Category Archives: Recent Developments

Beaumont Court of Appeals Upholds a Physician Non-Compete

On June 13, 2013, the Beaumont Court of Appeals issued its decision in Sadler Clinic Association v. Hart, No. 09-12-00086-CV (Tex. App. — Beaumont 2013, pet. denied). This case discussed the enforceability of a non-compete in a physician’s contract. The court made three important holdings. First, the court considered the reasonableness of the buyout provision… Read More »

Beaumont Court of Appeals Finds a Non-Compete Overbroad When the Employer Failed to Justify the Need for the Restrictions

           On June 13. 2013, the Beaumont Court of Appeals issued its opinion in Hodgson v. U.S. Money Reserve. Inc., No. 09-13-00074-CV (Tex. App. – Beaumont 2013, no pet.).  This is an unpublished decision, but it is nonetheless interesting because it shows how one court of appeals is analyzing non-compete issues in the post-Marsh era…. Read More »

Supreme Court Holds That Donning and Doffing Protective Gear Constitutes “Changing Clothes” for Purposes of the FLSA

Today, the Supreme Court issued its opinion in Sandifer v. United States Steel Corp., No. 12-417 (U.S. Jan. 27, 2014).  The issue in Sandifer was whether time spent by union employees in donning and doffing of protective gear constituted compensable time for purposes of an overtime claim.  The Court held that donning and doffing of protective gear… Read More »

The NLRA Does Not Prohibit Class-Action Waivers in Employment Arbitration Agreements: The Fifth Circuit’s D.R. Horton Decision

The Fifth Circuit issued its long-awaited decision in D.R. Horton, Inc. v. NLRB, No. 12-60031 (5th Cir. Dec. 3, 2013). In its D.R. Horton decision, the NLRB had held that section 7 of the NLRA prohibited class-action waivers in mandatory arbitration agreements imposed by employers, because such waivers impeded the right of employees to engage… Read More »

The Supreme Court Rejects “Mixed Motive” in Title VII Retaliation Cases

By a 5-4 vote, the United States Supreme Court held that the plaintiff in a Title VII retaliation case cannot rely on a “mixed motive” theory.  The case is University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center v. Nassar.  The case was discussed and previewed in this article. The majority opinion by Justice Kennedy summarized its reasoning as follows:… Read More »

The Supreme Court Holds That Title VII Imposes Strict Liability on an Employer for Harassment by a Supervisor Only if the Supervisor Has the Power to Take “Tangible Employment Actions”

By a 5-4 vote, the Supreme Court narrowed the circumstances under which an employer can be held strictly liable for the actions of a supervisor in an harassment case.  The case is Vance v. Ball State University (June 24, 2013). In a typical harassment case, one of the key issues is whether the employer is… Read More »

EEOC Wins Landmark Title VII Case on Breast Feeding and Lactation

The Fifth Circuit issued a landmark decision in a sex discrimination case involving breast feeding and lactation in EEOC v. Houston Funding II, Ltd. (5th Cir. May 30, 2013).  The Fifth Circuit held that discrimination based on an employee’s post-childbirth lactation is prohibited by Title VII, but expressed doubt about whether, as the law existed… Read More »

Fifth Circuit: Volunteer Firefighters Are Not “Employees” Under Title VII

In a case of first impression, the Fifth Circuit considered whether voluntary firefighters are “employees” for purposes of Title VII in Juino v. Livingston Parish Fire District No. 5 (5th Cir. May 30, 2013).  The Fifth Circuit held that volunteer firefighters are not covered by Title VII. The plaintiff was a volunteer firefighter who claimed that… Read More »

Fifth Circuit Reverses Summary Judgment in Gender Discrimination and Retaliation Case Involving LSU

The Fifth Circuit considered an appeal from a summary judgment in a case involving claims of gender discrimination and retaliation.  The case is Haire v. Board of Supervisors of Louisiana State University (5th Cir. May 21, 2013). The plaintiff was an LSU police officer.  She applied for the vacant position as chief of police.  LSU installed… Read More »

Texas Adopts the Uniform Trade Secrets Act

Historically, trade secret issues in Texas were a matter of common law.  As previously discussed on this blog, the Texas legislature finally considered adopting the Uniform Trade Secrets Act this year.  The proposed Act is quoted in the prior blog article. The legislature passed the Act, and the governor signed it into law on May… Read More »