Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals 
Weekly Update
 March 1, 2019
Published Cases

There were no published labor or employment law cases last week.
Unpublished Cases
Case No. 17-14966
February 20, 2019
Cunningham, an African-American female proceeding pro se, appealed the district court’s order granting summary judgment in favor of the employer on her Title VII claims of discrimination and retaliation. The Eleventh Circuit affirmed.
In the two years leading to her termination Cunningham was given notice that she needed to improve in two specific areas, which both related to time management. However, she continued beginning her work on accounts too close to their deadlines and failing to timely submit loan packages. Consequently, she was placed on a probation. Cunningham was terminated shortly after the completion of her probation when a supervisor discovered errors that he believed would have caused loans to be unenforceable. 
The Court declined to analyze the case under the “ convincing mosaic ” framework, deeming it waived because Cunningham failed to meaningfully argue such on appeal. The Court then held that she failed to meet her burden of production under McDonnell Douglas because she did not provide any evidence that FCU’s decision to terminate her for deficient performance was a pretext for discrimination. Although Cunningham argued that she was terminated because she notified her employer that one of her colleagues had wrongfully claimed an incentive payment to which she was allegedly entitled, the Court also declined to address whether she had established a prima facie case of retaliation because she had not responded with evidence that FCU’s asserted reason for termination was pretext for retaliation. Thus, summary judgment was affirmed on both claims.  
Case No. 18-12191
February 22, 2019
The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the district court’s dismissal of the plaintiff’s state law claims for defamation, negligence, invasion of privacy and intentional infliction of emotional distress, and the denial of his motion to remand, because his claims were preempted by Section 301 of the Labor Management Relations Act. 

Jackson was the chairperson of a grievance committee for a steelworkers’ union. When the employer was going through a round of layoffs, Jackson tried, unsuccessfully, to use a “super-seniority” provision in the bargaining agreement to avoid being separated. Jackson filed a grievance and subsequently unfair labor practice charges. The grievance and the charges not dismissed by the NLRB were arbitrated with the employer prevailing. Jackson then filed his complaint in state court against multiple defendants alleging that a manager of U.S. Steel had spread libelous accusations that Jackson had wrongly used his position for his personal benefit and had engaged in criminal conduct. Jackson further alleged that the statements were made to harm his chances of success in the arbitration, and that the union had conspired with the employer against him. The defendants removed the case to federal court and successfully moved to dismiss the complaint. 
The Eleventh Circuit, applying the Lingle test, and examining the elements of the torts under Alabama law, concluded that each claim was properly dismissed because none of them could be resolved without reference to or interpretation of the collective bargaining agreement. Remand was also appropriately denied because the claims were preempted. 
[ Author’s Note : Some of the facts for the summary were drawn from the lower court decision].
The Eleventh Circuit Weekly Update was prepared by Reemployment Assistance Appeals Commission staff: case summaries by Chairman Frank E. Brown, and Appellate Counsel Cristina A. Velez and Katie E. Sabo; editing by Deputy General Counsel and Chief Appellate Attorney Amanda L. Neff; research and layout by Research Attorney Lesley Blanton.