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Baker Sterchi attorneys have extensive experience representing clients in all aspects of employment and labor law. We have successfully defended numerous discrimination and other employment litigation matters and resolved many through successful motions for summary judgment.  We represent our clients in court, before administrative agencies such as the EEOC and NLRB, and in arbitration. In addition to representing Fortune 100 companies, mid-sized and small businesses, we also represent individuals, public and government employers throughout the United States.

We know how to try cases, but we also know how to advise our clients on how best to avoid litigation through sound business practices. Our clients come from a number of business industries, including aerospace, automotive, energy services, consumer products, construction, food and beverage, healthcare, human resources, information technology, retail, and telecommunications.

The types of matters we have handled include: 

  • Employment discrimination claims
  • Wage and hour disputes
  • Workplace harassment claims
  • Retaliation claims
  • Whistle-blower litigation and other wrongful discharge claims
  • Disputes over non-compete agreements, and confidentiality/ trade secrets agreements
  • Disability, family and medical leave claims
  • Defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, fraud, tortious interference, invasion of privacy and negligent hiring and/or supervision claims
  • Representing employers in unfair labor practice cases, representation cases, and other NLRB matters
  • Representing employers in arbitrations
  • Representing employers before the EEOC and state fair employment practices agencies
  • ERISA litigation
  • Service letter issues
  • Separation Agreements
  • HIPAA and other workplace privacy issues

In addition, we know how to navigate the complex maze of state and federal statutes and regulations involving employment matters. Our attorneys have advised employers in crafting personnel policies, including the drafting of employee handbooks and on creating policies related to hiring and termination of employees. We also provide advice and on-site seminars about conducting employee investigations, handling terminations and minimizing the risks of litigation.

We are leaders in ALFA International’s Employment and Labor practice group. In addition, attorneys in our practice group have lectured on employment law matters before judicial and bar groups, and have published articles in professional journals.

For more information about our employment and labor practice contact Tom Rice in Kansas City,  Paul Venker in St. Louis, or Laura Beasley in Belleville.

News & Events

Baker Sterchi Welcomes Liam Brannon in St. Louis

04.05.22 | Liam Brannon joins Baker Sterchi as an associate attorney in the firm's St. Louis office. Brannon's practice is focused on representing corporations, insurance carriers, and healthcare companies of all sizes in a variety of commercial, employment, and tort related matters.

Nicholas Ruble Quoted by Built In Regarding Non-Compete Agreements

03.29.22 | Baker Sterchi attorney Nicholas Ruble is quoted in a recent online article published by "Built In" regarding factors to be considered by individuals when presented with a non-compete agreement.

Baker Sterchi Attorney Nicholas Ruble Appointed Co-Vice Chair of KCMBA Labor & Employment Law Committee

01.10.22 | Baker Sterchi attorney Nicholas Ruble was appointed to serve as 2022 co-vice chair of the Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association (KCMBA) Labor & Employment Law Committee.

Baker Sterchi Welcomes Three New Associates

10.27.21 | Baker Sterchi Cowden & Rice is pleased to welcome three new associates in Kansas City and St. Louis.

DRI Publishes Brandy Simpson and Jessica Cozart Article on Employer Return-to-Work and Vaccine Mandates

10.15.21 | Brandy Simpson and Jessica Cozart's article "Employer Return-to-Work and Vaccine Mandates: Just Because You Can Doesn't Mean You Should" is featured in the October 2021 edition of Defense Research Institute's Women in the Law Committee newsletter.

Baker Sterchi Attorneys Holliday and Odom to Continue Leadership Roles on IDC Committees

07.29.21 | Baker Sterchi attorneys Greg Odom and Jessica Holliday, both located in Belleville, Illinois, will continue to serve in leadership roles on Illinois Defense Counsel (IDC) committees.

Baker Sterchi Member David Eisenberg Quoted by St. Louis Record About Missouri Supreme Court's Invalidation of a Statute Related to Restrictions on Union Groups

07.08.21 | Baker Sterchi Member David Eisenberg is quoted in a recent St. Louis Record article "Missouri Supreme Court invalidates HB 1413 over unequal treatment of union groups" regarding the Missouri Supreme Court's invalidation of a statute that imposed many new restrictions on most unions representing public sector employees, but not on unions that represent mainly "public safety" employees.

Baker Sterchi Welcomes Nicholas Ruble in Kansas City

05.06.21 | Nicholas Ruble joins Baker Sterchi's Kansas City office as an associate. He represents companies of all sizes and industries in employment and labor, personal injury, creditor's rights, and commercial disputes.

Douglas Hill Joins Baker Sterchi Cowden & Rice in Kansas City

10.04.18 | Baker Sterchi Cowden & Rice is pleased to welcome Douglas Hill as an attorney with the firm's Kansas City office. Hill is an experienced litigator, managing a diverse civil defense practice that includes professional negligence, product liability, industrial and job site injuries, and general business litigation. He has extensive experience representing ...

Baker Sterchi Cowden & Rice Promotes John Patterson to Member

01.11.18 | Baker Sterchi Cowden & Rice is pleased to announce the promotion of John Patterson to Member effective January 1, 2018. Patterson practices in the areas of product liability, employment, construction/fidelity and surety, financial services litigation, premises liability...

Law360 Article Includes Eisenberg Commentary on DOL's Final Overtime Exemption Rule

05.20.16 | avid Eisenberg was quoted in a May 18, 2016, Law360 article "Attorneys React To DOL's Final Overtime Exemption Rule" regarding the significance of the U.S. Labor Department's issuance of the final version of the overtime exemption rule raising the minimum salary threshold to qualify for the Fair Labor Standards Act's white collar exemption. Eisenberg commented...

Eisenberg Comment Included in Law360 Article on Tyson Class Action Ruling

03.29.16 | David Eisenberg was quoted in a recent Law360 article regarding the significance of the U.S. Supreme Court's Mach 22, 2016 ruling in Tyson Foods Inc. v. Bouaphekeo, where the High Court held that averages and other statistical analyses could be used to show similarities between disparate class members. Eisenberg commented...

Thomas Rice Serves as Co-Chair of EPL/PL Program Hosted by ALFA International

03.18.16 | Thomas Rice is serving as co-chair of the upcoming program "Enlightening The EPL/PL World" jointly hosted by ALFA International's Insurance Law, Labor & Employment, and Professional Liability Practice Groups. A Steering Committee Member of the Insurance Law, Professional Liability and Labor & Employment Practice Groups, Mr. Rice is serving as co-chair on behalf of the Insurance Practice Group...

Thomas Rice Serves as Moderator For Cyber Liability and Data Breach Panel

03.18.16 | Thomas Rice will moderate a panel on cyber liability and data breaches in the workforce and related legal and ethical considerations for in-house counsel, corporate risk management and law firms. Panel members feature representatives from three different insurance companies with cyber liability expertise plus an attorney from ALFA International's Los Angeles, California member firm...

Thomas Rice Serving as Course Book Editor for Upcoming ALFA International Program

03.18.16 | Thomas Rice is serving as course book editor for the insurance track of the upcoming program "Enlightening the EPL/PL World" jointly hosted by ALFA International's Insurance Law, Labor & Employment, and Professional Liability Practice Groups.

Eisenberg Comment Included in Law360 Article on High Court ERISA Ruling

05.20.15 | David Eisenberg was quoted in a recent Law360 article regarding the significance of the U.S. Supreme Court's May 18, 2015 ruling in Tibble v. Edison International, where the High Court vacated a Ninth Circuit ruling that plaintiffs' claims of alleged imprudent 401(k) plan investments were time-barred...

Law 360 Article Includes Eisenberg Comments on High Court's Pregnancy Bias Ruling

03.26.15 | David Eisenberg's commentary on the significance of the U.S. Supreme Court's March 25, 2015 ruling in Young v. United Parcel Services Inc. was included in a Law 360 article entitled Attorneys React to High Court Pregnancy Bias Ruling.

Eisenberg Comments on High Court Ruling on Retaliation Suits

06.26.13 | David Eisenberg's commentary on the significance of the U.S. Supreme Court's June 24 ruling in University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center v. Nassar was included in a Law 360 article (Lawyers React to High Court Ruling on Retaliation Suit) regarding the significance of the ruling, which requires workers bringing Title VII retaliation claims to show their employer would not have taken action against them had they not filed a complaint. . .

Eisenberg to Serve as Course Book Editor for Upcoming ALFA EPLI Seminar

04.27.12 | BSCR attorney David Eisenberg is serving as the Course Book Editor for the 2012 ALFA International EPLI Seminar to be held in New York in June. The EPLI seminar is jointly sponsored by the Insurance, Labor & Employment and Professional Liability Practice Groups. . .

Eisenberg to Participate on ALFA International Client Seminar Panel

09.23.11 | At the 2012 ALFA International Client Seminar, David Eisenberg will appear on a panel that will discuss "Class Actions after Wal-Mart v. Dukes." The seminar, hosted by the Labor & Employment Practice Group, is scheduled for March 8-11, 2012 at the Westin Kierland Resort & Spa in Scottsdale, AZ.

Eisenberg to Speak on Employment Discrimination Law

05.04.11 | On May 11, David Eisenberg will be one of four attorneys speaking at a full-day seminar on Employment Discrimination Law in Overland Park, Kansas. David's portion of the seminar will cover best practices for avoiding discrimination and retaliation claims. . .

Rice and Eisenberg Serve as Regional Editors for State Employment Law Compendium

05.04.11 | Tom Rice and David Eisenberg are currently serving as a Regional Editors for the next edition of the ALFA State Employment Compendium. The Compendium will cover laws and significant developments on topics selected by the ALFA Labor & Employment practice group and will be published in advance of the 2012 ALFA International Client Seminar, at which the Labor & Employment group will be featured presenters. . .

Rice Speaks at ALFA Labor & Employment Seminar

12.01.10 | At the November 2010 ALFA Labor & Employment meeting in Dana Point, CA, Thomas Rice spoke on the topic of "Staying Ahead Of The Game: How Employers Can Cope With Changing Laws And Increased Regulatory Scrutiny".


Baker Sterchi Secures Denial of Class Certification Bid, Partial Summary Judgment

On May 5, 2022, Baker Sterchi obtained two important rulings in favor of its client, a transportation logistics company, in the United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri.

Baker Sterchi Cowden & Rice Obtains Summary Judgment For Employer on Age Discrimination Claim

Baker Sterchi Cowden & Rice attorneys obtained summary judgment for an employer on a claim of age discrimination under the Missouri Human Rights Act, which was removed from Jackson County, Missouri circuit court to...

Dismissal with Prejudice obtained for Municipality and Police Officers

Baker Sterchi has obtained a dismissal with prejudice for a municipality and two of its police officers in a suit alleging a violation of 42 USC 1983 (Retaliation for Exercise of First Amendment rights related to union activity); violation of 42 USC 1985 (Conspiracy to Retaliate); Tortious Interference with a Business Expectancy; Conspiracy to Tortiously Interfere with Business Expectancy; Libel; and Conspiracy to Commit Libel. . .

Blog Posts

Supreme Court Declines to Provide Clarity on Responding to Sexual Harassment in Trucking Industry

04.27.22 | The Supreme Court recently declined review of a case that could have provided greater certainty for trucking companies' duties in responding to sexual harassment. However, the case provides guidance on best practices for employers in order to avoid liability.

Supreme Court Declines to Provide Clarity on Responding to Sexual Harassment in Trucking Industry

04.27.22 | The Supreme Court recently declined review of a case that could have provided greater certainty for trucking companies' duties in responding to sexual harassment. However, the case provides guidance on best practices for employers in order to avoid liability.

No Surprise: the Missouri Supreme Court Upholds the Constitutionality of the Statutory Punitive Damages Cap, as Applied to Claims for Breach of the Duty of Loyalty and Tortious Interference

04.13.22 | Missouri Supreme Court rules that the statutory cap on punitive damages applies to claims for breach of the duty of loyalty and tortious inference with a contract; and reminds appellants that briefs must strictly comply with Rule 84.04.

In MHRA Disability Discrimination Claims, "Reasonable Accommodation" Remains a Fact-Intensive Inquiry

03.29.22 | The Court of Appeals recently re-affirmed that disability discrimination cases under the Missouri Human Rights Act involving reasonable accommodations remains a fact-intensive, case-by-case inquiry.

Illinois Supreme Court Workers' Compensation Act is Exclusive Remedy Only Against "Immediate Employers"

03.07.22 | The Supreme Court recently reaffirmed that only "immediate employers" of injured employees are immune from suit under the Workers' Compensation Act's exclusive remedy provisions, despite any contractual duties to carry workers' compensation insurance.

Illinois Supreme Court Closes the Door on Workers' Compensation Exclusivity Defense in BIPA Cases and Opens the Floodgates for Employee Lawsuits

02.14.22 | Since the surge of BIPA lawsuits began in 2019, a question has remained: Do employees have the right to file lawsuits under BIPA against their employers, or are such claims preempted by the Illinois Workers' Compensation Act? On February 3, 2022, the Illinois Supreme Court resolved this issue, finding that the Workers' Compensation Act does not preclude employees from pursuing BIPA lawsuits against their employers.

TRO Puts Illinois Judicial Circuit Redistricting to a Halt

02.07.22 | Madison County State's Attorney, Thomas Haine, is successful at stalling Illinois Judicial Circuit redistricting as political parties navigate for position in the forthcoming Judicial election.

The Pandemic Continues to Impact Kansas City Area Trials and Verdicts

02.01.22 | Data released by the Greater Kansas City Jury Verdict Service about jury trials in 2021 show that defendants continue to win a majority of cases, though verdict amounts for prevailing plaintiffs have increased. Defendants prevailed on almost 60% of the claims decided by KC-area juries last year, but the number of claims decided by juries has not returned to pre-pandemic levels.

2021 Highlights from the Illinois Courts

01.26.22 | In this 2021 year-end summary, the Illinois Law Blog analyzes several of the most impactful decisions from the Illinois courts.

2021: A Whirlwind Year for Labor & Employment Law

01.19.22 | 2021 was a busy year in labor and employment law, with major cases concerning Covid-19, arbitration, accommodating disabilities, joint employer liability, and new statutory requirements for employers.

OSHA Reacts to COVID-19 Pandemic and Issues Vaccine-or-Testing Mandate: What Employers Need to Know (Update)

12.21.21 | OSHA published its highly-anticipated vaccine-or-testing mandate. Here's what you need to know to ensure your company complies.

Court Compels Arbitration where Employer's Right to Modify Terms is not "Unfettered"

11.30.21 | An arbitration agreement that placed meaningful limits on an employer's right to modify the agreement did not lack consideration, according to the Kansas federal district court.

Once More unto the Breach: the Missouri Supreme Court Again Takes Up the Question of Constitutional Limits on Missouri's Statutory Punitive Damages Cap

11.10.21 | In All Star Awards v. HALO Branded Solutions, the Supreme Court will once again decide whether a lower court ruling applying Missouri's cap on punitive damages (Mo. Rev. Stat. Sect. 510.265) should be nullified on state Constitutional grounds.

Job Seekers Using Vaccine Mandates to Stand Out from the Crowd: Potential Pitfalls for Employers

11.04.21 | New federal vaccine mandates are about to take effect, and job applicants have taken notice, updating resumes with their vaccine status. Employers must be aware of potential legal issues surrounding requests for accommodation based on a disability, or on religious beliefs.

I Didn't Agree to That! Court Holds No Arbitration without Offer and Acceptance.

10.19.21 | An "Acknowledgement of Receipt" of an arbitration policy was not sufficient to create an offer and acceptance of a purported arbitration agreement, the Western District of Missouri Court of Appeals finds.

Returning to Work Post-COVID - Handle with Care, Employers

09.14.21 | Return-to-work policies may affect different groups differently based on race and sex. Employers should carefully craft their policies to avoid potential Title VII or Equal Pay Act claims.

Missouri Court of Appeals affirms denial of motion to compel arbitration based on contract of adhesion

08.10.21 | In Rose v. Verizon Wireless Services, LLC, the Eastern District Missouri Court of Appeals held that an arbitration provision was not enforceable because the contract at issue was an unenforceable contract of adhesion and did not match the reasonable expectations of the parties.

Are Non-Competes Doomed after Executive Order 14036?

08.05.21 | In July 2021, President Biden recommended that the FTC develop rules curtailing the unfair use of employee non-compete agreements. How will the new rules affect the enforceability of such agreements?

Department of Labor Withdraws Employer-friendly FLSA Test for "Employee" Classification

08.03.21 | Employee or independent contractor? Despite imperfections, the economic reality test remains the standard to determine whether a worker is classified as an "employee" entitled to Fair Labor Standards Act benefits and protections.

EEOC Issues New Guidance for Employers on COVID-19 Vaccinations in the Workplace

07.22.21 | On May 28, 2021, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued new guidance seeking to clarify significant questions regarding mandating vaccines for employees, reasonable accommodation, and employee incentives for vaccination.

Update: Supreme Court Holds No Concrete Injury in FCRA Class Action Case

07.20.21 | After it granted review six months ago, The U.S. Supreme Court has reversed the Ninth Circuit's $40 million judgment in favor of plaintiffs in a FCRA class action case, holding that thousands of the class members had no standing for their claims.

Hey Now, You're an All Star, Get Your Punitives, Get Paid. Missouri Court of Appeals Finds Punitive Damages Cap Unconstitutional

07.08.21 | The Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District, recently held, in a case involving an employee's breach of his duty of loyalty to his employer, that a statutory cap on punitive damages was a violation of the prevailing plaintiff's constitutional right to trial by jury.

Do You Have a Record? From Conviction History to EEO-1 Reports, Illinois Imposes New Requirements on Employers

07.06.21 | Thinking about DQ'ing a potential hire due to a prior conviction? Think again. Illinois employers better listen up, and look to the newly enacted employment law (known as Senate Bill 1480). Key changes in the law deal with protections to employees and potential hires with criminal convictions, as well as new requirements for employers on providing information to State agencies regarding demographics and payroll data.

Promises, Promises in Arbitration of Employment Disputes

06.29.21 | Under Missouri law, an arbitration agreement that reserves for the employer the unilateral right to modify the agreement lacks consideration, and is unenforceable.

Are Jury Instructions "At-Will?" Not Under the Missouri Human Rights Act

06.15.21 | At-will...the ability to do something as one pleases. While most employment relationships are at-will, may an employer modify, at-will, Missouri Approved Jury Instructions in a case involving a violation of the Missouri Human Rights Act? As the Western District Court of Appeals explains, you better have a lawful reason…

Kansas and Missouri Federal Courts Raise the Stakes on Employers' Tip Pooling Practices

05.05.21 | Kansas and Missouri federal courts certify FLSA class actions, challenging the tip sharing arrangements of casinos in Kansas, Missouri, and other locations.

OK, Boomer...Does Your Employee Have an Age Discrimination Claim?

04.27.21 | Bread. Cherry. Bogart. Bippy. Fink. IDK what any of these words mean, but apparently, they are slang words popularized in the 1960s by Boomers. Find out about Boomer discrimination and how Boomers aren't too different from Millennials (their generational arch nemesis) in this far out post. I promise it won't be a drag.

Order for Permanent Injunction Not Open for Interpretation

03.25.21 | On March 2, 2021, the Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District, in Chemline Inc. v. Mauzy, affirmed in part and reversed and remanded in part, a St. Louis County Circuit Court's order finding a sales representative in contempt of the court's permanent injunction order expressly prohibiting contact with his former employer's customers.

Get Woke: Millennials and Age Discrimination

03.04.21 | OMG. Some Millennials are now protected under the ADEA and state age discrimination laws. Learn what this all means for Millennials and employers in the workplace. Unless, of course, you want to be basic.

Do Illinois Businesses Face a Wave of Lawsuits Following the COVID-19 Pandemic?

02.16.21 | Nearly one year into the COVID-19 pandemic, Illinois businesses are already facing lawsuits and workers' compensation claims arising from COVID-19 exposures and diagnoses. In this blog post, we examine the types of claims that have been filed and that may be filed in the future against Illinois businesses related to COVID-19. This includes the potential for claims based on negligence, workers' compensation, employment law, and COVID-19 vaccines.

The Kansas City Area Saw Trials Plummet in 2020 Due to the Pandemic

02.08.21 | Little about 2020 was normal, and the number of trials in the Kansas City area was no exception. Data released by the Greater Kansas City Jury Verdict Service shows that the total number of jury trials in the Kansas City area was down over 65% in 2020 when compared to 2019.

Missouri Court of Appeals holds an employer may not reserve the right to litigate claims against an employee in court while simultaneously restricting the employee to arbitrate her employment claims.

01.11.21 | Under Missouri law, an employment arbitration clause that includes a litigation double-standard – that is, a unilateral right to bring a claim in court for an employer while attempting to bind the employee to arbitrate all claims – is unenforceable.

Missouri enacts significant changes affecting punitive damages and consumer protection claims

10.26.20 | With recent statutory changes, Missouri is taking meaningful steps to reform the state's punitive damages standards and consumer protection statute—two aspects of Missouri law that have made it one of the most plaintiff-friendly venues in the country.

Supreme Court Bostock Ruling Confirms Scope of Title VII Includes Protections for Homosexuals, Invalidating Prior Eighth Circuit Precedent

08.04.20 | The U.S. Supreme Court's Bostock ruling upends prior Eighth Circuit precedent on discrimination based on sexual preference.

Can You Compel Arbitration? You May Have the Right to Ask Your Arbitrator

07.09.20 | Missouri Court of Appeals compels arbitration, where the parties agreed to submit threshold issues of arbitrability to a third-party neutral rather than the court.

U.S. Supreme Court Rules that Title VII Protects LGBTQ Workers

06.16.20 | The U.S. Supreme Court, in a 6-3 decision, holds that Title VII's prohibition against sex discrimination applies to discrimination based on a worker's sexual orientation or gender identity.

Inaccurate Background Reports Concerning Job Applicants May Give Rise to Employer Liability under FCRA

06.04.20 | The Missouri Court of Appeals held that a plaintiff had standing to sue under the FCRA, where an offer of employment was revoked due to an inaccuracy on his criminal background report.

Ban the Box Legislation to Take Effect in the City of St. Louis in 2021

06.01.20 | The City of St. Louis joins numerous regional and local governments enacting "ban the box" legislation, prohibiting employers from asking about an applicant's criminal convictions on job applications.

Eighth Circuit Reverses ADA Class Certification in "Fitness for Duty" Challenge

05.27.20 | The Eighth Circuit reversed class certification of a claim under the Americans with Disabilities Act that challenged a railroad's "fitness-for-duty" policy, holding the district court abused its discretion in finding that plaintiffs met the cohesiveness, predominance and superiority requirements.

Missouri House Approves Stricter Standards for Punitive Damages Claims

05.13.20 | In an update to a prior post, Senate Bill 591 (which seeks to impose stricter standards for the application of punitive damages) cleared The Missouri House on May 12, 2020 in a 98-51 vote. The Bill, now on its way to Governor Parson for his signature, will likely go into effect on August 28, 2020. Governor Parson is expected to sign the measure without veto.

Illinois Implements Mandatory Sexual Harassment Prevention for Employers to be Completed by December 31, 2020

04.09.20 | Public Act 101-0221, the Workplace Transparency Act, amended the Illinois Human Rights Act and now requires Illinois employers to provide annual sexual harassment prevention training by December 31, 2020, followed by annual training thereafter.

Missouri Supreme Court Holds That Requesting an Accommodation, Standing Alone, Is Not an Activity Opposing a Practice Prohibited by the MHRA

04.07.20 | An issue of first impression was recently presented to the Missouri Supreme Court: whether an employee's accommodation request is a protected activity under the Missouri Human Rights Act. The Missouri Supreme Court found...

Sometimes You Just Can't Compete

04.03.20 | A recent decision by the Missouri Court of Appeals, Southern District, demonstrates the importance of specifically crafted non-compete provisions in employment contracts.

Small Business Covid-19 Primer

04.01.20 | Covid-19 has caused stress for both business owners and employees. In the past days, two new benefits are in effect from April 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020: emergency paid sick leave (EPSL) and paid FMLA leave (FMLA+).

Employees Aggrieved Out-of-State Cannot Sue Missouri-based Employers under the Missouri Human Rights Act.

03.11.20 | Missouri Supreme Court held the Missouri Human Rights Act is not a remedy for out-of-state employees aggrieved by discriminatory practices of Missouri-headquartered companies.

Kansas City Area Saw Increase in Defense Verdicts in 2019, According to Annual Jury Data

03.02.20 | The data is out on Kansas City area jury verdicts for calendar year 2019, and it contains mostly good news for defendants. While the total number of jury verdicts was up slightly from 2018, the percentage of those verdicts in plaintiffs' favor was down, with nearly 60% of claims that went to a jury ending in a defense verdict. 2019 also saw a drop of almost 30% in the number of verdicts over $1 million. Although the data shows a rise in the average verdict amount, that increase is entirely attributable to a single mega verdict of more than $100 million; controlling for that outlier, the size of the average award was also down significantly.

City of St. Louis falls to 5th on the Judicial Hellhole list with Madison and St. Clair Counties, Illinois close behind ranking 7th.

02.12.20 | City of St. Louis has seen a steady decline on the judicial hellhole rankings with modest reforms but the Illinois counties of Madison and St. Clair remain hotspots for asbestos litigation and "no-injury" BIPA lawsuits according to the 2019/2020 American Tort Reform Foundation Judicial Hellholes Report.

City of St. Louis falls to 5th on the Judicial Hellhole list with Madison and St. Clair Counties, Illinois close behind ranking 7th.

02.12.20 | City of St. Louis has seen a steady decline on the judicial hellhole rankings with modest reforms but the Illinois counties of Madison and St. Clair remain hotspots for asbestos litigation and "no-injury" BIPA lawsuits according to the 2019/2020 American Tort Reform Foundation Judicial Hellholes Report.

New Illinois Statute Among the First to Address AI-Aided Job Recruiting

01.14.20 | The use of artificial intelligence screening tools promise to get employers one step closer to finding that perfect candidate, but their use may open Pandora's box of privacy concerns over the use and storage of such information. Illinois is among the first states in the country to provide a framework for AI's use in the interviewing process.

Jury Instructions in Railroad Employment Case Rejected Again by 8th Circuit

10.14.19 | The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit has, for the second time, reversed and remanded a railroad employment case. Both reversals were based on jury instructions the Court deemed erroneous.

Arbitration Agreements 101: they require - you guessed it - agreement.

09.13.19 | Though seemingly obvious, the Eighth Circuit affirmed arbitration agreements are not immune to contract law basics when it denied an employer's motion to compel arbitration for lack of acceptance.

Terms of "Confidential" Co-Defendant Settlement Prove Party Bad Faith and Earn Counsel a Disciplinary Referral

09.05.19 | The confidential nature of settlement negotiations and terms, as is frequently agreed to by the parties as part of a settlement package, is a well-established and often referred to as sacred part of American jurisprudence. In a recent opinion, Illinois' First District Appellate Court reminded litigants that such confidentiality, in fact, can be lost.

Taxation of Lost Wages Awards Under the FELA: the Illinois Appellate Court Applies Loos v. BNSF

08.21.19 | The U.S. Supreme Court recently resolved a split among state and federal courts on the issue of whether lost wages under the Federal Employers' Liability Act (FELA) are taxable under the Railroad Retirement Tax Act (RRTA). The Illinois Appellate Court was one of the first in the nation to apply the Supreme Court's holding that awards of lost wages in FELA cases are taxable.

Does Obesity Qualify as a Disability Under the ADA? - The Courts are Divided

08.12.19 | A recent 7th Circuit case rules that obesity, without an underlying physiological cause, is not "regarded as" a disability under the ADA. However, jurisdictions nationwide appear to be split on the issue.

Second Update: Hopping On The Missouri Bandwagon? Not So Fast Out Of State Litigants.

07.16.19 | SECOND UPDATE: Missouri Governor Mike Parson signs Senate Bill 7, which amends venue and joinder laws, to prevent out of state plaintiffs from litigating their cases in an inappropriate venue.

Illinois Counties Remain Top Jurisdictions for Asbestos Litigation in 2018

07.08.19 | Even with asbestos litigation on the slow decline, Madison County and St. Clair County, Illinois remain the top venues for asbestos litigation.

Hegger v. Valley Farm Dairy Co. - A Retroactive Election?

07.01.19 | Eastern District Court of Appeals Applies Enhanced Workers Compensation Mesothelioma Benefits to Employee of Defunct Corporation.

From the East to the West, Does Arbitration in Missouri Reign Best? Missouri Courts Uphold and Invalidate Arbitration Agreements

06.25.19 | Missouri has continued to hold that arbitration agreements are not unconscionable when they are shown to have valid mutual assent and are not self-serving.

Negligent References- Is there a duty in Missouri to refrain from making a negligent recommendation to a prospective employer?

06.12.19 | In recent years, the plaintiffs' employment bar has continued to explore new and more creative avenues to state claims in Missouri. In Doe v. Ozark Christian College, Plaintiff filed a negligence action against Ozark Christian College, claiming the college negligently recommended a prospective employee to the employer church, which directly resulted in...

Coming Soon to Kansas City: Shorter Job Applications

06.06.19 | The Kansas City, Missouri City Council has unanimously passed an ordinance banning private employers in the City from asking job applicants about their salary history.

Supreme Court Holds Plaintiff's Failure to Include Allegations Later Sued Upon, in Her Charge of Discrimination, Is Not "Jurisdictional"

06.03.19 | If a plaintiff fails to exhaust administrative remedies by failing to file a charge, or includes allegations in her Complaint that were not raised in a charge that she filed, this does not strip the court of jurisdiction to hear the case. It is incumbent upon the defendant to properly raise this as a defense, in a timely manner.

Update: Hopping on the Missouri Bandwagon? Not so Fast Out-of-State Litigants.

05.20.19 | UPDATE: House Passes Senate Bill 7, in which the Missouri legislature seeks to amend venue and joinder laws, to prevent out of state plaintiffs from litigating their cases in an inappropriate venue.

Illinois Legislature Proposes to Amend the Biometric Informational Act, Deleting Private Right of Action

05.16.19 | In response to the Illinois Supreme Court's Rosenbach decision, the Illinois Senate introduced SB2134 as a proposed amendment to the Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA). The amendment would delete language allowing a private right of action and change the definition of biometric identifiers to add electrocardiography results from wearable devices.

SCOTUS Strikes Another Blow to Class-Action Claims, Favoring Individual Arbitration

05.13.19 | The Supreme Court has issued another ruling limiting class-action claims, in favor of individual arbitration, this time finding that contractual ambiguity is no substitute for a clear expression of consent to class-wide arbitration.

Illinois Appellate Court Holds Employer's Alleged Biometric Information Privacy Act Violation Is Not Subject to Arbitration

04.16.19 | The Illinois Appellate Court has held employees' claims under Illinois' Biometric Information Privacy Act do not constitute "wage or hour violations" subject to mandatory arbitration under an employment agreement.

In a case of first impression, the Appellate Court of Illinois allows counsel to withdraw previously disclosed testifying expert

04.12.19 | The Illinois Appellate Court, First District, held that a party may timely withdraw a previously disclosed testifying expert and redesignate said expert as a Rule 201(b)(3) consultant entitled to the consultant's privilege against disclosure absent exceptional circumstances.

Hopping on the Missouri Bandwagon? Not so Fast Out-of-State Litigants.

03.18.19 | In Senate Bill 7, the Missouri legislature seeks to amend venue and joinder laws, to prevent out of state plaintiffs from litigating their cases in an inappropriate venue.

Missouri Supreme Court: There Must be Sufficient Evidence at Trial to Support Each Alternative of a "Disjunctive" Jury Instruction

03.07.19 | The Missouri Supreme Court's recent holding in Kader v. Bd. of Regents underscores the importance of ensuring that each alternative of a disjunctive verdict directing instruction is supported by sufficient evidence at trial.

Missouri Supreme Court Compels Arbitration, Finding Adequate Consideration for Arbitration Agreement with At-Will Employee

03.04.19 | Missouri Supreme Court holds that there is adequate consideration for an at-will employee's agreement to arbitrate and compels arbitration of his wrongful termination and discrimination claims.

Courts favor the Federal Arbitration Act, but some workers are exempt.

01.18.19 | Independent contractors who work in transportation may not be forced into mandatory arbitration.

Eighth Circuit Refuses to Punish Employer for History of Granting Special Treatment to Disabled Employee with Poor Attendance Record

01.08.19 | The Eighth Circuit affirms summary judgment in an employer's favor in a disability discrimination case, where the employee's excessive absenteeism was attributed to a disability and other family medical issues.

City of St. Louis - Still A Judicial Hellhole

12.26.18 | Defense attorneys beware. The 2018-2019 American Tort Reform Foundation's (ATRF) Judicial Hellholes Report is out, and the City of St. Louis landed fourth on this list because of its massive verdicts, forum shopping, and legislative failures.

10th Circuit Declares Adverse Employment Action Required For Failure To Accommodate Claims

12.11.18 | An adverse employment action is an element of a failure to accommodate claim. Adverse employment action means more than a mere inconvenience.

At-Will Employee Properly Paid Commission as Monthly Draw

11.29.18 | Recently, the Southern District Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court's determination in a bench tried case on an employee's claim for what he described as unpaid commissions. In affirming the trial court's Judgment, the court of appeals made clear that Missouri law allows an employer to unilaterally modify the terms of an at-will employee's compensation.

Adding to a Circuit Split, the Tenth Circuit Rules that Arbitrators May Determine Whether Classwide Arbitration is Allowed

09.13.18 | In August 2018, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals decided Dish Network L.L.C. v. Ray, an important ruling in the field of arbitration clauses and their effect on potential class action litigation. The Tenth Circuit specifically addressed the question of who should determine whether an arbitration clause allows classwide arbitration: a court or an arbitrator?

Missouri Voters Overwhelmingly Reject "Right-to-Work" Law

08.08.18 | While we regularly report to our readers on significant case law developments in the labor and employment field, the most dramatic developments in Missouri, over the past year, have played out in the legislative arena.

U.S. Supreme Court, in a 5-4 Ruling, Upholds Employers' Use of Class Action Waivers in Employment Agreements

05.21.18 | In a closely watched and long-awaited ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court on May 21st held that it is lawful for an employer, in an agreement with an employee, to provide that all disputes be resolved through one-on-one arbitration between the company and the employee.

Intra-Corporate Immunity Rule Alive, Applied, and Affirmed in Dismissal of Missouri Defamation Suit

05.04.18 | The Missouri Court of Appeals affirms the trial court's dismissal of a claim for defamation, based on the intra-corporate immunity rule, which protects certain internal communications made to corporate managers.

Verdict Based on Disjunctive Jury Instruction Gets Junked

02.13.18 | A recent ruling by the Court of Appeals for the Eastern District of Missouri illustrates the perils of using disjunctive verdict directing instructions. In Kader v. Bd. of Regents, the court reversed a $2.5 million verdict against Harris-Stowe State University ("HSSU") and remanded the case for a new trial based upon instructional error in the disjunctive verdict directing instruction.

Choice of Venue Provision Upheld in Employment Contract

12.28.17 | The Missouri Supreme Court enforced a forum selection clause in an employment contract, holding that contract disputes between the parties could only be brought in Johnson County, Kansas.

Gender Stereotypes Now Serve as a Basis for Sex Discrimination Claim under the MHRA

12.18.17 | Despite an uptick in advocacy, support, and inclusion of the LGTBQ community over the past several decades, as of today, discrimination based on sexual orientation remains an invalid claim under the Missouri Human Rights Act ("MHRA"). However, in a recent decision by the Western District of the Missouri Court of Appeals...

Court of Appeals Affirms that At-Will Employment Is Not Sufficient Consideration for an Arbitration Agreement, Refuses to Change Law

12.14.17 | The Missouri Court of Appeals for the Southern District upholds denial of an employer's motion to compel arbitration ruling that at-will employment is insufficient consideration to support an arbitration agreement and denying employer's request to find that, in accordance with federal policy, at-will employment should be sufficient consideration for an arbitration agreement.

Clear Public Policy Must Support Doctor's Whistleblower Action

11.30.17 | Whistleblower claims do not apply to all statutory violations. A Missouri trial court erred in allowing a whistleblower claim to go to the jury, because the doctor's cited statutes did not reflect a specific and clear public policy supporting the whistleblower's claim. Whether the doctor reasonably believes an act violates public policy is irrelevant to his or her wrongful discharge claim.

Eighth Circuit Upholds Denial of Benefits Under ERISA-governed Insurance Policy

10.10.17 | The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, in Donaldson v. Nat'l Union Fire Ins. Co. of Pittsburg, recently upheld the denial of benefits under an ERISA-governed insurance policy because the plan administrator's interpretation of the disputed policy language was found to be reasonable.

Whistles Here, Whistles There, Whistles Everywhere - 8th Circuit Allows Airline Whistleblower to Proceed with State Law Wrongful Discharge Claim

10.03.17 | In Watson v. Air Methods Corp., No. 15-1900 (8th Cir. en banc, Aug. 31, 2017), the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed its own precedent and held that a former employee may bring a state law wrongful discharge claim against an "air carrier," notwithstanding the pre-emption provision contained in the Airline Deregulation Act ("ADA").

Eighth Circuit grants Union Pacific $75 million in Tax Relief

08.17.17 | The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals recently held that, because the RRTA authorizes taxes on money and not stock, Union Pacific Railroad Company is now entitled to a refund of approximately $75 million that it paid in taxes from 1997 to 2007 to the IRS.

U.S. Supreme Court Says it Again: Arbitration Agreements Should be Honored, and Not Singled Out for Negative Treatment by State Courts

08.10.17 | The U.S. Supreme Court rejects yet another creative state court end-run on arbitrability.

You've Got Mail - Service of Process by Mail is Satisfactory under the Hague Service Convention

05.30.17 | The United States Supreme Court ruled on May 22, 2017, that the Hague Convention, on the service of judicial documents abroad, permits service by mail if the receiving country has not objected to service by mail and service by mail is authorized under otherwise-applicable law.

The Daubert Standard - Coming Soon to a Missouri Court Near You

03.31.17 | Earlier this week, Governor Eric Greitens signed Missouri HB 153 into law. HB 153, which supplants Missouri's existing expert witness standard with that set forth in Federal Rules of Evidence 702, 703, 704 and 705, effectively submits expert testimony in most civil and criminal case to the analysis set forth in Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc., 509 U.S. 579 (1993).

Federal Judges Blow Their Stacks Over Boilerplate Objections

03.27.17 | Within a two-week period, two federal judges issued strongly worded orders denouncing the common practice of asserting boilerplate objections to written discovery.

Employees: Yes, You Can Owe Duties To Your Co-Employees

03.22.17 | The Missouri Court of Appeals rules that a worker may owe an independent duty of care to a co-worker, which is separate and distinct from her employer's non-delegable duties.

An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure: A Practical Guide to Reducing the Risk of a Data Breach

12.19.16 | Most organizations collect and store personal or sensitive information about their clients and employees. Protecting sensitive or private information should be a priority for all organizations, regardless of their size. Threats to information security arise from...

Mere Designation of an Expert Witness Does Not Waive the Work Product Doctrine Protections

11.02.16 | A Missouri plaintiff did not irrevocably waive the protections of the work product doctrine simply by designating an expert witness and then withdrawing the designation without disclosing the expert's analysis or conclusions.

Employer's Non-Delegable Duties and Co-Employee Liability

10.04.16 | Employees acting negligently within the scope of employment are not granted immunity under the Worker's Compensation Act; they remain liable if plaintiff establishes that a co-employee breached a personal duty of care.

Procedural Confusion: Should Parties Suffer When Circuit Courts Don't Follow the Rules?

08.04.16 | Three years ago, the Missouri Supreme Court handed down a decision concerning when and how an employer had to challenge an employee's alleged untimely filing of a complaint under the Missouri Human Rights Act. Ever since, that decision has created consternation and confusion for practitioners, who hoped that this issue might be clarified in a Court of Appeals, Western District case.

Employers Know That Instructions Matter

07.15.16 | The Missouri Supreme Court reverses and remands an employment discrimination and retaliation case, in favor of employer-defendant, due to prejudice resulting from an improper submission of a jury instruction.

Constructive Discharge Claims: When Does the 45-Day Period for Initiating Contact with the EEOC Begin to Run?

06.08.16 | On May 23, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court decided the case of Green v. Brennan in order to resolve a split among the Circuits on whether, in an action for constructive discharge, the 45-day limitation period for the employee to initiate contact with the EEOC begins to run after the employer's last discriminatory act, or at the time of the employee's resignation.

Success in Tackling the "Reptile Theory" of Trucking Accident Litigation With a Motion to Dismiss and Strike

05.25.16 | A recent order of the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas may be beneficial to defense practitioners fighting the so-called "reptile theory" of plaintiff's litigation, frequently aimed at trucking companies, which attempts to put the company on trial rather than litigating the circumstances of a particular accident. A targeted motion to dismiss and strike, focused upon the broad, boilerplate complaints that allege hiring, training, qualification, and supervision practices by the company and alleged violations of the FMCSA and FMSCR, may help to limit the scope of discovery and evidence sought in furtherance of the "reptile theory."

U.S. Department of Labor Raises the Minimum Salary Threshold to Qualify for the FLSA "White Collar Exemption"

05.18.16 | On May 18th, the U.S. Department of Labor issued its final overtime exemption rule, raising the minimum salary threshold to qualify for the Fair Labor Standards Act's white collar exemption to $47,476 per year. The regulation takes effect on December 1st. Between now and then, employers have an important decision to make for their white collar employees whose earnings are near the new threshold.

Missouri Implements "Ban the Box" on Applications for State Government Jobs

04.20.16 | On April 11th, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon signed an executive order requiring that state departments, agencies, and boards and commissions under the executive branch remove questions about criminal history from the initial job applications of prospective employees.

When Plaintiff's Counsel Wants to Speak with Your Former Manager

03.03.16 | We are often asked by clients if there is anything they can do to keep Plaintiff's counsel from speaking with managers who are no longer with the company. A recently published Missouri Informal Advisory Opinion on Legal Ethics (Opinion 2013-01) addresses this subject.

"Excusable neglect" is a real standard requiring real evidence (Updated 01.04.2016)

01.04.16 | While a Kansas court may grant relief from a final judgment based on excusable neglect, it is an abuse of discretion to grant that relief when the party seeking that relief has failed either to explain what facts constituted excusable neglect or to provide any evidence to support that claim.

The "Realities" Of Third-Party Harassment Claims Under The MHRA

12.02.15 | The Missouri Court of Appeals for the Western District, applying a modified economic realities test, held that AutoZone, Inc., the parent corporation of AutoZoners, LLC, was not Plaintiff's employer for purposes of the Missouri Human Rights Act. However, the Court found that Plaintiff made a submissible case for sexual harassment, which lead to its decision to uphold the jury's rulings in favor of Plaintiff for her hostile work environment claim, the trial court's decision in refusing to reduce the award of compensatory damages and the jury's award of punitive damages against AutoZoners, LLC. The case was ultimately remanded on the issue of attorneys' fees.

DWI in Missouri Is "Irresponsible" but Not a Crime of Moral Turpitude

11.19.15 | On November 17, 2015, the Missouri Court of Appeals for the Western District ruled for the first time that a misdemeanor first offense for driving while intoxicated did not qualify as a crime of moral turpitude.

The Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby decision continues to spawn plenty of litigation

11.05.15 | In the case of Sharpe Holdings, Inc., et. al. v. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit upheld a preliminary injunction issued by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, which enjoined the government from...

Missouri Supreme Court Grants New Trial for Former Kansas City Chiefs Employee in Age Discrimination Case

11.02.15 | On October 14, 2010, 61 year old Steven Cox was fired from the Kansas City Chiefs. He was replaced with a 37 year old. Litigation ensued and presumably concluded, with a decision in the Chiefs' favor. The Missouri Supreme Court, however, threw a penalty flag, and granted a new trial in the case. Read more to find out why.

The Missouri Court of Appeals Upholds a Significant Award of Punitive Damages in an Employment Discrimination Case

07.28.15 | Recently, the Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District, upheld a $2 million punitive damages award against an employer in a disability discrimination case brought under the Missouri Human Rights Act...

The Eastern District of Missouri continues the trend of invalidating employee-employer arbitration agreements

07.14.15 | In Bowers v. Asbury St. Louis Lex, LLC d/b/a Plaza Lexus, et al., the Missouri Court of Appeals for the Eastern District, in a race discrimination lawsuit, issued its latest ruling on employer-employee arbitration agreements.

Hobby Lobby Decision continues to resonate

04.21.15 | On March 9, the U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari at the request of the University of Notre Dame on another matter arising from the Affordable Care Act, and remanded the case to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, with instructions to reconsider its ruling in light of the Supreme Court's 2014 decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby.

The Eighth Circuit Provides Clarity on Outside Sales Exemption and Waiver Requirements under FLSA

04.01.15 | The Eighth Circuit recently analyzed the application of the "outside sales" and "administrative" exemptions under the Fair Labor Standards Act in the context of promotional workers. Also, the Court was asked to decide, for the first time, what constitutes a valid waiver of an employee's rights under the FLSA.

Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals Reaffirms Requirement of Substantial Evidence of Pretext in Employment Retaliation Claims

03.24.15 | Eighth Circuit affirms summary judgment for Employer on a retaliation claim, absent evidence of pretext.

Employers Beware: The Missouri Court of Appeals Strikes Another Blow Against Enforcement of Employee Arbitration Agreements

03.16.15 | It is time for Missouri employers to re-evaluate their employment agreements to see if the arbitration clauses, or the agreements as a whole, are still enforceable. Notwithstanding the U.S. Supreme Court's repeated endorsement of the enforceability of arbitration agreements, the Missouri Court of Appeals for the Eastern District has elevated to a whole new level the Missouri courts' hostility toward arbitration clauses in employment agreements, in the case of Jimenez v. Cintas Corporation.

Kansas Governor Rescinds Executive Order That Had Prohibited Discrimination Against State Employees Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

02.16.15 | In an action that has drawn significant national media attention, Kansas Governor Sam Brownback issued an Executive Order rescinding an Executive Order signed eight years earlier by then Governor Sebelius, which had prohibited discrimination against state employees based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Whistleblower Protection for TSA Employee

02.03.15 | A former federal air marshal's communication of TSA decision to terminate missions, despite a hijacking threat, was protected under the whistleblower statute because it was not a "specifically prohibited disclosure."

Columbia, Missouri Enacts "Ban-the-Box" Ordinance Applicable to Both Public and Private Employers

12.19.14 | This is the first ban-the-box ordinance in Missouri that applies to private employers.

Employer's Stated Concern over Health Costs for its Older Employees Can Serve as a Proxy for Age Discrimination

12.03.14 | Eighth Circuit reverses summary judgment against terminated employee, where employer had asked its insurer for premium deductions because its "oldest, sickest" employers were no longer with the company.

Court of Appeals Affirms Denial of Sigma-Aldrich's Request for Injunctive Relief Against Former Employee

11.20.14 | St. Louis life science company's non-compete clause is ruled overbroad in scope, and information for which protection was sought was not truly "trade secret".

New Kansas gun law affects employers and premises owners

11.14.14 | Recently enacted Kansas law changes the rules for business owners who wish to restrict firearms on their premises.

Federal Court Rejects EEOC's Attempt to Enjoin Corporate Wellness Program on ADA and GINA Grounds

11.11.14 | U.S. District Court refuses the EEOC's attempt to block the implementation of Honeywell's employee wellness program, which provides incentives for its employees to take advantage of health screenings.

Are FedEx Delivery Drivers Employees or Independent Contractors? The Kansas Supreme Court Applies the "20-Factor Test", and Rules They Are Employees

11.06.14 | The Kansas Supreme Court, in Craig v. FedEx Ground Package System, clarifies the standard for determining whether workers are employees or independent contractors

The Missouri Supreme Court Invalidates an Employment Contract Arbitration Clause for Lack of Consideration

10.30.14 | The Missouri Supreme Court recently sustained the trial court'sdenial of an employer's motion to compel arbitration in the case of Carla Baker v. Bristol Care, Inc. d/b/a Bristol Manor, et al., No. SC93451.

The Missouri Supreme Court Rules That Parties May Have a Duty as a "Joint Employer" With Its Contractors Pursuant to the Missouri Minimum Wage Law

09.19.14 | Individuals and businesses relying upon contractors to provide labor services may be exposing themselves to liability if these contractors fail to pay their employees in accordance with the Missouri Minimum Wage Law.

EEOC Guidelines Expand Accomodation Requirements for Pregnant Employees

08.28.14 | The EEOC expands "reasonable accommodation" rights of pregnant employees.

An Employee Who Refuses to Comply With the Employer's Legitimate Requests for Information and FMLA Leave Policies May Forfeit FMLA Protection

08.12.14 | The FMLA offers significant protections to eligible employees. However, FMLA rights do not shelter an employee who refuses to comply with her employer's reasonable requests for information, and that refusal may even be grounds for termination. In some circumstances, even if the requests are somewhat related to the FMLA leave, the employer may be protected from an FMLA interference claim.

Missouri Supreme Court Abandons Exclusive Causation Requirement for Worker's Compensation Retaliatory Discharge Claims

08.07.14 | In Templemire v. W&M Welding, Inc., the Missouri Supreme Court threw out its long-held interpretation of section 287.780, RSMo requiring a plaintiff in a worker's compensation retaliatory discharge claim to prove their filing a claim under Chapter 287 was the exclusive cause for the discharge. The Court now holds…

NRLB General Counsel Authorizes Complaints against McDonald's Franchisees, also naming McDonald's USA as a Joint Employer

07.30.14 | NLRB General Counsel fires a shot across the bow of McDonald's and other national franchisors.

Reasonable Accommodations Are All About Enabling Employees To Work, Not To Not Work

07.16.14 | The Tenth Circuit addresses the duration of sick leave, as a "reasonable accommodation" for an employee with a disability.

The Hobby Lobby decision is already being felt in other cases

07.09.14 | The U.S. Supreme Court handed down its Hobby Lobby decision on June 30 and it is already having a ripple effect. On July 3rd, the Court issued an injunction on a case pending in the lower Federal Courts simplifying the paperwork needed to claim a religious exemption under the Hobby Lobby decision. The female members of the Court issued a dissent to the order.

The Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby decision - What it does and does not do

07.01.14 | Closely-held or family owned companies whose owners have strong religious beliefs may be able to exclude certain contraception-related benefits from their employee health benefit programs. The federal government has available "less restrictive" means of assuring that employees get access to such care at no additional cost, than an outright mandate that all employers provide those benefits.

In a differential etiology, experts need not rule out all possible causes

06.23.14 | Experts are not required to rule out all possible causes when performing the differential etiology analysis if the experts have properly ruled in the alleged cause.

Missouri Appellate Court Invalidates Arbitration Agreement Not Signed by Employer

06.03.14 | Employers need well-drafted contractual agreements to compel arbitration with their employees for sexual harassment and discrimination claims. In Baier v. Darden Restaurants, et al., 420 S.W.3d 733 (Mo. App. W.D. 2014), a Missouri appellate court held that an arbitration agreement was not enforceable when an employee signed a document stating that all employment disputes would be arbitrated, but the employer did not sign.

Punitive Damages Part 1: Don't Get Caught Flat-Footed

04.29.14 | A Kansas plaintiff may amend their pleadings to assert punitive damages up until the day of the pretrial conference.

Workers' Compensation + Retaliation + Missouri Supreme Court adopts the "contributing factor" standard

04.22.14 | A man who sued his former employer, alleging he was discharged in retaliation for filing a workers' compensation claim, appealed on the basis that the trial court used a jury instruction with the wrong standard. In a 5-2 decision written by Judge George W. Draper III, the Missouri Supreme Court rejected the 'exclusive causation' standard and replaced it with the "contributing factor" standard. On remand and in future cases, the jury must determine whether the plaintiff's filing of a workers' compensation claim was a "contributing factor" to his or her discharge.

Kansas abolishes assumption of the risk defense.

04.21.14 | Based on its adoption of a statutory scheme of comparative negligence, Kansas has abolished common law assumption of the risk as a bar to recovery. Simmons v. Porter, 298 Kan. 299, 312 P3d 345, 355 (Kan. 2013).

Pick your poison: Plaintiffs Must Choose Either Respondeat Superior or Direct Negligence Against Employers after a Commercial Motor Vehicle Collision

03.27.14 | When a motor vehicle collision involves a commercial vehicle, plaintiffs often sue the commercial driver's employer through respondeat superior, whereby employers are strictly liable for the negligence of their employers.

A mundane lesson from an important decision, or, the importance of presenting evidence

03.20.14 | The plaintiff has the burden of proving standing, which is a jurisdictional issue that can be raised at any time.

Supreme Court holds that the whistleblower protections of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act apply to employees who work for contractors of public companies

03.05.14 | The Supreme Court resolves a split in authority, and opts for a broader reading of who may bring a whistleblower claim under SOX.

No Signed Settlement Necessary, Except When It Is

02.25.14 | In Kansas, the parties bind themselves to an enforceable settlement, even though the parties contemplate subsequent execution of a formal instrument. However, when the parties specifically condition a contract on it being reduced to writing and signed, there is no enforceable contract until such act is accomplished.

Tenth Circuit Reinstates Chemical Worker's Disability and Family Medical Leave Act Retaliation Claims

01.23.14 | Plaintiff furnished sufficient evidence to show that the employer's claim that he was fired for safety violations was a pretext for discrimination

Legislative Changes Coming to Missouri's Workers' Compensation Law on January 1, 2014

01.01.14 | Some major changes are coming soon to Missouri's Workers' Compensation Law. Earlier this year, the Missouri General Assembly passed what began as a legislative effort to address issues in the coverage of occupational diseases created by the switch in 2005 to strict construction of the Law. In the end, this effort resulted in…

Supreme Court to Rule on Challenges to the "Contraceptive Mandate" of the Affordable Care Act

12.19.13 | The high court is expected to resolve a circuit split on whether the owners of privately held secular companies, who oppose offering contraception-related benefits on religious grounds, may challenge these mandatory coverage requirements under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act

Why Kansas Employers Should Utilize Statutory Assignment to Litigate Against Third Parties Who Injure Their Employees

12.11.13 | Employers must carefully monitor injured workers' potential claims against third parties who caused workplace injuries, and proactively manage the litigation process.

Two Recent Decisions Threaten to Erode Protections for Employers Against Negligent Hiring, Training and Retention Claims

10.30.13 | Companies who employ drivers may be exposed to greater liability in Missouri courts. In McHaffie v. Bunch, 891 S.W.2d 822, 824 (Mo. banc 1995), the Missouri Supreme Court held that once an employer has admitted to respondeat superior liability for an employee driver's negligence, it is improper to allow a plaintiff to proceed against the employer on any other theory of imputed liability, such as negligence in employee hiring, retention, or training.

Missouri Supreme Court Creates Procedural Hurdles for Employers Seeking to Defend Untimely Claims

09.25.13 | The Missouri Supreme Court has repeatedly interpreted the Missouri Human Rights Act in a manner that makes it easier for plaintiffs to pursue claims, and harder for employers to defend them, than under similar federal anti-discrimination statutes. (See our March 20, 2013 report titled Burden of Proof in Retaliation Cases.) Here, once again, the Missouri Supreme Court diverges both from federal precedent and prior Missouri precedent, making it more difficult for employers to dismiss untimely discrimination complaints that are filed under the MHRA.

Wrongful Termination in Missouri: "Whistleblower" Claims and the Public Policy Exception to Employment-at-Will

09.11.13 | Missouri adheres to the rule prevailing in most jurisdictions that in the absence of a contract between an employer and employee for a definite term or a contrary statutory provision, an employee can be terminated at any time with or without cause or for any reason, provided the termination does not run afoul of a federal or state anti-discrimination statute. Amaan v. City of Eureka, 615 S.W.2d 414 (Mo. 1981).

Recent Suit by the EEOC Makes Clear that the Genetic Information Discrimination Act (GINA) Applies Whenever an Employer Asks For Employees' Family History

09.04.13 | The EEOC recently filed a lawsuit against The Founders Pavilion, Inc., alleging that the company violated the Genetic Information Discrimination Act (GINA). In the suit, the EEOC charges that a New York nursing and rehabilitation center violated federal law when it asked for applicants' family medical history as part of a post-offer, pre-employment medical exam.

Tenth Circuit Applies U.S.Supreme Court Dukes and Comcast Decisions, and Decertifies Class Actions Based on Lack of Commonality

08.13.13 | The rigorous standards for class certification enunciated in recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions are being applied in the federal Circuit courts. Wal-Mart v. Dukes and Comcast require strong proof of "commonality" and other FRCP Rule 23 elements, at the class certification stage, even if this overlaps with the merits of the case.

U.S. Supreme Court rules on burden of proof in Title VII retaliation cases, and "supervisory" status for purpose of determining potential employer vicarious liability

06.25.13 | Two important decisions that can limit the scope of employer liability in Title VII cases; less clear how helpful these decisions will be in cases brought under the Missouri Human Rights Act.

Kansas Supreme Court: Private parties cannot contractually shorten the statute of limitations for retaliatory discharge when the employee claims she was fired for exercising rights under the KS WCA

06.12.13 | When the reason for termination falls within the "public policy" exception to the employment-at-will doctrine, parties cannot contractually shorten the two-year Kansas statute of limitations for commencing a retaliatory discharge action

New Supreme Court Ruling on "Chevron deference" may impact future labor and employment law developments

05.30.13 | In the future, courts may be obliged to give broader deference to EEOC, NLRB, and U.S. Department of Labor interpretations of the agencies' own authority. The recent U.S. Supreme Court decision in City of Arlington v. FCC, - U.S. - , No. 11-1545 (U.S. May 20, 2013) involved the validity of a Federal Communications Commission ruling on the regulation of wireless towers and antennas. . .

Eighth Circuit Disallows New Evidence from FLSA Plaintiffs, First Proffered in their Summary Judgment Opposition Papers, and Grants Summary Judgment

05.10.13 | When a plaintiff, in his summary judgment opposition papers, attempts to first introduce information that should have been part of his Rule 26 disclosures (or supplements to them), defendant should move to strike.

Kansas Supreme Court Clarifies Standard for Determining if an Injury Arose "Out of and in the Course of Employment", for Purposes of Workers Compensation Benefit

04.17.13 | The Kansas Supreme Court has recently clarified the legal standard for determining if an employee injury at a company-sponsored social event arose "out of and in the course of employment", thus making the employee eligible to receive Workers Compensation benefits.

FLSA Arbitration Clause that includes Class Action Waiver Held Enforceable by Eighth Circuit

04.03.13 | In Owen v. Bristol Care, Inc., 702 F.3d 1050 (8th Cir. 2013), the Eighth Circuit recently held that an arbitration agreement that included a class action waiver provision was enforceable under the Fair Labor Standards Act. In so ruling, the Eighth Circuit squarely rejected the NLRB's holding in D.R. Horton that such waivers are unenforceable because they violate employee rights under Section 7 of the NLRA.

"Probability" of Having Contracted Communicable Disease at Work Held Sufficient to Assert an Occupational Disease Claim Even in the Absence of Evidence of Actual Exposure

03.26.13 | In a recent opinion, the Missouri Court of Appeals for the Western District held a workers' compensation claimant had sufficiently proven her husband sustained an occupational disease arising out of and in the course of his employment with Capital Region Medical Center with evidence that his hepatitis C was "probably" caused by his employment. This, despite the fact that claimant presented no evidence that anyone with hepatitis C was ever present in the workplace.

Burden of Proof in Retaliation Cases

03.20.13 | Employers around the country are eagerly waiting for the U.S. Supreme Court to rule on the appropriate standard of proof for Title VII retaliation claims, in University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center v. Nassar . What does this mean for Missouri employers? Less than you might think.

Chiefs Rally (in the courtroom)

03.11.13 | In the wake of the Chiefs' recent courtroom setback in which their arbitration agreement with employees was held unenforceable (see post Kansas City Chiefs Start the Season 0-2), the Chiefs recently went to trial in an age discrimination case filed by a 61-year old maintenance manager with 12 years of service. . .

Kansas City Chiefs Start the Season 0-2

03.04.13 | On February 26, 2013, the Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District ruled on the cases of two former Kansas City Chiefs employees who had been terminated, and had filed complaints of age discrimination. In one case, the day after she was hired, the employee (a Community Relations Director) was directed to sign an agreement requiring that any dispute. . .

Consideration and Mutuality Remain Key for Enforceable Employment Arbitration Agreement

02.26.13 | This decision underlines the importance of observing the contractual nature of an agreement to arbitrate. It is also another case which warns of the dangers of an employer: a) relying on the mention of, or reference to, outside or ancillary agreements as a substitute for explicitly being bound by specific terms of the agreement at issue; and, b) not signing the agreement.

Missouri Uniform Trade Secrets Act Does Not Protect Customer Information Insufficiently Guarded or Which Is Not Truly "Trade Secret" in Character

01.01.13 | In this case, a corporate successor, Central Trust sued the former employee of its acquired company, Springfield Trust after the employee started a business which directly competed with his former employer and Central Trust.

Non-Compete Agreements in Missouri: The Missouri Supreme Court (Once Again) Explains it All

12.21.12 | Those of us who practice employment law find ourselves, with increasing frequency, dealing with the preparation and negotiation of employee non-compete agreements, and the handling of disputes concerning such agreements. A "non-compete agreement" is any restrictive covenant entered into between employer and employee that restricts post-employment activities of the employee. . .

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