Monday Morning Minute
In This Issue
2019 Supreme Court's Employment Law Docket: A Review of Some Employment Cases Before Our Highest Court
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                  October 14 , 2019


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My partner, Lisa Baiocchi (a preeminent lawyer's lawyer), recently discussed a trio of cases on the Supreme Court's 2019 docket dealing with the issue of Title VII protections against workplace discrimination facing gay, lesbian, and transgender discrimination in the workplace and the takeaways for employers.  This Fall, the Supreme Court, with two new Trump confirmations, is also dealing with several important issues of general importance to employers and business enterprises which have been ignored by the drive-by media, but have the attention of court watchers.
Before the Court is the issue of whether Section 1981 of the Civil Rights Act requires the plaintiff to show race bias was a deciding factor in an adverse action case alleging unlawful discrimination in the making and enforcing of contracts.   In Comcast v. Nat. Assoc. of African American-Owned Media, Comedian Byron Allen's production company sued Comcast for $20 billion alleging it refused to carry his cable channel because of his race.  The case was dismissed in federal court, but the 9th Circuit revived the lawsuit concluding that plaintiff only had to show that race was a factor, not that it was the motivating or "but for" to prove discrimination.   The Supreme Court's decision will decide whether this type of contractual discrimination lawsuit (which can be brought by an enterprise) must be proven by a tougher standard. 
In Babb v. Wilkie, the Court will consider the standard of proof for federal government workers who bring claims under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, as opposed to private sector employees.  The federal government argued that a strict "but-for" standard should apply to federal workers' claims, meaning that the employee must show the adverse employment action would not have been taken "but for" the employer's bias. The employee in the case argued that a more lenient standard should apply that considers whether age bias was a motivating factor for the negative employment decision.    
In Intel Corp. Investment Policy Comm. v. Sulyma, a former employee filed a lawsuit against the Intel's retirement plan committee for allegedly breaching fiduciary duties by making poor investments.   The committee defended based upon ERISA's three-year statute of limitations to file such claims.  Intel argued that the lawsuit is barred because the employee received all the relevant plan investment information more than three years before he filed the complaint. But the employee argued that his claim is timely because he did not discover the problem until he read the investment information, filing the lawsuit.  A result against Intel will result in more claims against employer investment fiduciaries.

Call Spognardi Baiocchi LLP if we can be of assistance.  
SPOGNARDI BAIOCCHI LLP is  a law firm dedicated to partnering with companies of all sizes to address the full spectrum of legal concerns for its business.  Our commitment is to find common sense solutions that fit each clients' unique situation to labor, employment, human resources and general business needs. 

With over 50 combined years of experience among its 2 founding partners in these areas, we can assist businesses in developing custom solutions to today's tough issues.  And as litigators, who combined have over thousands of trials  "under their belts" before state and federal courts as well as administrative agencies (such as the NLRB) you will find no better advocate and partner. 
For more information on the firm, please go to our website at or Lisa at
DISCLAIMER: All content in this Monday Morning Minute is intended for general information only, and should not be construed as legal advice applicable to your particular situation.  No attorney-client relationship is created. Before taking any action based on the information contained herein, you should consider your personal situation and seek professional advice.