On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to add two employment cases to its review docket this term. The first case involves a race discrimination claim against BCI Coca-Cola Bottling. The plaintiff alleged that he was terminated due to racial animus exhibited by his supervisor. However, the termination decision was made by the employer’s HR Manager, who did not know he was African-American. The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals allowed the claim to go to trial, despite the fact that the person making the alleged adverse employment decision had no discriminatory motive toward the impacted employee. The Court will decide whether the supervisor’s possible racial animus could have impacted his personnel record in such a way as to influence the HR Manager’s decision.
In the second case, the Supreme Court will review a longstanding dispute of key importance to the home health care industry. The case involves Fair Labor Standards Act claims against a Long Island agency by an employee who alleged that she was denied overtime pay in violation of the FLSA. The employer contended that the FLSA’s “companionship services” exemption applies to home health care aids in accordance with Department of Labor interpretations. The Second Circuit Court of Appeals struck down DOL’s position, and the court will determine overtime eligibility for agency employees who work in the patients’ homes.