Monday, May 24, 2010

United States Supreme Court Concludes that Every Time a Discriminatory Practice is Used, it Gives Rise to Discrimination Claim

In a decision issued May 24, 2010, the United States Supreme Court ruled that, in claims of disparate impact, every time a discriminatory practice is used a new cause of action arises, even if the decision establishing that practice was made after the statute of limitations has run.  Justice Scalia, writing the opinion for the Court in Lewis v. Chicago, declared that, although the Court had ruled in a seemingly contrary fashion for disparate-treatment claims, the result was required by the statutory language, which expressly give a cause of action against an employer who "uses a particular employment practice that causes a disparate impact."  The decision was unanimous.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Utah Health Care Facilities Not Immune for Negligently Credentialing Their Doctors

On May 14, 2010, the Utah Supreme Court ruled that Utah health care facilities are not immune from claims brought by patients against them asserting that the facilities were negligent when they credential doctors or health care professionals at their hospitals.  In Archuleta v. St. Mark's Hospital, the Court stated that "negligent credentialing is 'simply the application of broad common law principles of negligence,' and is a natural extension of torts such as negligent hiring."

Employers May Be Protected by Workers Compensation Decisions, But Third Parties Are Not.

The Utah Supreme Court ruled on Friday, May 14, 2010, that a workers compensation decision holding that a worker's injuries were not caused by the operation of a machine could not be used by by the party that created or designed the machine in a later lawsuit if that party was not the worker's employer.  The court reasoned in Gudmundson v. Del Ozone that because the third-party could not be a party to the workers compensation claim under the statutory scheme, it should not benefit by the decision.  The court explained that such a decision would not promote judicial efficiency since a worker could not as a practical matter bring the third party into the workers compensation case and, therefore, to bring its claims against the third parties would have to assert the claims in a separate proceeding.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Airline and Railroad Companies Subject to New Rule.

The National Mediation Board announced today that it would recognize an airline or a railroad union if a simple majority of ballots cast in an organizing election supported organizing a union.  This Final Rule reverses an earlier rule that required a majority of the entire work force to favor unionizing.  This is a major change that could have a substantial impact on the number of workplaces that will become unionized in these industries.  The Board approved the change by a 2-1 vote with the Chair filing a stongly worded dissent.