Monday, December 27, 2010

Top 10 Labor & Employment Law Stories of 2010: Numbers 10 and 9

top-ten-gold We start this year’s review not only by looking back at the past year, but also by looking forward to two stories that will dominate the headlines next year.

10. The Year of the Class Action. In May, a federal jury awarded a class of 5,600 Novartis female sales reps and entry-level managers $250 million to remedy systemic discrimination against women of child-bearing age. That huge verdict notwithstanding, what made 2010 the year of the class action was the Supreme Court’s agreement to hear the appeal of the multi-billion dollar Dukes sex discrimination lawsuit against Wal-Mart.

9. The Supreme Court’s Employment Law Docket. In the last quarter of 2010, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in three employment cases: Kasten v. St. Gobain (which will decide whether a purely oral complaint triggers the FLSA’s anti-retaliation provision), Staub v. Proctor Hosp. (which will decide the viability of the Cat’s Paw in discrimination cases), and Thompson v. N. Am. Stainless (which will decided whether Title VII prohibits an employer from retaliating by inflicting reprisals on a third party closely associated with the employee who engaged in such protected activity but who engaged in no protected activity of his or her own).

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