Articles Posted in Labor & Employment Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the Commission of Industrial Relations’ (CIR) denial of Appellant’s petition requesting decertification of the certified collective bargaining agent for the protective service bargaining unit (PSBU) and certification of itself as PSBU’s new collective bargaining agent, holding that the CIR did not err in dismissing the petition as untimely filed. On appeal, Appellant, Nebraska Protective Services Unit, Inc., doing business as Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #88, argued that the CIR erred in finding that it did not timely file its petition under CIR rule 9(II)(C)(1), not ordering an election to be held, and dismissing its petition. The Supreme Court disagreed, holding that because Appellant did not file its petition in the period required under rule 9(II)(C)(1), its petition was time barred, and therefore, the CIR did not err in denying Appellant’s request for an election and dismissing the complaint. View "Nebraska Protective Services Unit, Inc. v. State" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the district court affirming a school board’s cancellation of the contract of a certificated employee after holding a formal hearing, thus rejecting the employee’s arguments regarding notice and due process in addition to his challenges to the merits of the cancellation. Specifically, the Court held (1) the school board’s notice regarding a hearing on whether to cancel the employee’s employment contract was proper; (2) the school board’s use of an attorney to preside over the employee’s hearing was not improper; (3) the school board was impartial; (4) the admission of evidence related to the employee’s conduct outside the contract period was admissible; and (5) there was sufficient evidence to support the cancellation of the employee’s contract. View "Robinson v. Morrill County School District #63" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the Nebraska Workers’ Compensation Court sustaining Appellant’s motion for summary judgment insofar as it awarded her benefits for two scheduled injuries but denied her claim that she was permanently and totally disabled. The Court held (1) there was no merit to Appellant’s first assignment of error that Appellant’s employer admitted, through its responses to Appellant’s requests for admission, that Appellant was permanently and totally disabled; but (2) the trial court erred in weighing the evidence in the summary judgment matter and concluding that Appellant was not permanently and totally disabled. View "Wynne v. Menard, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the district court concluding that the Nebraska Department of Labor’s action intercepting Appellee’s tax refund from the state to partially pay a judgment determining that Appellee had been overpaid for unemployment benefits was barred by the relevant statute of limitations. An appeal tribunal, citing Neb. Rev. Stat. 25-218, concluded that the Department’s action was barred by a four-year statute of limitations. The district court affirmed. The Supreme Court held that there was no time limitation barring the Department’s interception of Appellee’s state income tax refund to offset his unemployment benefit overpayment under Neb. Rev. Stat. 48-665(1)(c) and therefore reversed. View "McCoy v. Albin" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the Workers’ Compensation Court awarding an injured employee unspecified vocational rehabilitation. A vocational rehabilitation counselor recommended formal training. A vocational rehabilitation specialist, however, “denied” the proposed plan, concluding that formal training was not reasonable or necessary. The compensation court dismissed Employer’s petition to eliminate the formal training requirement and ordered that Employee was entitled to participate in the proposed vocational rehabilitation plan. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the findings of the compensation court were supported by competent evidence, and the plan would comport with the statutory goal to return the injured employee to “suitable employment.” View "Anderson v. EMCOR Group, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the holding of the Court of Appeals reversing the decision of the Nebraska Workers’ Compensation Court finding that Employee’s work-related injury was fully resolved within three days of the work accident and that Employee’s need for additional medical treatment was the result of a non-work-related injury. The Supreme Court held (1) there was sufficient competent evidence to support the Workers’ Compensation Court’s determination that Employee’s work-related injury was fully resolved prior to his subsequent fall; and (2) the Workers’ Compensation Court was not clearly wrong in finding that Employee did not meet his burden of proving that his subsequent injury was the result of his workplace accident. View "Hintz v. Farmers Cooperative Ass’n" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment in favor of Plaintiff, a former officer at the Tecumseh State Correctional Institution, and against Scott Busboom, an officer at the facility, holding that Busboom was entitled to qualified immunity on Defendant’s claim that he was denied due process when he was placed on unpaid investigatory suspension without any opportunity to be heard. The district court determined that Busboom was not entitled to qualified immunity in his individual capacity because Busboom had signed the letter suspending Plaintiff while acting under color of state law and that “any reasonable officer” in his position would have understood that Plaintiff was entitled to a hearing before being deprived of a protected property interest. In reversing, the Supreme Court held (1) when Plaintiff was suspended without pay, the law did not clearly establish that a public employer must first provide notice and an opportunity to respond to allegations of misconduct to an employee with a protected property interest in continued employment, and therefore, Busboom was entitled to qualified immunity; and (2) Plaintiff failed to show that he was deprived of due process because he did not receive a posttermination hearing. View "White v. Busboom" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the orders of the district court sustaining Defendants’ motion for summary judgment and overruling Plaintiff’s motion to alter or amend the judgment in this action brought by Plaintiff against the Board of Regents of the University of Nebraska and Kevin Ruser. In her complaint, Plaintiff asserted claims of discriminatory wage and employment practices based on her sex, as well as claims of employment retaliation arising from occurrences while she was a supervising attorney for the civil clinic law program at the University of Nebraska College of Law. The district court concluded that Plaintiff failed to establish a prima facie case of wage discrimination, failure to promote because of sex, retaliation, and retaliation in violation of public policy. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court did not err when it sustained Defendants’ motion for summary judgment with respect to Plaintiff’s claims and did not abuse its discretion when it overruled Plaintiff’s subsequent motion to alter or amend the judgment. View "Knapp v. Ruser" on Justia Law

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Norman Kroemer, an employee of Ribbon Weld, LLC sustained an eye injury in connection with the use of Omaha Track Equipment, LLC’s (OTE) tools. Kroemer and Ribbon Weld entered into a compromise lump-sum settlement for $80,000. After payment of the lump sum, Ribbon Weld’s subrogation interest totaled just over $200,000. Kroemer then sued OTE and Ribbon Weld. Kroemer and OTE engaged in mediation to settle the third-party claim and ultimately negotiated a compromise settlement of claims in the amount of $150,000. The district court determined that the settlement was reasonable and allocated $0 to Ribbon Weld. The Supreme Court affirmed in part and in part reversed and remanded, holding (1) the district court’s approval of the settlement was not an abuse of discretion under the circumstances; but (2) the district court did abuse its discretion in not allocating any of the settlement proceeds to Ribbon Weld. View "Kroemer v. Omaha Track Equipment, LLC" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court ruled that the Nebraska Workers’ Compensation Court did not err in determining that Bennett Construction, a sole proprietorship owned and operated by Mark Bennett, was neither Robert Kohout’s direct employer nor his statutory employer under the facts of this case. Kohout was injured as a result of falling from the roof of a barn on the property of Brian Shook and sought workers’ compensation benefits from Bennett Construction. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) Nick Bennett, Mark’s son, lacked apparent authority to enter into a contract with Shook on behalf of Bennett Construction; and (2) Nick did not enter into a joint venture with Mark or Bennett Construction concerning the Shook job. View "Kohout v. Bennett Construction" on Justia Law