California’s intermediate appellate state court recently ruled in Terris v. County of Santa Barbara that a county employee failed to demonstrate that alleged vulgar, derogatory remarks about homosexuals made by her former employer’s CEO were connected to her termination of employment. As a result, the court upheld summary judgment in favor of the employer and against the former employee in her wrongful termination action.
The National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) recently overturned a 2004 decision that established a standard determining whether workplace rules, including those contained within employee handbooks, infringed upon workers’ rights under the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”).
A pension plan participant’s challenge to his benefit amount was recently struck down by the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. The court acknowledged that retirement plans are complex documents comprised of hundreds of pages, appendices, and “peculiarities.” The issue on appeal before the court was examining whether the terms of the plan were merely complex or ambiguous.
On December 14, 2016, the Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”), which operates under the United States Department of Justice, published a Notice of a Final Rule regarding marijuana. According to the Notice, the DEA “is creating a new Administration Controlled Substances Code Number for ‘Marijuana Extract.’” The Final Rule is effective January 13, 2017. The Notice states that the new Rule came about as a result of various international treaties related to the international transportation of marijuana and marijuana extracts. As of now, the United States tracks only marijuana, but its international counterparts track marijuana and marijuana extracts separately. The new Rule is set to bridge the gap between U.S. policy and international policy.
Despite being listed as a Schedule 1 controlled substance under the federal Controlled Substances Act (“CSA”), marijuana has been legalized or de-criminalized in twenty-five states and the District of Columbia. In five states, such as Colorado, marijuana is legal for recreational purposes – adults are permitted to possess marijuana for essentially any and all personal purposes. In other states, marijuana use is limited to medical purposes – children and adults may ingest some forms of marijuana for enumerated medical purposes so long as they maintain valid prescriptions. The conflict between federal law and state law has created a tricky landscape for employers to navigate.
Yelp’s recent advertising campaign tells would-be users in search of businesses and services, “We know just the place.” Yelp provides an online forum where users can utilize star-ratings and comments to share their experiences with fellow consumers. Recently, the site has evolved into a venue for consumers to mercilessly complain about their subjectively mediocre experiences. The complaints can sometimes escalate to the point where fellow consumers won’t darken a business’s doorstep based upon its Yelp reviews.
The Third Circuit Court of Appeals recently held that actions taken by the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”), including its Regional Directors, during a time when it did not maintain a constitutionally valid quorum are nevertheless binding and have full legal force. In Advanced Disposal Servs. E., Inc. v. NLRB, the NLRB found that an employer violated sections 8(a)(1) and 8(a)(5) of the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”) when it refused to collectively bargain with a newly-certified bargaining unit. The NLRB issued an order to enforce the election, and the employer appealed.