wrongdoer is the head of the employee’s company.

  • Court Rules Interacting With Others is a Major Life Activity Under the ADA

    A federal appeals court recently ruled that “interacting with others” is a “major life activity” under the Americans with Disabilities Act. This ruling is significant because it opens the door (even wider) to employees qualifying as “disabled” under the ADA. This case also brings into focus the need for employers to document all disciplinary and performance issues of their employees.