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Supreme Court's Docket Contains Only One Employment Discrimination Case

    Client Alerts
  • October 11, 2013

The brand new U.S. Supreme Court term will address a number of blockbuster cases, but so far, the employment agenda remains light. The only employment civil rights case on the current docket is Madigan v. Levin, which involves age discrimination claims by a public employee. The Court will determine whether the plaintiff can also pursue Section 1983 claims against several state officials, or whether ADEA preempts Section 1983 claims against these officials, and requires the employee to go through the EEOC administrative process before seeking relief in court.

The Court will likely add several other employment claims to its agenda. The Supreme Court has already agreed to review an appellate decision regarding President Obama's recess appointment powers. A decision in favor of the employer could invalidate a number of National Labor Relations decisions reached last year. Another case will address "donning and doffing" issues under the Fair Labor Standards Act, and whether employees are entitled to be paid for time spent changing in and out of work clothes.

The Court has accepted review of a decision under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act's whistleblower protection provision. The matter involves retaliation claims by an employee of a privately-held contractor providing services to a public corporation. The Court will determine whether SOX's employee protections extend to such employees. In an employee benefits matter, the Court will determine when the period of limitations begins to run for court review of adverse disability benefits determinations under ERISA. The plaintiff claims that this period does not begin until a final determination is reached. The insurer claims that policy language starting this period from the date of proof of loss controls.