REASON PREVAILS…

Speaking of racketeering . . . this ain’t it. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Guam, and Northern Mariana Islands) affirmed summary judgment in a RICO case brought by employees who claimed that their employer misrepresented the law regarding overtime pay and used the U.S. Mail to do it (by mailing paychecks and W-2 forms). “We decline to expand RICO’s reach to transform the federal courts into a general venue for ordinary state wage disputes.”

“Man-boy love” held not legally protected activity. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit (Connecticut, New York, and Vermont) affirmed summary judgment to the New York City School Board in a case brought by an ex-high school teacher, now thankfully unemployed. The teacher, an admitted pedophile, alleged that the First Amendment protected his activities related to the North American Man/Boy Love Association (“NAMBLA”).

No NAMBLA, and no neo-Nazis, neither. A federal district court in New Jersey found that a convenience store did not violate the First Amendment by terminating a store manager for violating the company’s core values. The manager, as a sideline, ran a website that sold “neo-Nazi skinhead music,” swastika flags, and the like.

“If I were younger, I bet you’d let me work for no pay.” A federal court in the Northern District of Illinois dismissed an age discrimination lawsuit filed by a junior college administrator who was terminated. The evidence showed that the college had lost funding for her position.

“Warm fuzzies” held not same-sex harassment. Annoying, cloying behavior does not equal harassing behavior, said the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit (Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas), affirming summary judgment for the defendant employer. The relatively cold-and-prickly plaintiff, a loan assistant, alleged that her warm-fuzzy supervisor was “overly effusive” and greeted her employees with hugs and kisses, and told them “I love you,” or “You’re the greatest.”

AND REASON FLAILS… 

Good management? Fuhgeddaboudit! Fox News reports that some executives are holding up fictional mob boss Tony Soprano as a role model for their subordinates to emulate. Soprano is admired for his “direct” approach, “plain” language (is that the kind of language that is?), and use of the “sit-down” to resolve disputes. One can only hope that “murder,” “theft,” and “beating up one’s girlfriends” are still frowned upon.

Bribe doesn’t pay. The employer-defendants in a class action for unpaid overtime paid a $10,000 bonus to each employee who opted out of the class, threw them a party, and treated them to a steak dinner after the case settled. This resulted in a second class action alleging that the defendants discriminated and retaliated against the employees who had joined in the class in the first lawsuit. The court denied the defendants’ motion to dismiss the second class action.

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