January 26, 2009
The Supreme Court ruled unanimously Monday that workers who cooperate with internal investigations of retaliation by their employers are sheltered by federal laws prohibiting job discrimination. In the opinion, the justices held that a longtime school system employee in Tennessee can pursue a civil rights lawsuit over her firing.
The court voted to reverse the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling that the anti-retaliation provision of Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act does not apply to employees who merely cooperate with an internal probe rather than complain on their own or take part in a formal investigation.
“The question here is whether this protection extends to an employee who speaks out about discrimination not on her own initiative, but in answering questions during an employer’s internal investigation. We hold that it does,” Justice David Souter said for the court.
Read Article: Mercury News
The family of a Belle Vernon man who died last year in a fire at a Seven Springs Mountain Resort condominium filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the condo association, chimney cleaning company, chimney manufacturer and others Thursday.
The estate of Jonathan Murt, 22, filed the lawsuit in Allegheny County court. The suit claims the condo’s owner, Burt Raitano of Charleroi, condo guest Anthony Valkanas of Pittsburgh, Fitzgerald Chimney Cleaning and a defunct chimney company were negligent, leading to Murt’s death.
Murt and his girlfriend, Sasha Zuro, 26, both died Jan. 27 of smoke inhalation.
Read Article: Daily American
A dozen years of litigation that earned lawyers more than $25 million ended for consumers last week in a short-lived cosmetics trick or treat at malls in Houston and around the country. The folks who picked up some free makeup or perfume in Houston didn’t seem to know or care about the lawsuit filed on their behalf, alleging that cosmetics manufacturers and sellers had fixed prices and discouraged discounting.
So what was the point?
Cynics would say it was just to make lawyers rich. Supporters of class-action lawsuits say it’s one of the few checks on corporate greed left in our legal system. For the women, and a few men, who waited 10 to 30 minutes in lines at Houston department stores on Tuesday, it was just kind of fun. Tuesday was the first and, in many cases, the last day of the giveaway that ran far short of its maximum of seven days because all the products were quickly gobbled up.
Few of the people interviewed could summon outrage or even interest in the underlying litigation that led to their being handed something like Lancome Fatale black mascara or a pretty pink box containing 6.7 ounces of Romance shower gel.
Read Article: Houston Chronicle
When the University of Kentucky published new research in 2008 suggesting that exposure to a common industrial solvent might increase the risk for Parkinson’s disease, the moment was a source of satisfaction to Ed Abney, a 53-year-old former tool-and-die worker.
Mr. Abney, now sidelined by Parkinson’s, had spent more than two decades up to his elbows in a drum of the solvent, trichloroethylene, while he cleaned metal piping at a now-shuttered Dresser Industries plant here.
The university study had focused on him and his factory co-workers who worked near the same 55-gallon drum of the vaguely sweet-smelling chemical. It found that 27 workers had either the anxiety, tremors, rigidity or other symptoms associated with Parkinson’s, or had motor skills that were significantly impaired, compared with a healthy peer group. The study, Mr. Abney thought, was the scientific evidence he needed to claim worker’s compensation benefits.
Read Article: New York Times
A Washington state agency is paying about $800,000 to settle a sexual harassment claim by three women.
The case was brought by three women in the Tacoma office of the Department of Labor and Industries. They claim they were repeatedly harassed and intimidated by a co-worker, Phillip Scott, and Carter Mitchell, a supervisor. They also say one woman was racially harassed and that a manager, Gail Hughes, refused to deal with the problems.
Two plaintiffs, Linda Bang and Janis Fleming, still work in the office. A lawyer for the three, Darrell Cochran, says the third, Mercy Fernandez-Figueroa, left the job because of the stress of the harassment and the lawsuit. They were seeking $1.1 million.
Read Article: Seattle Post-Intelligencer
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