As they are looking ahead to 2020, employers should take note of three recent decisions issued by the National Labor Relations Board.
On July 15, 2019, Governor Gina Raimondo signed the Rhode Island Noncompetition Agreement Act into law. Beginning on January 15, 2020, the statute will place new limits on the enforceability of noncompete agreements in the Ocean State.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 1st Circuit (whose rulings apply to all Rhode Island employers) recently ruled an employee couldn’t establish she could still perform her job when she had previously sworn under oath—when applying for Social Security disability income (SSDI) benefits—she was totally disabled.
In Bonilla-Ramirez v. MVM, Inc., the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 1st Circuit recently ruled that an employer didn’t discriminate against an employee based on gender or illegally retaliate against her when it terminated her for violating its standards of conduct. The 1st Circuit focused on whether the employer had a legitimate reason for terminating the employee and on the timing of the employee’s complaints.
In June 2018, Chief Judge William E. Smith of the U.S. District Court for the District of Rhode Island dismissed an employee’s disability discrimination complaint for failing to adequately allege that she had a disability. Less than two months later, Judge John J. McConnell (of the same court) denied an employer’s motion to dismiss that made the same argument.
Dr. L. C. is a faculty member at the University of New England (UNE). In a lawsuit brought in federal court, she alleged that her transfer to a new department reduced her teaching and career opportunities in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Maine Human Rights Act (MHRA) even though she consented to the transfer.