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The top 7 recent employment law cases you should know

By David I. Brody

Jul. 31, 2020

When March began this year, nobody had any idea what was just around the corner – a global pandemic, a fiscal meltdown, unprecedented unemployment and a national reckoning with the terrible consequences of centuries of racial violence and inequity. Then we all witnessed a historic decision from the Supreme Court, affirming, at long last, that our family and friends in the LBGTQ community are protected from discrimination in employment under federal law. 

In this ever-changing landscape, it is increasingly important to keep up to speed on the latest employment legal cases and developments. Below is a brief summary of the seven most significant employment legal cases.

1. U.S. Supreme Court Issues Landmark Civil Rights Decision

Bostock v. Clayton County, 590 U.S. (2020)

The Supreme Court has issued a landmark decision in Bostock v. Clayton County , holding that Title VII prohibits discrimination against employees based upon sexual orientation and transgender status. 

In the 6-3 Opinion of the Court, written by Justice Gorsuch — who, along with Chief Justice Roberts, sided with the four “liberal” members of the Court — the majority held that a “straightforward” rule emerges from the ordinary meaning and application of Title VII’s prohibition against sex discrimination: 

“[F]or an employer to discriminate against employees for being homosexual or transgender, the employer must intentionally discriminate against individual men and women in part because of sex . That has always been prohibited by Title VII’s plain terms — and that should be the end of the analysis.’” 

Such discrimination has long been a violation of Massachusetts law, Chapter 151B, but with the Bostock decision, it is now clearly unlawful to discriminate in employment on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

2. Unlawful Employment Practices During the COVID-19 Pandemic

During these uncertain times, employers and employees alike are struggling to understand their legal rights and obligations. To that end, there has been a great deal of COVID-specific guidance provided by state and federal agencies, including the U.S. Equal Employment Commission , Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination , and Office of the Attorney General .

It is important to remember that neither a global pandemic nor an economic recession can be used as a shield by employers to carry out unlawful employment practices. 

Indeed, as the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court has noted, just because an employer may be required to “reduce its workforce does not mean that it is free to make its employment decisions on impermissible grounds: ‘even during a legitimate reorganization or workforce reduction, an employer may not dismiss employees for unlawful discriminatory reasons.’” See Sullivan v. Liberty Mut. Ins. Co. , 444 Mass. 34, 41–42 (2005).

If you think that you may have been illegally targeted, seek legal counsel as soon as possible and prior to waiving any legal rights.

employee compensation

Hlatky v. Steward Health Care System, Inc., 484 Mass. 566 (2020)

Following a jury trial, Dr. Hlatky, an experienced cancer researcher, was awarded $10 million in damages in a breach of contract action against her former employer, Steward Health. The $10 million damage award represented the cost of reestablishing her research laboratory, which she lost as a result of Defendant’s unlawful conduct. 

On appeal, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court unanimously agreed the damages awarded were not too speculative, noting that the harm suffered by Dr. Hlatky, including the loss of her research laboratory, equipment, and cell samples, constituted her “life’s work.”

The Court was, however, divided regarding whether restrictions should be imposed on how Dr. Hlatky could use the $10 million award. In the six Justice decision, three Justices were concerned that, since the laboratory had not actually belonged to Dr. Hlatky, an unrestricted award might put Dr. Hlatky in a better position than she would have been had there been no breach, e.g., “[n]othing would prevent Hlatky from spending the $10 million on a house or a yacht rather than on the re-establishment of a cancer research laboratory.”

The other three Justice were not persuaded, “Whether she wishes to start again, whether she even could start again after so much time has passed and her faculty position has been lost, whether she wishes to use the money to fund different research or others; research in the same field, or whether she wants to hike the Appalachian trail — these matters simply are not our concern.”

These Justices pointed out that imposing restrictions on such a damage award would open a “Pandora’s box of unknown future harm to the predictability of contract law upon which contracting parties have relied for hundreds of years.”

As the Court was equally divided, the trial court’s award of monetary damages – without restrictions – was affirmed.

4. Non-Competition Agreements and the “Material Change” Doctrine

Now Bus. Intel., Inc. v. Donahue, C.A. No. 17-3732 (Middlesex Sup Ct. Apr. 1, 2020)

A non-competition agreement may become unenforceable if, after execution, the terms and conditions of employment are modified to the point where the parties have effectively abandoned the original employment agreement and entered into a new employment agreement. This is known as the “material change” doctrine which was delineated in F.A. Bartlett Tree Expert Co. v. Barrington, 353 Mass. 585 (1968). The application of the material change doctrine is a highly fact-specific inquiry and will focus on factors, such as promotions, changes in job duties and titles, changes in remuneration, changes to sales area, as well as the associated time periods for such changes.

In the recent case of Now Bus. Intel. Inc. V. Donahue , the Superior Court rejected an employee’s material change defense to the enforceability of his non-compete. In granting Summary Judgment in favor of the former employer, the Court ultimately held that the temporary and short-term changes to the employee’s job duties, without more, did not amount to a material change sufficient to render otherwise reasonable and valid post-employment restriction unenforceable.

5. Anti-SLAPP Motion Revived

Rosario v. Caring Bees Healthcare, Inc., C.A. No. 19-P-1223 (Mass. App. Ct. June 5, 2020)

Retaliatory lawsuits designed to silence one from speaking out are referred to as strategic lawsuits against public participation, or “SLAPP Suits,” and are expressly forbidden in Massachusetts. See the Anti-SLAPP Statute, M.G.L. c. 231, § 59H (the “Statute”). The Statute provides a quick mechanism to dispose of SLAPP suits, and it allows the victim of a SLAPP suit to recover attorney’s fees.

Here, Ms. Rosario had complained (to co-workers, her mother, the MCAD, and, finally, in court) of sexual harassment by her supervisor, Jean Paul Karangwa. In response, Mr. Karangwa counter-sued Ms. Rosario for defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Relying on the Statute, Ms. Rosario moved to dismiss Mr. Karangwa’s counter-claims. The lower court denied her motion, indicating that there was a colorable basis to believe that Ms. Rosario’s statements were defamatory, i.e ., false and causing damage to Mr. Karangwa.

However, the Massachusetts Appeals Court reversed and remanded. The Court reiterated that the legal issue was not solely whether Mr. Karangwa’s claims were “colorable” but also, if so, whether or not they were retaliatory, i.e. , “primarily brought to chill [Ms. Rosario’s] legitimate petitioning activities.” 

In considering whether or not Mr. Karangwa’s counterclaims were retaliatory, the lower court should consider, among other things, (1) whether the claims are ‘typical’ SLAPP claims, e.g., claims that one would not likely bring on their own, (2) the temporal proximity of when the counter-claims were brought to when Ms. Rosario engaged in escalated protected activity, e.g., when Ms. Rosario filed her claims to court, and (3) the chilling impact on such activity by, for example, increasing the cost to Ms. Rosario of complaining about sexual harassment.

The case was remanded to the lower court for a sequential application of the correct anti-SLAPP standard.

6. Enforcement of Arbitration Agreements

Theodore v. Uber Technologies, Inc., C.A. No. 18-cv-12147 (D. Mass. Mar. 3, 2020)

Many executives (and employees generally) are subject to arbitration clauses of which they are unaware until a dispute arises. The enforceability of such clauses is often hotly disputed. This is particularly true in civil rights cases, pitting two established principles against each other ( i.e. , the preference for arbitration under federal law against a strong public policy against discrimination). Enforceability is often fact-specific, such as whether the agreement to arbitrate and the waiver of judicial remedy are sufficiently obvious and clear.

Although Theodore is not an employment case, its analysis may be useful, especially regarding on-line forms that invite a user to follow one or more links which can be easily bypassed. The US District Court’s analysis involved not only a review of the text itself but also a discussion of the font size, layout, and background color on the page. The Court went so far as to include screen-shots in the decision.

Ultimately, the Court refused to compel arbitration where Uber invited a customer to click to “CREATE ACCOUNT” without “reasonably communicating” the impact of doing so.

7. The Process – and Not Just the Final Decision – Matters

Comcast Corp. v. Nat’l Assoc. of African American-Owned Media, 140 S.Ct. 1009 (2020)

In Comcast , the Supreme Court of the United States unanimously held that the but-for causation standard applies to claims of racial discrimination raised under 42 U.S.C. § 1981, a statute which guarantees all persons the same right “to make and enforce contracts . . . as is enjoyed by white citizens.” However, the Court expressly declined to decide an issue raised by Comcast, i.e , whether § 1981(a) guarantees only the right to equivalent contractual outcomes, as Comcast argued, or if it also guarantees the right to an equivalent contracting process, as the law has been interpreted for years.

In her concurrence, Justice Ginsburg addressed Comcast’s argument directly:

“I write separately to resist Comcast’s attempt to cabin a ‘sweeping’ law designed to ‘break down all discrimination between black men and white men” … Under Comcast’s view, § 1981 countenances racial discrimination so long as it occurs in advance of the final contract-formation decision. Thus, a lender would not violate § 1981by requiring prospective borrowers to provide one reference letter if they are white and five if they black. Nor would an employer violate § 1981 by reimbursing expenses for white interviewees but requiring black applicants to pay their own way … That view cannot be squared with the statute. An equal ‘right … to make… contracts’ … is an empty promise without equal opportunities to present or receive offers and negotiate over terms … It is implausible that a law ‘intended to secure … practical freedom’ … would condone discriminatory barriers to contract formation.”

As Justice Ginsburg recognized, and recent events have made abundantly clear, we must remain vigilant to protect and expand, not erode, our civil rights laws.

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Labor & Employment Supreme Court Cases

Many of the labor and employment cases that have reached the Supreme Court involve claims of discrimination, harassment, or retaliation in the workplace. These may arise under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits adverse employment actions based on the race, color, religion, sex, or national origin of an employee. The Supreme Court also has reviewed cases under parallel anti-discrimination laws, such as the Americans With Disabilities Act and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act.

Meanwhile, the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 imposes rules for pension, health, and other benefit plans in the private sector. The Supreme Court has clarified ERISA terms and requirements, in addition to determining whether ERISA preempts various state laws. The ERISA preemption clause provides that the law supersedes any state laws to the extent that they relate to employee benefit plans. However, the ERISA savings clause allows states to regulate the business of insurance.

Other workplace issues addressed by the Supreme Court include employee privacy, wage and hour rules under the Fair Labor Standards Act, and the free speech rights of government employees. The Court also has discussed the use of arbitration to resolve labor and employment disputes.

Below is a selection of Supreme Court cases involving labor and employment, arranged from newest to oldest.

Author: Elena Kagan

Although an employee must show some harm from a forced job transfer to prevail in a Title VII claim, they do not need to show that the injury satisfies a significance test.

Author: Samuel A. Alito, Jr.

Title VII requires an employer that denies a religious accommodation to show that the burden of granting an accommodation would result in substantial increased costs in relation to the conduct of its particular business. The impact on coworkers is relevant only to the extent that it goes on to affect the conduct of the business.

The federal-sector provision of the ADEA demands that personnel actions be untainted by any consideration of age.

Author: Neil Gorsuch

An employer that fires an individual merely for being gay or transgender violates Title VII.

Author: Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Dodd-Frank's anti-retaliation provision does not extend to an individual who has not reported a violation of the securities laws to the SEC.

The state's extraction of agency fees from non-consenting public-sector employees violates the First Amendment.

Author: Stephen Breyer

When an employer demotes an employee out of a desire to prevent the employee from engaging in protected political activity, the employee is entitled to challenge that unlawful action under the First Amendment and Section 1983 even if the employer's actions are based on a factual mistake about the employee's behavior.

Author: Anthony Kennedy

ERISA preempts a state law that governs or interferes with the uniformity of plan administration.

Author: Antonin Scalia

To prevail in a disparate treatment claim, an applicant needs to show only that their need for an accommodation was a motivating factor in the employer's decision. They do not need to show that the employer had knowledge of their need.

Author: Sonia Sotomayor

A public employee's sworn testimony outside the scope of their ordinary job duties is entitled to First Amendment protection.

Author: Clarence Thomas

Time spent waiting to undergo and undergoing security screenings is not compensable under the FLSA.

Title VII retaliation claims must be proved according to traditional principles of but-for causation.

An employee is a supervisor for the purposes of vicarious liability under Title VII only if they are empowered by the employer to take tangible employment actions against the victim.

Author: John Roberts

The Establishment and Free Exercise Clauses bar lawsuits brought on behalf of ministers against their churches, claiming termination in violation of employment discrimination laws.

If a supervisor performs an act motivated by discriminatory animus that is intended by the supervisor to cause an adverse employment action, and if that act is a proximate cause of the ultimate employment action, the employer is liable.

In an employment discrimination class action, the conceptual gap between an individual's discrimination claim and the existence of a class of persons who have suffered the same injury must be bridged by significant proof that an employer operated under a general policy of discrimination. More generally, a class in a proposed class action has common questions of law or fact if their claims depend on a common contention of such a nature that it is capable of classwide resolution, which means that determination of its truth or falsity will resolve an issue that is central to the validity of each of the claims in one stroke.

A government employer's allegedly retaliatory actions against an employee do not give rise to liability under the Petition Clause of the First Amendment unless the employee's petition relates to a matter of public concern.

A government employer had a right to read text messages sent and received on a pager that the employer owned and issued to an employee.

Before an employer can engage in intentional discrimination for the asserted purpose of avoiding or remedying an unintentional disparate impact, the employer must have a strong basis in evidence to believe that it will be subject to disparate impact liability if it fails to take the race-conscious, discriminatory action.

A plaintiff bringing an ADEA disparate treatment claim must prove that age was the but-for cause of the adverse employment action.

A provision in a collective bargaining agreement that clearly and unmistakably requires union members to arbitrate ADEA claims is enforceable as a matter of federal law.

Author: David Souter

An employer defending a disparate impact claim under the ADEA bears both the burden of production and the burden of persuasion for the “reasonable factors other than age” (RFOA) affirmative defense.

The anti-retaliation provision of Title VII covers only those employer actions that would have been materially adverse to a reasonable employee or applicant. The plaintiff must show that the challenged action well might have dissuaded a reasonable worker from making or supporting a charge of discrimination.

When public employees make statements pursuant to their official duties, the Constitution does not insulate their communications from employer discipline.

Author: John Paul Stevens

When employees must don protective clothing on the employer's premises before they engage in the productive labor for which they are primarily hired, the time that employees spend walking between the changing area and the production area is compensable under the FLSA. However, the time that employees spend waiting to put on the protective gear is not compensable.

While the ADEA authorizes recovery in disparate impact cases, ADEA Section 4(f)(1) significantly narrows its coverage by permitting any otherwise prohibited action when the differentiation is based on reasonable factors other than age.

A plaintiff alleging sexual harassment can establish constructive discharge if they can show that the abusive working environment became so intolerable that their resignation qualified as a fitting response. An employer may assert the Faragher affirmative defense unless the plaintiff quit in reasonable response to an adverse action officially changing their employment status or situation.

ERISA prevents individuals from suing HMOs in state court for pure eligibility decisions. Also, if an individual at some point in time could have brought their claim under ERISA Section 502(a)(1)(B), and no other independent legal duty is implicated by a defendant's actions, the individual's cause of action is completely preempted.

The common-law element of control is the principal guidepost to be followed in deciding whether director-shareholder physicians in a medical clinic should be counted as employees for the purposes of the ADA. Factors to be considered in deciding whether a shareholder-director is an employee include whether the organization can hire or fire the individual or set rules for their work, whether the organization supervises their work, whether they report to someone higher in the organization, whether they can influence the organization, whether written agreements or contracts show that the parties intended the individual to be an employee, and whether the individual shares in the profits, losses, and liabilities of the organization.

Direct evidence of discrimination is not required for a plaintiff to obtain a mixed motive jury instruction under Title VII.

An agreement between an employer and an employee to arbitrate employment-related disputes does not bar the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) from pursuing victim-specific judicial relief, such as backpay, reinstatement, and damages, in an ADA enforcement action.

HMOs may be insurers and thus subject to state regulation of insurers. State laws directed toward the insurance industry are saved from preemption under ERISA's saving clause.

Author: Per Curiam

Judicial review of a labor arbitration decision pursuant to a collective bargaining agreement is very limited. Courts are not authorized to review an arbitrator's decision on the merits despite allegations that the decision rests on factual errors or misinterprets the parties' agreement. Even when the arbitrator's award may properly be vacated, the appropriate remedy is to remand the case for further arbitration proceedings.

A retaliation claim will not withstand a summary judgment motion when nobody could reasonably believe that the incident of which the plaintiff complained violated Title VII.

The exemption in Section 1 of the Federal Arbitration Act, which excludes contracts of employment of seamen, railroad employees, or any other class of workers engaged in foreign or interstate commerce, is confined to transportation workers.

Author: Sandra Day O’Connor

A prima facie case of discrimination, combined with sufficient evidence for a reasonable jury to reject the employer's non-discriminatory explanation for its decision, may be adequate to sustain a finding of liability for intentional discrimination under the ADEA.

Mixed treatment and eligibility decisions by health maintenance organization (HMO) physicians are not fiduciary decisions under ERISA.

An employer's conduct does not need to be independently egregious to satisfy the requirements for a punitive damages award in a Title VII case. However, in the punitive damages context, an employer may not be vicariously liable for the discriminatory employment decisions of managerial agents when these decisions are contrary to the employer's good-faith efforts to comply with Title VII.

An employer is subject to vicarious liability to a victimized employee for an actionable hostile environment created by a supervisor with immediate or successively higher authority over the employee. When no tangible employment action is taken, the employer may raise an affirmative defense if they can show that they exercised reasonable care to prevent and correct promptly any sexually harassing behavior, and the plaintiff unreasonably failed to take advantage of any preventive or corrective opportunities provided by the employer or to avoid harm otherwise.

For a union to waive employees' rights to a federal judicial forum for statutory anti-discrimination claims, the agreement to arbitrate these claims must be clear and unmistakable.

Sex discrimination consisting of same-sex sexual harassment is actionable under Title VII.

Under Title VII, an employee who refuses the unwelcome and threatening sexual advances of a supervisor, yet suffers no adverse, tangible job consequences, may recover damages from the employer without showing that the employer was negligent or otherwise at fault for the supervisor's actions, but the employer may interpose an affirmative defense. (The defense consists of the elements in Faragher below.)

The power to amend or abolish an employee welfare benefit plan does not include the power to discriminate against the plan's participants and beneficiaries for the purpose of interfering with their attainment of rights under the plan.

The salary-basis test denies exempt status under the Fair Labor Standards Act when employees are covered by a policy that permits disciplinary or other deductions in pay as a practical matter. That standard is met if there is either an actual practice of making such deductions or an employment policy that creates a significant likelihood of such deductions.

The fact that one member of a protected class lost out to another member is irrelevant to an employment discrimination claim so long as they lost out because of their protected trait.

When employers or other plan sponsors adopt, modify, or terminate pension plans, they do not act as fiduciaries but are analogous to settlors of a trust.

A law operating as an indirect source of merely economic influence on administrative decisions should not suffice to trigger ERISA preemption.

An employee discharged in violation of the ADEA is not barred from all relief when, after their discharge, their employer discovers evidence of wrongdoing that, in any event, would have led to their termination on lawful and legitimate grounds had the employer known of it.

Title VII is violated when the workplace is permeated with discriminatory behavior that is sufficiently severe or pervasive to create a discriminatorily hostile or abusive working environment. This standard requires an objectively hostile or abusive environment, as well as the victim's subjective perception that the environment is abusive.

An employment decision based on years of service is not necessarily age-based, since this factor is analytically distinct from age.

The common-law test for determining who qualifies as an employee under ERISA considers the hiring party's right to control the manner and means by which the product is accomplished. Other factors to consider include the skill required, the source of the instrumentalities and tools, the location of the work, the duration of the relationship between the parties, the extent of the hired party's discretion over when and how long to work, and the method of payment, among others.

Author: Byron White

An ADEA claim can be subjected to compulsory arbitration.

ERISA's deemer clause demonstrates Congress' clear intent to exclude from the reach of the saving clause self-funded ERISA plans by relieving them from state laws purporting to regulate insurance. State laws directed toward such plans are preempted because they relate to an employee benefit plan but are not saved because they do not regulate insurance.

The proper comparison in a disparate impact employment discrimination case is generally between the racial composition of the at-issue jobs and the racial composition of the qualified population in the relevant labor market.

Author: William Brennan

In the specific context of sex stereotyping, an employer that acts on the basis of a belief that a woman cannot be aggressive, or that she must not be, has acted on the basis of gender.

For disclosure purposes, a “participant” in an ERISA plan means an employee in currently covered employment (or reasonably expected to be in currently covered employment), or a former employee who has a reasonable expectation of returning to covered employment or who has a colorable claim to vested benefits. To establish that they may become eligible for benefits, a claimant must have a colorable claim that they will prevail in a suit for benefits, or that eligibility requirements will be fulfilled in the future.

A policy of paying discharged employees for their unused vacation time does not constitute an employee welfare benefit plan within the meaning of ERISA, and a criminal action to enforce that policy is not foreclosed.

The National Labor Relations Act does not permit a union, over the objections of dues-paying non-member employees, to expend funds collected from them on activities unrelated to collective bargaining activities.

Disparate impact analysis in an employment discrimination claim may be applied to subjective employment criteria.

To be preempted by ERISA, a state statute must have some connection with or reference to a plan.

Both the inception and the scope of the intrusion must be reasonable when a public employer intrudes on the constitutionally protected privacy interests of government employees for non-investigatory, work-related purposes, as well as for investigations of work-related misconduct.

ERISA preempts state common law tort and contract actions asserting improper processing of a claim for benefits under an insured employee benefit plan.

Author: William Rehnquist

A claim of hostile environment sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination that is actionable under Title VII.

Author: Harry Blackmun

A law relates to an employee benefit plan for ERISA purposes if it has a connection with or reference to such a plan.

When a public employee speaks as an employee on matters only of personal interest, a federal court is generally not the appropriate forum to review the wisdom of a personnel decision taken by a public agency allegedly in reaction to the employee's behavior.

A non-job-related test that has a disparate impact and is used to limit or classify employees is used to discriminate within the meaning of Title VII, even if it was not designed or intended to have this effect and even if an employer tries to compensate for its discriminatory effect.

Author: Lewis Powell

When a plaintiff in a Title VII case has proved a prima facie case of employment discrimination, the defendant bears only the burden of explaining clearly the non-discriminatory reasons for its actions. It is sufficient if the defendant's evidence raises a genuine issue of fact as to whether it discriminated against the plaintiff.

Author: Potter Stewart

A regulation could permit private employees of a private employer to avoid workplace conditions that they believe pose grave dangers to their own safety, when the employees have no power under the regulation to order their employer to correct the hazardous condition or to clear the dangerous workplace of others.

A public employee does not forfeit their First Amendment protection when they arrange to communicate privately with their employer, rather than expressing their views publicly.

Once a prima facie case has been established by statistical workforce disparities, the employer must have an opportunity to show that the claimed discriminatory pattern was a product of pre-Title VII hiring, rather than unlawful post-Title VII discrimination.

To establish a prima facie case of employment discrimination, a plaintiff need only show that facially neutral standards select applicants for hire in a significantly discriminatory pattern. If the employer proves that the challenged requirements are job-related, the plaintiff may show that other selection devices without a similar discriminatory effect would also serve the employer's legitimate interest in efficient and trustworthy workmanship.

In cases alleging a pattern or practice of employment discrimination, the government must show that discrimination was the standard operating procedure of the defendant. Statistics may be used in proving discrimination.

An employee's statutory right to trial de novo under Title VII is not foreclosed by prior submission of their claim to final arbitration under the non-discrimination clause of a collective bargaining agreement.

In a private, non-class action complaint under Title VII charging racial employment discrimination, the complainant has the burden of establishing a prima facie case, which they can satisfy by showing that they belong to a racial minority, they applied and were qualified for a job that the employer was trying to fill, they were rejected, and the employer continued to seek applicants with their qualifications.

Author: Warren Burger

An employment practice that operates to exclude members of a protected group is prohibited if it cannot be shown to be related to job performance, even if the employer lacked discriminatory intent.

Author: Thurgood Marshall

When a public employee's false statements concerned issues that were currently the subject of public attention and did not interfere with the performance of their duties or the general operation of their employer, they were entitled to the same protection as if the statements had been made by a member of the general public.

Author: Robert H. Jackson

The fact that an employer has individual contracts of employment with a majority of its employees does not preclude the employees from exercising their right under the National Labor Relations Act to choose a representative for collective bargaining, nor does it warrant refusal by the employer to bargain with this representative regarding terms covered by the individual contracts.

Rulings, interpretations, and opinions of agency administrators are not controlling on courts but provide a body of experience and informed judgment that courts can use for guidance. The weight of such a judgment depends on the thoroughness evident in its consideration, the validity of its reasoning, its consistency with earlier and later pronouncements, and all those factors that give it power to persuade, if lacking power to control. Also, no principle of law precludes a determination that waiting time is working time under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Author: Charles Evans Hughes

In recognizing the right to strike, the National Labor Relations Act contemplates a lawful strike. When a strike, even if it arose from unfair labor practices, is initiated and conducted in lawlessness by the seizure and retention of the employer's property, and the strikers are discharged because of their lawlessness, they do not remain employees under the NLRA.

A restraint or regulation of the liberty to contract is due process if it is reasonable in relation to its subject and adopted for the protection of the community against evils menacing the health, safety, morals, and welfare of the people. Also, in dealing with the relation of employer and employed, the legislature has a wide field of discretion in order that there may be suitable protection of health and safety, and that peace and good order may be promoted through regulations designed to ensure wholesome conditions of work and freedom from oppression.

Author: George Sutherland

Legislation fixing hours or conditions of work may properly take into account the physical differences between men and women, but the doctrine that women of mature age require (or may be subjected to) restrictions on their liberty of contract that could not lawfully be imposed on men in similar circumstances must be rejected.

Author: John Marshall Harlan

It is not within the power of Congress to make it a criminal offense against the United States for a carrier engaged in interstate commerce to discharge an employee simply because of their membership in a labor organization. A provision to that effect is an invasion of personal liberty and the right of property and is unenforceable under the Due Process Clause.

Author: David Josiah Brewer

The regulation of the working hours of women falls within the police power of the state, and a statute directed exclusively to such regulation does not conflict with the Due Process or Equal Protection Clauses.

A U.S. court has no jurisdiction under the Thirteenth Amendment or other federal laws of a charge of conspiracy made and carried out in a state to prevent citizens of African descent, because of their race and color, from making or carrying out contracts and agreements to labor.

Author: Rufus Wheeler Peckham

The general right to make a contract in relation to one's business is part of the liberty protected by the Fourteenth Amendment, and this includes the right to purchase and sell labor, except as controlled by the state in the legitimate exercise of its police power.

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case study on employment law

Who will be cheering and who will be jeering in this new decade may depend on the outcome of several key cases, pending regulations, and potential state and local law reforms. Below, we provide you with a brief overview of some key issues that may dominate the legal landscape in 2020 and beyond.

Notable Cases With Potentially Far-Reaching Impact

Us supreme court decisions regarding lgbt rights.

This is undoubtedly the most hotly-anticipated court outcome of the coming year because of its significant impact on the civil rights of more than 8 million LGBT individuals in this country. On October 8, 2019, the United States Supreme Court heard oral argument in three cases involving employees who allege they were terminated from their employment because of their LGBT statuses in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”); specifically, the statute’s prohibition on discrimination “because of sex.” Two of the three cases –  Altitude Express v. Zarda  (2d Circuit) and  Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia  (11th Circuit) – involve employees alleging their respective employers discriminatorily ended their employment because they were gay. In the third case,  R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes v. EEOC  (6th Circuit), the federal government argued that the employer terminated an employee based on transgender status in violation of Title VII.

Aside from these three cases before the nation’s highest court, the protection of LGBT rights has garnered widespread attention in the private and public sector alike. Examples include  The Business Statement for Transgender Equality , a letter penned by some of the nations’ largest employers that censures any reduction in LGBT rights, and the  Equality Act , a bill passed in the U.S. House of Representatives that seeks to modify civil rights statutes to expressly protect LGBT individuals in the same manner as race, sex, national origin, and religion. Since its passage in the House, the  Equality Act  has sat at the Senate without much activity, however, the pressure to address the bill may build as the clock ticks on the Supreme Court’s forthcoming decision, due from the Court before the close of the 2019-2020 session on June 30, 2020.

US Women’s National Soccer Team Eyes New Goal Of Equal Pay

In March 2018, members of the United States Soccer Women’s National Team (“WNT”) sued the United States Soccer Federation, Inc. (“USSF”) in the Central District of California seeking injunctive relief, back pay, and punitive damages under the federal Equal Pay Act – an amendment to the Fair Labor Standards Act that requires equal pay for men and women for equal work – and Title VII. The lawsuit, a class and collective action, was filed by female WNT players including Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe, Carli Lloyd, and Julie Ertz, who have become household names due to their overwhelming success in the international soccer world. Four World Cup championship titles, four Olympic gold medals, and the Number 1 world ranking in 10 of the last 11 years, among other factors, lead the WNT to argue that they unfairly receive lower pay and inferior playing, training, travel, and other conditions of employment when compared to those benefits provided to their Male National Team (“MNT”) colleagues, who have not enjoyed similar playing successes as the women.

This case is unique, not only because of its high-profile parties, but also because Defendant USSF does not appear to deny paying less to WNT players than MNT players, and instead asserts that “market realities” dictate their lower pay. The WNT is fighting this assertion with data they argue indicates the WNT not only is more successful on the field, but generates significantly more revenue for USSF than the MNT. Many compare this case to Billie Jean King’s efforts in the 1970s to equalize pay for women in professional tennis, and see it as another opportunity to increase awareness of unequal pay for women in sports and other industries. The case is currently set for trial in May 2020, just three months before the summer Olympics, where the WNT is expected, once again, to be a strong contender for the gold medal.

Online Ad Practices Alleged to Profile Younger Applicants

The Communications Workers of America (“CWA”) filed  Communications Workers of America v. T-Mobile US, et al.  in May 2018, as a proposed class action lawsuit alleging that many major employers including Amazon, T-Mobile, and others yet to be named have used a paid advertisement posting platform on Facebook to post job opportunities and exclude older workers from applying. The suit alleges that Facebook’s platform allows posters to identify parameters for their employment ads to reach only targeted audiences, and thereby exclude potential audiences in a certain age brackets. CWA asserts in its lawsuit that this practice by employers violates the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of an employee’s or prospective employee’s age. The case is still in its early stages and has largely focused on whether CWA is a proper plaintiff in the lawsuit, but it is expected to gain attention as the case progresses. Similar lawsuits have been filed in other jurisdictions, and to add fuel to the fire, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) issued a decision in September 2019 that the agency found “reasonable cause” to determine that seven employers, including Capital One and Edward Jones, had discriminated against females and older workers by posting job listings on Facebook using audience parameters including age and gender. In response, Facebook has reportedly modified its advertisement posting platform so that it prevents self-identified employers from posting job ads using age or gender-based audience-selection criteria. Skeptics may argue this is not enough because employers who do not self-identify their ad as a job posting may circumvent the restrictions and continue to exclude ad viewers based on legally-protected characteristics. Stay tuned as this topic develops both in and outside of court.

Facebook Challenges Notice of Collective Action to Employees Who Waived Class Claims

Facebook is also taking a front seat in further defining the contours of the impact of  Epic Systems v. Lewis  (which we blogged about  here ), the United States Supreme Court decision that authorized the use of mandatory arbitration agreements as a condition of employment.

In  Bigger v. Facebook , the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois certified a collective action under the Fair Labor Standards Act that includes allegations that Facebook failed to properly pay overtime to certain groups of employees. As part of the Court’s order certifying the collective action, the District Court Judge authorized plaintiffs’ counsel to send an approved notice of collective action to all potential class plaintiffs, including those who signed arbitration agreements that waived their right to bring or participate in class or collective litigation.

Facebook has appealed this decision, arguing that the class waivers render these employees ineligible to participate in the District Court collective action litigation, therefore the notices about the class proceeding should not be sent to them. Facebook asserts that the Court’s order improperly treats the arbitration agreements as presumptively invalid and will result in an unnecessary expansion of the litigation and “amplify settlement pressure.” Although the case is still in its earliest stages, the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit agreed to hear Facebook’s interlocutory appeal (an appeal that occurs before and often results in a temporary stay on the completion of the trial court litigation).

Notably, on February 19, 2019, while the  Bigger  Court was considering plaintiffs’ class certification but before it issued its order allowing the notices to be sent to employees who signed class waivers, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit considered the same issue and ruled, contrary to the Illinois District Court, that plaintiffs should not be authorized to provide notice to putative class members who are not able to participate in the class proceedings because they have signed arbitration agreements containing class waivers. A different outcome in the Seventh Circuit would create a split and possibly tee up the issue for further consideration by the Supreme Court.

Federal Agency Regulations To Address Joint Employer Classification

As we reported to you  previously , three major federal agencies that enforce employment laws – the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”), Department of Labor (“DOL”), and the EEOC – all promised to revise their standards for determining when multiple, otherwise unrelated entities can be considered “joint employers” of an employee or group of employees. On January 12, 2020, the DOL issued its final rule regarding joint employment and the Fair Labor Standards Act, which is expected to take effect in mid-March 2020 and finalizes the proposed rule unveiled last year. The DOL’s rule replaces a much laxer test that said employers jointly employ workers whose work for one “is not completely disassociated” from their work for the other. Under the newly announced rule, the DOL will apply a four-factor balancing test to determine whether two or more affiliated businesses jointly employ workers in situations where workers perform tasks for one employer that simultaneously benefit another business or individual. These factors include (1) whether a business can hire or fire employees, (2) whether it controls their schedules or conditions of employment to a substantial degree, (3) whether it determines workers’ pay rates and the methods by which they are paid, and (4) whether a business maintains workers’ employment records.

The NLRB and EEOC’s joint employment guidance is also expected this year. The NLRB has issued proposed rules, on which it has accepted public comment, and final rules are believed to be imminent. The EEOC indicated it planned to issue a notice of proposed rulemaking at the end of 2019, but the end of the year came and went without this notice. Employers are hopeful that the agencies will issue consistent rules and provide useful and practical guidance for employers as they consider the pros and cons of entering into various contracting and leasing relationships.

State and Local Law Developments

California, as you know, is often a leader in employee rights’ reform, and last year was no exception. Enacted last year, California Assembly Bill 5 (“AB5”) became effective January 1, 2020 (except for a limited exception for truckers) and codifies the California Supreme Court’s decision in  Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. Superior Court , which we posted about  here . AB5 adopts the “ABC test” utilized in  Dynamex  to determine whether a worker is an employee or independent contractor. The test is considered restrictive and would result in more workers being classified as employees. Other states, including New York, New Jersey, and Illinois, have also begun working on similar independent contractor standards modeled after AB5, and are expected to submit those for passage into law perhaps this year. For a more in-depth review of AB5 and its history, read our post  here .

Another development arising from the Golden State, arbitration law reform Assembly Bill 51 enacted in response to the  Epic Systems  decision (discussed further above), seeks to criminalize arbitration agreements required as a condition of employment, even when employees are allowed to opt out. The law has been challenged on constitutional grounds and was stayed by the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California, pending further hearings on the matter. Other states may consider similar laws and use the pending litigation as a lesson learned in drafting their own versions of the law so as to avoid the potential legal pitfalls of the pioneer laws in this area.

Finally, state law overtime requirements that exceed the federal law standards, paid and legally-protected family and sick leave, and predictable work scheduling are all areas in which there is a growing trend for states and local governments to enact worker-protective laws. Expect additional legislation on both a state and local level in these areas as well.

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Key Unfair Dismissal Cases in Employment Law

Woman being fired gathering her belongings in a box

Unfair dismissal has been one of the most common claims to be brought to employment tribunals, with a 23% rise in the number of unfair dismissal claims receiving rewards from 2018 to 2019. 

Relevant provisions can be found in the Employment Rights Act 1996, in which s98(2) lists the reasons an employee can be dismissed. S98(4) then clarifies that fairness of a dismissal depends on how reasonably the employer acted in dismissing an employee. 

How we view employment rights today has drastically changed with the evolution of the gig economy and a growing emphasis on the issue of discrimination.  Nonetheless, the protection of employees from mistreatment remains paramount. Thanks to the decision in Polkey v A E Dayton Services Ltd [1988], employers must continue to ensure their procedure for dismissing employees is fair.

In this blog, we take a look at some key cases in recent years that add to existing law.

Unfair Dismissal Case 1: Is Being Dismissed for not Disclosing Your Personal Relationships Unfair?

In Reilly v Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council [2016], the Supreme Court was faced with the issue of whether the headteacher of a primary school could be fired for not disclosing her close yet platonic relationship with a convicted sex offender. 

The Supreme Court dismissed Mrs Reilly’s appeal that her summary dismissal was unfair. The appellant had a duty to inform the school’s governing body of her relationship with a convicted sex offender. 

This came down to the fact that the sex offender was a potential risk to school children, given the unlimited access to pupils’ personal information that a headteacher can offer. One of the claimant’s fundamental duties was to assist the governors in safeguarding pupils; she had failed to do so by not disclosing details of her relationship. 

On that note, both Lady Hale and Lord Wilson emphasised that the Burchell rules from British Home Stores v Burchell for investigating misconduct are only relevant to proving the employer has a reason to dismiss. The rules set out in Burchell are ‘not well fitted’ to assessing fairness of a dismissal under the second part of the test, where the focus is on the reasonableness of the employer’s actions. 

The findings of this case strongly emphasise that an employee’s actions or choices, even outside of work, can be considered misconduct or even gross misconduct. 

Unfair Dismissal Case 2: Does the ACAS Code of Discipline and Grievance Apply to SOSR D ismissals? 

The ACAS Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedure applies to dismissals based on the employee’s misconduct or poor performance. However, whether it applies to dismissals for ‘some other substantial reason,’ has never been expressly stated. 

Admittedly, the case of Phoenix House Ltd v Stockman & Anormay simply adds to the confusion. Before diving into the facts of the case, it is worth mentioning that the purpose of the ACAS code is to provide guidance for employers on what a fair disciplinary or grievance procedure should look like. 

The basic facts of the case are as follows: 

  • The Phoenix House case concerns an employee (the claimant) who was dismissed for an irretrievable breakdown in the working relationship with the employer.
  • The claimant made a grievance about the restructuring and re-engagement process in her department. She also made a grievance regarding mistreatment at work.
  • This was all in the midst of disciplinary proceedings regarding the claimant “barging” into the finance director’s meeting and failing to leave when asked to. 
  • The employer made the decision to dismiss the claimant due to the damage done to the working relationship.  
  • The claimant argued that her dismissal was unfair, and the employment tribunal had agreed. One of the reasons behind the tribunal’s finding was that the disciplinary procedure was not fair and did not comply with the ACAS code. 

The employer’s appeal against the decision was dismissed by the Employment Appeal Tribunal However, the Employment Appeal Tribunal found this application of the ACAS Code problematic because it could also give rise to an uplift in the claimant’s compensation by 25% for the employer’s non-compliance with the Code. It was noted that to allow for an uplift in compensation would be to add a punitive element to a compensatory award, at the employer’s disadvantage. 

On the other hand, Judge Mitting emphasised that some elements of the ACAS Code will apply to SOSR dismissals. Out of ‘common-sense fairness,’ employees facing dismissal based on a breakdown in working relationships, should have a chance to prove they can continue to work harmoniously. This element did apply to the claimant’s position, who was absent for health reasons following her disciplinary meeting and was therefore not given a chance to prove working relationships were not irretrievably damaged. 

To sum up, only elements of the ACAS Code are applied where appropriate. An increase in compensation may be difficult to apply to SOSR dismissals, as the ACAS Code was not drafted with the intent to punish employers financially, but only to protect employees. 

Unfair Dismissal Case 3: A Discriminatory Dismissal? 

Discrimination of any form in the workplace is a cause for concern, but how can discrimination in dismissal or disciplinary procedures be combatted?

In the case of Mr R Hastings v Kings College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, the employment tribunal awarded an IT manager £1m following an unfair and discriminatory dismissal by King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. Mr Hastings was dismissed for gross misconduct after an altercation with a third-party van driver in the car park. The claimant was of African Caribbean descent and had an exemplar employment record.  Acts of self-defence by the claimant were deemed to be acts of aggression. Several red flags in the case show racial bias in the investigation and disciplinary procedure: 

  • Investigations into the altercation were heavily based on CCTV footage at the expense of other evidence that would have supported the claimant’s point of view. 
  • Disciplinary proceedings for gross misconduct and investigation of the facts were more like interrogations. To make matters worse, the questions used deliberately presented the claimant as an aggressor.
  • When Mr Hastings made a grievance concerning racial discrimination, no further investigation was made into the grievance and it was swiftly dismissed. 

Overall, this case clarifies that even if an employer has a disciplinary/ investigation procedure in place, the way in which it is used must be neutral for a dismissal to be fair. Employers have the added responsibility to ensure that all evidence is reviewed in the process, as opposed to the cherry-picking of criminalising evidence as we see in this case. 

All in all, these cases give a glimpse into the development of unfair dismissal law and its application to the unequal bargaining power of the employer-employee relationship. When studying any area of employment law, keeping up with recent changes in legislation or new cases makes all the difference in our understanding of how the law protects employees. 

Words: Natasha Dayananda

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Employment Law in Context | Law Trove

Employment Law in Context (4th edn)  

Employment Law in Context combines extracts from leading cases, articles, and books with commentary to provide a full critical understanding of employment law. As well as providing a grounding in individual labour law, this title offers detailed analysis of the social, economic, political, and historical context in which employment law operates, drawing attention to key and current areas of debate. An innovative running case study contextualizes employment law and demonstrates its practical applications by following the life-cycle of a company from incorporation, through expansion, to liquidation. Reflection points and further reading suggestions are included. The volume is divided into eight main Parts. The first Part provides an introduction to employment law. The next Part looks at the constitution of employment and personal work contracts. This is followed by Part III, which examines the content of the personal employment contract and the obligations imposed by the common law on employers and employees. The fourth Part is about statutory employment rights. The fifth Part covers equality law. Part VI looks at the common law and statutory regulation of dismissals. The Part that follows considers business reorganizations, consultation, and insolvency. Finally, Part VIII describes collective labour law.

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  • Dedication  
  • ■ Preface to Fourth Edition  
  • ■ Guide to the Online Resources  
  • ■ Table of cases  
  • ■ Table of Primary Legislation  
  • ■ Table of Secondary Legislation and Codes  
  • ■ Table of European Legislation  
  • ■ Table of International Legislation  
  • ■ Acknowledgements  
  • 1. Introduction to Employment Law  
  • 2. Sources and Institutions of Employment Law  
  • 3. The Employment Relationship and the Contract of Employment  
  • 4. Alternative Personal Work Contracts and Relations  
  • 5. The Nature and Content of the Personal Employment Contract  
  • 6. The Implied Terms of the Personal Employment Contract  
  • 7. The Variation and Suspension of the Personal Employment Contract  
  • 8. Pay and Working Time  
  • 9. Work–Life Balance  
  • 10. Introduction to Employment Equality Law  
  • 11. The Protected Characteristics  
  • 12. Disability Discrimination  
  • 13. Part-Time and Fixed-Term Work  
  • 14. Equal Pay Law  
  • 15. Wrongful Dismissal  
  • 16. Introduction to Unfair Dismissal and Substantive Fairness  
  • 17. Procedural Fairness and Remedies  
  • 18. Redundancy  
  • 19. Transfers of Undertakings  
  • 20. Collective Redundancies  
  • Online Resources Chapter A: Information, Consultation, Participation, and Insolvency  
  • Online Resources Chapter B: Introduction to Trade Unions, Status, Listing, and Independence, and Members’ Rights and Protection  
  • Online Resources Chapter C: Recognition of Trade Unions, Collective Bargaining, and Industrial Democracy  
  • Online Resources Chapter D: Industrial Action and Statutory Immunities  
  • ■ Glossary  

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Employment law is a minefield for bosses and workers

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Camilla Cavendish

Roula Khalaf, Editor of the FT, selects her favourite stories in this weekly newsletter.

Has it become too hard to fire people? That’s an uncomfortable question to ask, in a world where we regularly hear of unscrupulous employers bullying, failing to pay overtime, or throwing qualified staff overboard, as P&O Ferries did so disgracefully in 2022. The bad guys undercut good businesses, which want the UK to better enforce the laws against exploitation. But good employers who play by the rules are also increasingly worn down by the laborious process of trying to remove underperformers.

I regularly meet executives and small business owners who describe a cycle: they ask someone to improve, then see that person go off sick and bring a discrimination claim. Some have given up trying: even if that leaves an employee in place — not pulling their weight and demoralising other team members. That serves no one: least of all the person who doesn’t fit and may be happier doing something else. 

Employment law cases are messy and human. When I read recent reports about a 66-year-old man who objected to a younger worker offering him a chair, seeing it as part of a plot to oust him, I imagined it could be a genuine case of age discrimination. But it turned out that the man, a recycling plant worker who had been dismissed, had dragged his employer through a tribunal that found he had no case. He had claimed age discrimination and harassment, despite admitting he could no longer do heavy lifting because of a health condition and the seat having been offered politely. 

This would have been just another sad case with a poorly advised claimant, except for the final twist. Despite rejecting the claim, the judge ruled that to offer an older employee a chair while younger ones stand could amount to “less favourable treatment” and so breach equality legislation. This felt reminiscent of the case in which an 18-year-old who was sacked for incompetence successfully argued that she had suffered age-related harassment for being called a teenager — despite that being factually correct. 

There is now a whole industry advising companies and HR managers on the nuance of equality law and what might constitute “injury to feelings”. There is also an inbuilt incentive to claim against the long list of protected characteristics because, while the amount that can be awarded for unfair dismissal is limited, there is no cap on compensation for victimisation or discrimination against a protected characteristic. The category of “religion and belief” even includes ethical veganism since a staffer at the League Against Cruel Sports complained the charity was investing pension funds in companies conducting animal testing. Meanwhile, the minimum award for injured feelings has just gone up to £1,200 — not a bad return for what are, in some cases, minor slights that might once have been brushed off.

There are many examples of appalling exploitation and harassment — like that of the 59-year-old trainee at the Department of Work and Pensions, who rightly claimed for racial and age abuse. But it serves no one that dismissal procedures, and tribunal processes, are now so cumbersome. 

The consequences are that managers spend more and more on compliance, and are so afraid of conflict that they sometimes leave bullies in place. Small businesses that don’t have in-house lawyers or HR departments are inclined to settle weak or vexatious claims, rather than take time away from running the firm. Some bigger companies are now apparently engaged in “quiet firing” — the mirror of “quiet quitting” — freezing out staff in the hope they will decide to go. None of this is likely to improve team morale, or staff-employer relationships. 

Employment tribunals are a vital mechanism for justice. They were created to provide an effective, swift and straightforward resolution in situations fraught with resentment, misunderstanding and sometimes genuine abuse. But complexity, and the post-pandemic backlog, aren’t helping.

The coalition government tried introducing fees to reduce “vexatious” claims. While the practice did lead to a reduction in the number of cases brought, it was abandoned amid concerns about denying justice to some of the lowest paid people, who had strong claims for modest awards. A better answer might be to extend the compensation cap to all types of cases, ending any warped incentive to exaggerate. 

We are all human, prone to be difficult, resentful, sometimes lazy or even downright nasty. The law should protect workers from exploitation. But it should also be fair to good employers who care about their staff and want to manage out team members who don’t fit, who bully others or take advantage. It should take a sensible approach to good deeds, like offering a chair.

I asked an employment adviser what companies should learn from the recycling plant case. She felt that it would not be problematic to offer a seat to a disabled, pregnant or ill member of staff. But this should be done privately, to avoid making someone feel different. She also pointed out that employers can simultaneously have a duty to provide “reasonable adjustments” such as seating to someone, and yet be liable for treating them differently. This made me feel very glad I’m not a chief executive. 

All of us are vulnerable to employer whims. There are workers who need protection from faceless bosses — like the Uber algorithm that systematically underpaid its couriers . But there are other workers whose bosses are trying to do the right thing. I have a basic rule: if lawyers are making lots of money from complexity, it’s probably time to simplify.

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In this dynamic session, Mutrie will reveal the major organizational threats impacting businesses today and walk through a real-life case study of what happens when the workplace becomes a crime scene. .” With an average of 130 people dying every day from an opioid overdose, more than 330 mass shootings in the U.S.

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Our Favorites: Top 5 Most Anticipated Sessions at HR West

nettime solutions

MARCH 2, 2015

Glean ideas from case studies to mitigate the economic impact of the ACA through effective implementation of key components in progressive health plan management. What does California law say (and not say) about these policies? Top 10 Employment Law Cases Affecting California Employers .

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Top 20 HR Events in 2020

DECEMBER 3, 2019

SHRM Employment Law and Legislative Conference. Learn how great hiring can drive your business growth from top industry pros, panels, interactive workshops, and case studies , too. March 18-20 | Washington, D.C. Learn more and register here. May 244-25 | New York City, NY | Learn more here. Talent Connect.

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6 reasons why people love working in HR

JANUARY 25, 2024

Read the full case study . This is because the dynamic nature of HR, characterised by the need to keep up-to-date with evolving employment laws and navigate diverse workplace scenarios, presents an ongoing intellectual journey.

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13 great HR magazines you should be reading

APRIL 2, 2019

HR Grapevine – and its sister titles Recruitment Grapevine and Executive Grapevine – are popular with a wide range of HR professionals, who appreciate the titles’ mix of topics, which range from commentary on items in the news to employment law , as well as a look at HR-related stories that are making the rounds on social media.

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8 Outstanding Educational Online Resources & Books for HRs

Vantage Circle

MARCH 1, 2021

Apart from an official certificate, also offers a lot of other useful learning opportunities: White papers, case studies , and other research. These online events are hosted by people in senior HR management positions and often offer unique insights and real-life case studies . Recruitment and retention.

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15 Best Global HR Certifications To Enroll In [2024 Edition]

APRIL 10, 2024

A global HR certification validates a professional’s proficiency in handling the various elements of HR practices across different countries, including their knowledge of international employment laws , cultural nuances, and global talent management strategies.

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Guide to Hiring Employees in the Netherlands

Recruiters Lineup

JANUARY 9, 2024

By adhering to Dutch employment laws , embracing the local work culture, and prioritizing employee satisfaction, businesses can build successful and sustainable teams in this vibrant European country. In such cases , the parties negotiate the terms, including severance pay and other relevant conditions.

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HR leaders discuss strategies for securing a seat at the business table at Keka’s Conclave

Keka HR Blog

JANUARY 26, 2023

The event ended with a vote of thanks by Dr. Nishath Afzal , Communications Manager at Keka.

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I’ve got good news and I’ve got bad news

The Employer Handbook

NOVEMBER 16, 2017

The good news is that I get to play an 80’s rock ballad ( youtube , Spotify ) as I share with you the bad news that, by the time you read this post, you’re most likely SOL for signing up for “The Employment Law Year in Review,” a free webinar on Thu, Dec 7, 2017 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM EST. That’s right, my dudes!

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7 Ways to Build a Strong Employer Brand as a New Company — or an Old One in a New Place

Linkedin Talent Blog

MARCH 17, 2024

“Understanding the local dynamics is very essential to establish an employer brand in an unfamiliar market,” writes Sneha Bhoyar , a client acquisition consultant in Singapore. You need to understand the culture, talent pool, and even the local employment laws of that region, she says.

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Top 4 Tips when thinking about engaging an HR consultant for your SME

JULY 31, 2018

It is unrealistic to expect business owners to be on top of every aspect of HR risk for their business; employment law , modern awards and pay rates, obligations as an employer if terminating an employee or ensuring a safe workplace free from bullying and harassment and compliant with WH&S laws . Experience.

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Best HR Courses in Dubai

SEPTEMBER 11, 2023

The CCBM course is also structured with numerous real-world case studies and practice sessions to help participants fully comprehend the key policies and strategies necessary for creating employee incentive plans and non-monetary motivational methods.

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Nicky Garcea On How We Need To Adjust To The Future Of Work

Thrive Global

AUGUST 22, 2022

Employers will leverage technology to give candidates ways to showcase their skills. Work simulations, projects, case studies are great ways to do just that. Regulations, guidelines, and or outright employment laws are also on the horizon. Work simulations, projects, case studies are great ways to do just that.

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Human Resources Assistant Job Description and Salary

MAY 30, 2023

These interactive sessions often include case studies , group discussions, and practical exercises that allow you to apply HR concepts in real-world scenarios.

WIRTW #423 (the “final frontier” edition)

Ohio Employer's Law

JULY 29, 2016

Emails Become an Expensive Sideshow in Employment Discrimination Lawsuits — via Michigan Employment Law Advisor. via Eric Meyer’s The Employer Handbook Blog. Roger Ailes: Case Study Of Sexual Harassment? — Unpaid Volunteers Are Not “Employees”, Says Court — via Dan Schwartz’s Connecticut Employment Law Blog.

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2016— HR Under Siege

HR Daily Advisor

FEBRUARY 2, 2016

Yesterday’s Advisor presented tips from a distinguished panel of employment law experts on the “perfect storm” that’s brewing for HR in 2016. Attorney John Husband, with Holland & Hart LLP, moderated the panel at BLR’s Advanced Employment Issues Symposium held recently in Las Vegas.

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50 HR Podcasts, Blogs, and YouTube Channels You Should Be Following

JUNE 28, 2022

Jessica Miller-Merrell, the host, sits down with guests to discuss novel business trends, tools, and case studies . . In this weekly/monthly podcast, the creators of XpertHR , the UK’s premier online HR resource, provide essential employment law advice and HR best practice. HR unConfidential. The HR Huddle.

Paid Sick Leave—More Recordkeeping on the Rise?

FEBRUARY 3, 2015

Kahf, who counsels employers of all sizes in all aspects of labor and employment law for the law firm of Fisher & Phillips LLP, provided these regulatory insights in a recent webinar presented by BLR® and HR Hero®. It’s a lot to keep track of—and it’s not going to get easier. Onboarding.

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Guide to Hiring Employees in Luxembourg

APRIL 4, 2024

Assessment: Some employers may require candidates to undergo assessments or tests to evaluate their skills, knowledge, and suitability for the job. This could include technical tests, psychometric assessments, or case studies . This could involve anything from coding exercises to case studies .

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25 HR Blogs to Subscribe to in 2022

FEBRUARY 9, 2022

A lot of the pieces featured on Hppy are case studies and articles based on personal experience in the HR industry, but there are also opinion pieces on various workplace issues. ADP puts the information into a broader context of employment laws and guidelines, making the articles very constructive. Once a week.

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SHRM Employment Law and Legislative Conference. Learn how great hiring can drive your business growth from top industry pros, panels, interactive workshops, and case studies , too! March 18-20 | Washington, D.C. Learn more and register here. Date TBD | Location TBD | Learn more here. Talent Connect.

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Telecommuting—Great, But Watch These Legal Pitfalls

JANUARY 22, 2015

Brinkerhoff (Holland & Hart LLP in Las Vegas) and Yonahara (Freeland, Cooper & Foreman LLP in San Francisco) offered their suggestions at the Advanced Employment Issues Symposium, held recently in Las Vegas. ADA—Reasonable Accommodation. It’s a lot to keep track of—and it’s not going to get easier. Onboarding.

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HR from the Inside Out (sorry, ahem, Outside In) ~ HR to HR 2.0 and.

Strategic HCM

SEPTEMBER 12, 2012

But the best illustration of why HRs approach should be Inside Out comes from the books case studies . BAE Systems, MOL Group, Singapore Housing Development Board and Novartis - theyre all great case studies , but the source of energy for each one was internal - not external at all.

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8 Considerations When Selecting a Professional Employer Organization

JUNE 11, 2014

As employment laws , tax laws and health care reform continue to change at a rapid pace, it can be difficult for business owners to keep up. You may also find case studies or video testimonials on a PEO’s company website and independent client reviews published elsewhere online.

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Too much communication at #MelcrumSummit ~ HR to HR 2.0 and.

OCTOBER 10, 2012

The next two presentations this morning have been from Rebecca Edwards at GE and David Harrington at Shell - both good case studies with similar themes. Wednesday, 10 October 2012. Too much communication at #MelcrumSummit.

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People Sourcing Certification Programme ~ HR to HR 2.0 and.

DECEMBER 14, 2012

Though head farming was horribly expensive, social media makes the same sorts of approaches straight forward, eg this case study from Coca Cola , but still requires a good level of skill. E4S case studies - BT, Capital One. ► April. (6). ► March. (9). ► February. (10). ► January. (5). ▼ 2012.

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Outsourcing Employment Functions: Advantages of an Employer of Record

JULY 7, 2023

Global Expansion and Talent Access – The EOR’s expertise in navigating local employment laws and managing global payroll services and tax regulations enables companies to enter new markets. Look for client testimonials, case studies , and references to gauge their performance and customer satisfaction.

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JUNE 30, 2023

They will typically have industry experience (in a line role or HR/recruiting capacity), a solid working knowledge of current employment laws , and experience with applicant tracking systems. Real-world projects and case studies – Leading experts will guide you in developing practical skills by working on real-world projects.

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#SympEventsTech ? Mobile Learning and ensuring the capability of.

DECEMBER 5, 2012

With over 90 events a year, our conferences and seminars target delegates with interests in: - HR Strategy & Practice - Recruitment - Health & Safety, Employee Well-being - Pay & Benefits - Employment Law - Training & Development - Diversity & Equality - Employee Relations. E4S case studies - BT, Capital One.

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#InTalent Europe ? Linkedin and talent brand risks ~ HR to HR 2.0.

OCTOBER 24, 2012

And there were quite a few case studies too. This is the UK : As well as Linkedin’s and other inputs, we also had some good recruiting case study presentations. , some useful professional inputs eg Glen Cathey with a bit of basic Boolean and Matthew Jeffery on the latest instalment of Recruitment 99.0 (we’re

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Top 25 HR Websites for HR Professionals

JULY 12, 2021

Opinion and analysis of topics based on employment law , talent management, training and development, and employee benefits are discussed in detail on this website. The topics cover everything related to HR, from employee engagement to HR legislation and employment law . HR Trend Institute. Website: [link]. Website: [link].

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CRSS2013 - Recruitment and Sourcing from CERN ~ HR to HR 2.0.

FEBRUARY 25, 2013

We heard about some great case studies showing the extent of change underway in recruitment. So well done again to James Purvis and his team. Here are some of the key themes - for me at least - which I used for my summary : 1. Strategy and technology. A need for tailoring - niche and bulk.

Modern HR, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia ~ HR to HR 2.0 and Human.

MAY 9, 2013

Benefit from these 2 day course led by Jon Ingham during which he will bring together key knowledge and case studies in adapting and re-aligning talent strategies to develop a sustained approach to talent management.

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About Lechtenberg & Associates LLC

Employment Law – Case Studies

In her more than twenty years of employment law practice and management defense,  Penny Lechtenberg  has seen and experienced a lot.  The scope of human behavior revealed in the workplace never ceases to amaze and requires careful, strategic and timely management from the perspective of the human resources professional.

Defense of Discrimination Charges:

The receipt of a Charge of Discrimination filed with the EEOC or other administrative agency can be a daunting experience.  Immediate and definitive actions are necessary.  We have more than 20 years of experience in aggressively defending employers against all types of discrimination charges filed by employees and third parties based on race, disability, gender, national origin, harassment, retaliation and other allegations.

OSHA Investigations:

Internal compliance audits and counseling:.

It’s good to get ahead of the game whenever possible, and internal audits on a variety of issues can be an excellent tool to assess potential exposure and improve internal procedures.  We offer compliance audits in numerous areas, including but not limited to I-9 employment verification files, wage and hour record keeping, job description reviews, employment application forms, employee handbooks, employment contract drafting and review, FLSA wage and hour exemption determinations, and FMLA and ADA interplay as they apply to particular workers.  With our assistance, employers have found and corrected weak areas, saved money and increased workplace compliance, safety, morale and organization in advance of any government inquiries.  Our development of effective protocols for dealing with government inquiries and other workplace events is another key approach to minimizing an employer’s risks, creating positive results and increasing order in the workplace.

ICE Raids and HSI Investigations:

Immigration Customs and Enforcement (ICE) has the ability to investigate and conduct raids at employer sites; some industries find themselves targeted more often than others.  Notable industries include meat packing and food preparation, temporary staffing and manufacturing.  When ICE or Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) contacts your company for an inspection or raid, you want experienced counsel to guide you through the process.  Deadlines are extremely tight; and consequences for missing them are costly.  We have assisted numerous clients through the administrative process of responding to audits and their aftermath, including communications with government officials in all matters, prosecuting cases through the federal administrative process and resolving Notices of Intent to Fine (NIFs).

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The Pluralism Project Case Study Initiative seeks to understand how the case method can be useful in creatively addressing theological and religious studies issues through teaching and learning. The texts relate to issues in civil society, public life, and religious communities. 

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The Teaching Negotiation Resource Center offers a range of materials, including role-play simulations, videos, books, periodicals, and case studies. Most of the materials in the Teaching Negotiation Resource Center are designed for educational purposes, whether in college classroom settings or in corporate training settings, by mediators and facilitators introducing their clients to a process or issue, or by individuals looking to enhance their skills and knowledge independently. 

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The Environmental Law Teacher's Clearinghouse

Case studies and simulations on environmental law. 

Online Education Resources (Renaissance Report, A Journal of Legal Education in Transition)

An analysis of legal education.

Transforming Legal Education (Paul Maharg)

Paul Maharg’s book, Transforming Legal Education , offers critiques and changes to the way law is studied. 

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The ABCs of Case Teaching (Institute for the Study of Diplomacy, Georgetown University)

A thorough publication on case studies, the ABCs of Case Teaching answers the question of why professors should use case studies, and offers strategies of engagement, of preparing to teach cases, debriefing, and more. It also provides a sample course packet and additional resources. 

Teaching with Case Studies (Stanford University, 1994)

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The Case Method and the Interactive Classroom (John Foran, NEA Higher Education Journal)

Using Investigative Cases

Information on how to use investigative cases in teaching, the benefits of students learning investigative case methods, assessment resources, and examples. 

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HBS:  The Teaching Post educator forum (dedicated to Case Method Teaching in Action)

HBS:  List of external teaching and learning centers, case resources, etc.

HKS:  Learning by the Case Method (setting student expectations)

Free cases and course materials:

The Case Centre

The Case Centre, a joint initiative in higher education to share case materials among business teachers, hosts free cases on a wide range of topics: entrepreneurship; arts management and music business; responsible management, including social responsibility, anti-corruption, and sustainability; global health delivery; “climate saver” best practices and commercial distribution to low-income regions; political economics; international business; e-commerce; marketing; operations information and technology; other business disciplines; and topical issues.

Educating Tomorrow’s Lawyers

"These resources include course portfolios, articles, tools, reports, and activities from law schools, educators, and members of the legal profession. They have been compiled to facilitate collaboration and innovations in law school."

Welcome to Employment Cases Update, the UK's leading index of free to view employment law cases.

Employment Cases Update is the UK's leading index of free to view employment law cases .

We cover all key Employment Appeal Tribunal, High Court, Court of Appeal, Supreme Court decisions, as well as key European cases, in a single source. The site is updated almost every day.

Succinct summaries of each case and full search functions make the site an unrivalled research tool for all employment lawyers, HR professionals, trade union reps and anyone else involved in employment litigation.

Edwards v Ministry of Defence [2024] EAT 18

Appeal against a decision by the ET which said that it did not have jurisdiction to hear the Claimant's complaint because she had not made a service complaint as required by s121(1) of the Equality Act 2010. Appeal dismissed.

23/04/2024 09:12

Hilton Foods Solutions Ltd v Wright [2024] EAT 28

Appeal against a decision not to strike out the Claimant's claim that he was dismissed because he sought to take parental leave. Appeal dismissed.

17/04/2024 15:16

Tattersall v Mersey and West Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust (formerly Southport & Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust) [2024] EAT 24

Appeal against a confirmation notice issued by the ET, striking out the Claimant's claim after he failed to comply with an unless order. Appeal dismissed.

08/04/2024 14:33

Hall v Transport for London [2024] EAT 26

Appeal against a refusal by the ET to postpone the full merits hearing. Appeal dismissed.

08/04/2024 14:21

Donkor-Baah v University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Trust & Ors [2024] EAT 23

Appeal against the rejection of the Claimant's claim that was based on the Agency Workers Regulations. Appeal dismissed.

08/04/2024 14:08

New Vento bands from 6 April 2024

New Vento bands for injury to feelings and psychiatric injury have been released by the Presidents of England & Wales and Scotland.

26/03/2024 17:22

Accattatis v Fortuna Group (London) Limited [2024] EAT 25

Appeal against the dismissal of the Claimant's claim of automatic unfair dismissal. Appeal allowed.

26/03/2024 16:47

Martin v The Board of Governors of St Francis Xavier 6th Form College [2024] EAT 22

Appeal against the Claimant’s claims of direct race discrimination and constructive unfair dismissal. Appeal dismissed.

21/03/2024 14:30

Ayche v The Hop Box Limited (t/a Peddler Market) [2024] EAT 10

Appeal against a ruling that the Respondent had made reasonable adjustments for the Claimant. Appeal allowed.

21/03/2024 12:06

Bella v Barclays Execution Services Limited & Ors [2024] EAT 16

Appeal against a decision not to allow the Claimant permission to record proceedings at a preliminary hearing. Appeal allowed.

21/03/2024 10:44

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Elektrostal' , Moscow/Russia  

Zatishye‘Electric Steel’ from elektricheskiy and stal′ . A steel works was built here in the early years after the ...

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Spatial Variations of the Activity of 137 Cs and the Contents of Heavy Metals and Petroleum Products in the Polluted Soils of the City of Elektrostal

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  • Published: 15 June 2022
  • Volume 55 , pages 840–848, ( 2022 )

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  • D. N. Lipatov 1 ,
  • V. A. Varachenkov 1 ,
  • D. V. Manakhov 1 ,
  • M. M. Karpukhin 1 &
  • S. V. Mamikhin 1  

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The levels of specific activity of 137 Cs and the contents of mobile forms (1 M ammonium acetate extraction) of heavy metals (Zn, Cu, Ni, Co, Cr, Pb) and petroleum products were studied in the upper soil horizon of urban landscapes of the city of Elektrostal under conditions of local radioactive and chemical contamination were studied. In the soils within a short radius (0–100 m) around the heavy engineering plant, the specific activity of 137 Cs and the contents of mobile forms of Pb, Cu, and Zn were increased. The lognormal distribution law of 137 Cs was found in the upper (0–10 cm) soil layer; five years after the radiation accident, the specific activity of 137 Cs varied from 6 to 4238 Bq/kg. The coefficients of variation increased with an increase in the degree of soil contamination in the following sequence: Co < Ni < petroleum products < Cr < 137 Cs < Zn < Pb < Cu ranging from 50 to 435%. Statistically significant direct correlation was found between the specific activity of 137 Cs and the contents of mobile forms of Pb, Cu, and Zn in the upper horizon of urban soils, and this fact indicated the spatial conjugacy of local spots of radioactive and polymetallic contamination in the studied area. It was shown that the specific activity of 137 Cs, as well as the content of heavy metals and petroleum products in the upper layer (0–10 cm) of the soils disturbed in the course of decontamination, earthwork and reclamation is reduced.

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Accumulation and migration of heavy metals in soils of the rostov region, south of russia.

case study on employment law

Geographical Features of Pollution of the Territory of Yakutia With Cesium-137

case study on employment law

Activity Concentration of Natural Radionuclides and Total Heavy Metals Content in Soils of Urban Agglomeration

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Contaminants migrate and accumulate in urban ecosystems under the impact of both natural and technogenic factors. The processes of technogenic migration of 137 Cs are most pronounced in radioactively contaminated territories. It was found in urboecological studies that the intensity of sedimentation of aerosol particles containing radionuclides and heavy metals is determined by the types of the surfaces of roofs, walls, roads, lawns, and parks and by their position within the urban wind field [ 12 , 26 ]. Traffic in the cities results in significant transport of dust and associated contaminants and radionuclides [ 15 , 24 ]. During decontamination measures in the areas of Chernobyl radioactive trace, not only the decrease in the level of contamination but also the possibility of secondary radioactive contamination because of the transportation of contaminated soil particles by wind or water, or anthropogenic transfer of transferring of ground were observed [ 5 , 6 ]. Rainstorm runoff and hydrological transport of dissolved and colloidal forms of 137 Cs can result in the accumulation of this radionuclide in meso- and microdepressions, where sedimentation takes place [ 10 , 16 ]. Different spatial distribution patterns of 137 Cs in soils of particular urban landscapes were found in the city of Ozersk near the nuclear fuel cycle works [ 17 ]. Natural character of 137 Cs migration in soils of Moscow forest-parks and a decrease in its specific activity in industrial areas have been revealed [ 10 ]. Determination of the mean level and parameters of spatial variations of 137 Cs in soils is one of primary tasks of radioecological monitoring of cities, including both unpolluted (background) and contaminated territories.

Emissions and discharges from numerous sources of contamination can cause the accumulation of a wide range of toxicants in urban soils: heavy metals (HMs), oil products (OPs), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and other chemical substances. Soil contamination by several groups of toxicants is often observed in urban landscapes [ 20 , 23 ] because of the common contamination source or close pathways of the migration of different contaminants. A comprehensive analysis of contamination of urban soils by radionuclides and heavy metals has been performed in some studies [ 21 , 25 ]. The determination of possible spatial interrelationships between radioactive and chemical contaminations in urban soils is an important problem in urban ecology.

A radiation accident took place in the Elektrostal heavy engineering works (EHEW) in April 2013: a capacious source of 137 Cs entered the smelt furnace, and emission of radioactive aerosols from the aerating duct into the urban environment took place. The activity of molten source was estimated at about 1000–7000 Ci [ 14 ]. The area of contamination in the territory of the plant reached 7500 m 2 . However, radioactive aerosols affected a much larger area around the EHEW, including Krasnaya and Pervomaiskaya streets, and reached Lenin Prospect.

Geochemical evaluation of contamination of the upper soil horizon in the city of Elektrostal was carried out in 1989–1991. This survey indicated the anomalies of concentrations of wolfram, nickel, molybdenum, chromium, and other heavy metals related to accumulation of alloying constituent and impurities of non-ferrous metals in the emissions of steelmaking works [ 19 ].

The aim of our work was to determine the levels of specific activity of 137 Cs, concentrations of mobile forms of heavy metals (Zn, Cu, Ni, Co, Cr, and Pb) and oil products in the upper soil horizons in different urban landscapes of the city of Elektrostal under the conditions of local radioactive and chemical contamination.

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D. N. Lipatov, V. A. Varachenkov, D. V. Manakhov, M. M. Karpukhin & S. V. Mamikhin

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Lipatov, D.N., Varachenkov, V.A., Manakhov, D.V. et al. Spatial Variations of the Activity of 137 Cs and the Contents of Heavy Metals and Petroleum Products in the Polluted Soils of the City of Elektrostal. Eurasian Soil Sc. 55 , 840–848 (2022).

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Received : 21 October 2021

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Published : 15 June 2022

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