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April 2016 Archives

FedEx Wants Reconsideration of Bargaining Unit

FedEx recently asked the Eight Circuit Court of Appeals to reconsider a ruling that incorporated a heightened standard for employers challenging bargaining unit status. An appropriate bargaining unit is "a group of two or more employees who share a community of interest and may reasonably be grouped together for purposes of collective bargaining." Bargaining units will meet and confer with the employer to reach a collective bargaining agreement that will apply to all employees in that unit. Section 9(b) of the National Labor Relations Act ("NLRA") bestows the task of determining the appropriateness of a bargaining unit to the National Labor Relations Board ("NLRB" or "the Board"), but the Board's decision can be appealed to federal district court.

Chipotle Accused of Lying About GMOs in Food

In recent years, there have been many questions and concerns raised about the safety and possible negative heath effects associated with the consumption of genetically modified organisms. According to the non-GMO Project, while many countries have enacted strict bans on GMO products, GMOs "are in as much as 80 percent of conventional processed food," that is made, marketed and sold in the U.S.

NLRB Asserts Trucking Company Unfairly Misclassified Employees

       Intermodal Bridge Transport Inc. ("Intermodal") violated the National Labor Relations Act ("NLRA"), according to a regional director of the National Labor Relations Board ("NLRB"). Intermodal allegedly misclassified drivers as "independent contractors" instead of employees to avoid unionization.

Plan Managers Must Investigate ERISA Participation

            The Employee Retirement Income Security Act ("ERISA") protects retirement assets to bring reliability and fiscal safety to millions of future retirees. ERISA sets minimum standards regarding participation, vesting, eligibility, and requires fiduciaries to ethically protect and manage retirees' assets. Plans covered under ERISA include, but are not limited to, 401(k)s, pensions, and employee stock ownership plans.

Worker Drops FCA Suit Against Shipbuilder

Both sides agreed to walk away from a whistleblower complaint on April 7, claiming that neither party had made payments or admitted fault. A set of workers had alleged that shipbuilder, Austal USA LLC ("Austal"), had defrauded the U.S. government by billing for higher salaries than it paid out.

Did Your Car Dealer Fail to Disclose a Recall Notice?

According to Carfax, during 2015, some 51 million motor vehicles in the U.S. were impacted by recalls-the highest number on record. From faulty ignition switches to defective airbags, in many cases these recalls relate to problems that, if not repaired, could result in a driver or passenger suffering serious or fatal injuries.

Disabled Employee Accuses University Employer of Discrimination

Last year, Americans celebrated the 25th anniversary of the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Prior to 1990, individuals with physical and cognitive disabilities, as well as mental health conditions, were often openly discriminated against by employers and with regard to the infrastructure of both private and public buildings and schools.

PHH Case Poised to Test CFPB's Constitutionality

PHH Mortgage Corp. ("PHH") filed a case that will bring into question the constitutionality of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau ("CFPB") in light of a recent decision made by its Director, Richard Cordray. PHH is challenging Cordray's interpretation of violations under the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act ("RESPA") that allowed him to change a $6 million penalty handed down by an administrative law judge, to the $109 million that the CFPB director handed down when PHH appealed the original decision.

Abbott Fends Off FCA Claim

The False Claims Act ("FCA" or "the Act") exists as an opportunity for citizens to bring the government's attention to fraudulent conduct that unduly costs the American taxpayer. While Abraham Lincoln originally signed the Act in 1863, the two most substantial components of the Act were implemented as amendments in 1986 and 2009. The two amendments lowered the standards of proof and increased the potential damages in these types of cases.

NLRB Rules Against Quicken Loans

A National Labor Relations Board ("NLRB") judge ruled against Quicken Loans ("Quicken" or "the Company"), saying that its employee handbook contained overbroad rules that could be reasonably interpreted to restrict Section 7 activity.

Uber Settles Another Case

Previously, we have written about cases involving Uber Inc. ("Uber" or the "Company") and its ridesharing safety checks. In February, Uber agreed to settle a class action pending in California federal court that raised questions about the Company's "safe ride" fees. The proposed $28.5 million settlement will benefit roughly 25 million riders that utilized the ride hail company from January 2013 to January 2016. Now, Uber has chosen to settle another case in which the State of California filed suit because Uber allegedly misled consumers because of the way it claimed to screen drivers.

New DOL Rule Seeks to Protect Retiree Savings

In the shadow of the Center for American Progress, Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez announced that "putting clients first" would no longer just be a "marketing slogan." He was referring to the game-changing regulations the Department of Labor recently proposed that created new standards that stockbrokers needed only to provide "suitable" recommendations. While that may seem sufficient on its face, critics pointed out that it encouraged advisers' lamentable conduct, such as favoring investments that entitled them to higher commissions. The new rule, which is much stronger than that which preceded it, requires brokers that provide retirement advice to work in their client's best interest.

Medical equipment maker settles qui tam lawsuit, whistleblower to receive $5.38M

During 2012, the medical device and equipment industry in the U.S. grossed revenues of more than $64 billion. Since that time, revenues have only increased and are expected to continue to skyrocket in the coming years. With so much money at stake, competition between medical equipment and device makers is fierce. At times, some companies may resort to business practices that teeter on or cross over the line of not only being unethical, but also illegal.