Daily Archives: January 24, 2013

Judge refuses to dismiss Ten Commandments case

The District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania allowed a case challenging the Ten Commandments monument to proceed.

This case arises from the installation of a large stone monument in front of the Valley High School.  Plaintiffs argue that this is a violation of the First Amendment’s prohibiting the government from endorsing a religion.  The district court refused to remove the Ten Commandments monument.  The district’s argument is that the Ten Commandments monument is a historical landmark.

The district asked the federal court to dismiss the lawsuit.  The District Court denied the motion, stating that the case has “sufficient merit” to proceed to the discovery phase.

 

via Judge refuses to dismiss Ten Commandments case | TribLIVE.

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Filed under civil rights, legal decision

Sup. Ct. will hear retaliation mixed motives case

On Friday, the Supreme Court granted certiorari in the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center v. Nassar to address mixed motives in retaliation cases.

The question the Supreme Court will address is:

Whether the retaliation provision of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2(a), and similarly worded statutes require a plaintiff to prove but-for causation (i.e., that an employer would not have taken an adverse employment action but for an improper motive), or instead require only proof that the employer had a mixed motive (i.e., that an improper motive was one of multiple reasons for the employment action).

(emphasis added).

Plainly, the Supreme Court will opine about who has the burden of proof (who has to prove that retaliation was/or-is-not improper).

  • If the worker has to prove that the retaliation was improper, the worker has to show that the employer retaliated only due to the improper motive/reason (i.e. filing a lawsuit, making a complaint with HR, having a disability, due to race, gender, religion, etc.).
  • If the employer has to prove that the tangible employment action (i.e. discipline, firing, transfer, demotion) was not retaliation, the employer has to show that the improper motive/reason was part of many reasons.

The SCOTUSblog file with links to documents is here.

via Workplace Prof Blog: SCOTUS grants cert in retaliation mixed motives case.

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Filed under Appellate, civil rights, employment, legal decision, Supreme Court

Dayton’s budget includes a legal services tax

Like Governor Pawlenty, Governor Dayton now wants to create a legal services tax.  The effect of such a bill would mean that the next time you or your client wants to seek a lawyer’s aid, in addition to paying the attorney’s fees, the client will need to pay a burdensome tax on legal services.

To reduce the budget deficit, this is what Governor Dayton proposed:

  • Reducing corporate income tax from 9.8% to 8.4%.  A huge drop of 1.4%.
  • Governor Dayton stated that he wants to tax clothing that costs more than $100.
  • Governor Dayton wants to tax the following services: legal, accounting, architecture, specialized design, computer, management consulting, advertising, employment and business support services.

Taxing legal services is a bad idea, which would significantly impact a population that cannot afford to get hit.  And why is that?  The legal services tax will be paid by the client.

So say, you are trying to fight foreclosure.  The owner of the home will have to pay that tax.  Or say, you are trying to fight a custody battle.  The parent will have to pay that tax.

Imposing such a severe burden on the middle-class, as well as the lower-class, will inevitably have a chilling effect.  In other words, the vast majority of Americans will no longer have a viable resource when exercising their constitutional rights.

The Minnesota State Bar Association shares this same viewpoint.  In addition, the MSBA has also stated that the tax would be next to impossible to administer.

via Dayton unveils a legal services tax to fill budget deficit – MinnLawyer Blog.

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Filed under civil rights, fees, Minnesota, Pending Legislation

Unionization Rates Continue to Decline

On January 23, 2013, the BLS released its annual report on the rate of unionization. Overall, the rate of unionization feel from 11.8% to 11.3%. Public sector workers had a 35.8 percent membership rate while the rate on unionization in the private sector dropped to 6.6%.

Significantly, however, union members continue to earn more than there non-union counterparts. As the report states:

In 2012, among full-time wage and salary workers, union members had median usual weekly earnings of $943, while those who were not union members had median weekly earnings of $742.

In addition to coverage by a collective bargaining agreement, this earnings difference reflects a variety of influences, including variations in the distribution sof union members and nonunion employees by occupation, industry, firm size, or geographic region.

via Adjunct Law Prof Blog: Breaking News. Unionization Rates Continue to Decline.

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Filed under labor, union, wage