Tag Archives labor

A jury in Pennsylvania federal court has awarded $200,000 to a former Mondelez employee who alleged the company discriminated against her because of her age and terminated her after she complained of the alleged discrimination. Konsavage v. Mondelez Global LLC, No. 15-1155 (M.D. Pa., verdict issued March 19, 2018). The plaintiff, who worked for Nabisco and its successor Mondelez for 31 years, reportedly said that beginning in 2013 a new supervisor told her that she should reduce her workload to give younger employees a chance, that she lacked agility and that she had no potential at her age. The following year, she was allegedly demoted and forced to take a $9,000 pay cut before being fired a few months later. The jury awarded her emotional distress damages pursuant to the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act.

A French bakery owner who opened his storefront seven days a week to accommodate tourist crowds has reportedly been fined €3,000 for violating a regional law mandating that bakeries close at least one day each week. Cédric Vaivre, owner of Boulangerie du Lac, operates the only bakery in his Aube town; during previous summers, he received an exemption to Aube’s prefectural decree allowing him to stay open all week but did not obtain similar permission in 2017. Christian Branle, mayor of Vaivre's town, reportedly told local newspaper L’Est éclair, “In a tourist area, it seems essential that we can have a business open every day during the summer. There is nothing worse than closed shops when there are tourists.” An Aube official reportedly told Vaivre his only solution is to open a second bakery.

An Illinois court has refused to dismiss Gold Medal Products Inc.'s lawsuit alleging that Bell Flavors and Fragrances Inc., with the help of a former Gold Medal employee, misappropriated trade secrets. Gold Medal Prods. Inc. v. Bell Flavors & Fragrances Inc., No. 17-4084 (N.D. Ill., entered March 2, 2018). Gold Medal alleged that its recipe and flavor profile for caramel Glaze Pop, a popcorn coating, are trade secrets, which the defendants allegedly misappropriated when the former employee helped Bell Flavors create a similar product for one of Gold Medal’s competitors. Denying Bell’s motion to dismiss, the court declined to establish whether Gold Medal could prove it owned trade secrets because the record was insufficient to support an analysis. The court rejected Bell’s argument that the recipe and flavor profile are not trade secrets because the ingredients are publicly listed and not patented by Gold Medal. Further, differences in the manufacturing…

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has filed a lawsuit alleging Chicago Meat Authority Inc. discriminated against African-Americans, resulting in multiple violations of U.S. civil rights statutes. U.S. Equal Opportunity Emp’t Comm’n v. Chicago Meat Authority, Inc., No. 18-1357 (N.D. Ill., filed February 22, 2018). EEOC alleges that the processor (i) failed to recruit or hire African-Americans because of their race; (ii) engaged in hiring practices that caused a disparate impact on the basis of race; (iii) fired an employee based on his race and in retaliation for engaging in a protected activity; (iv) subjected African-Americans to a hostile work environment that included frequent racial epithets and slurs as well as other offensive comments based on race; and (v) failed to take action to remedy the alleged harassment. EEOC seeks injunctive relief, an order that the defendant provide equal employment opportunities regardless of race and protected activity, back pay, front…

Amazon has opened Amazon Go, a grocery store using artificial intelligence (AI), prompting speculation about its potential effects on the labor market, worries about consumer privacy and skepticism about how well it will work. Shoppers scan a smartphone app at a turnstile as they enter, then items are added to a virtual shopping cart as shoppers pull them off the shelf. If the shopper puts the item back on a shelf, the item is deleted from the cart. When shoppers leave the store, their credit cards are charged for the total. The store reportedly uses machine learning algorithms and computer-vision image processing along with weight sensors, camera-friendly bar codes and infrared sensors to track products as they leave shelves and the store. The store's technology hit speed bumps before its unveiling. Amazon Go’s opening was delayed by a year as the company fine-tuned and tested the technology; among early bugs was…

A former employee has filed a discrimination lawsuit alleging Five Guys Operations paid female employees less than similarly situated male employees, echoing a similar lawsuit she filed in 2016. Finefrock v. Five Guys Operations, LLC, No. 17-2214 (M.D. Pa., filed December 1, 2017). The plaintiff asserts that after she and two other female general managers confronted executives about the alleged pay disparity, she was placed on a performance improvement plan and later fired. Alleging violations of Title VII and the Equal Pay Act provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act, the plaintiffs seek class certification, damages, back and front pay and attorney’s fees.

The Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has announced a proposal to allow some employers to use tip sharing among tipped and non-tipped workers, rescinding portions of the tip regulations in the Fair Labor Standards Act. The proposal would apply only to employers who pay the full minimum wage to employees and do not take a tip credit. DOL will accept public comment on the proposed changes until January 4, 2018.

The National Restaurant Association (NRA) has filed a lawsuit seeking to invalidate a New York City law requiring fast-food restaurants to remit voluntary deductions from employees' wages to nonprofit groups, including “ideological and political organizations with whom those employers may and do disagree.” Rest. Law Ctr. v. City of New York, No. 17-9128 (S.D.N.Y., filed November 21, 2017). NRA asserts that the city’s “Deduction Bill,” which took effect November 26, 2017, violates the free speech rights of restaurant owners by compelling them to subsidize nonprofits that advocate for labor-related issues such as higher minimum wages. The law resulted from lobbying by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), the complaint argues, and is ultimately intended to force restaurants to allow unionization of fast-food employees. The Deduction Bill bars labor organizations from seeking remittances, but NRA asserts that “Fast Food Justice,” a group working toward registration as a qualifying nonprofit, shares a mailing…

A former employee of Shake Shack Inc. has alleged he was fired after complaining about health and safety violations at one of the company’s New York City locations. Via v. Shake Shack Inc., No. 17-7049 (S.D.N.Y., filed September 14, 2017). The plaintiff alleges that managers of one location fired him after he complained that, among other allegations, they (i) failed to train employees about food allergies; (ii) allowed visibly sick workers to prepare food; and (iii) failed to properly clean the kitchen and equipment. Recent New York City health inspections cited the location for the presence of food/refuse/sewage-associated flies found in food and non-food areas, contaminated and cross-contaminated food and food contact surfaces that had not been sanitized. Claiming retaliation in violation of state laws, the plaintiff seeks $1 million in damages.

The United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has published a guide encouraging agricultural companies to enact child-­labor policies to combat abuse in the industry. The guide offers "practical steps to ensure that programmes contribute to safe employment and training opportunities for youth and that activities intended to support vulnerable families do not have the unintended consequence of encouraging child labour," according to a June 12, 2017, press release. "The agriculture sector holds great potential before, during and after crises, to save lives and contribute to livelihoods, support rural households, provide decent employment and alternatives to child labour, including its worst forms," FAO Assistant Director-General Kostas Stamoulis was quoted as saying.   Issue 638

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