Supreme Court Begins New Term with Four Employment Cases

The U.S. Supreme Court begins its new term today with four employment law cases on the docket. There are currently no obvious potential landmark cases, but that could change as the Court grants review of more cases.

Interestingly, the two cases businesses are paying the most attention to are not employment cases. In Comcast Corp. v. Behrend, the Court is set to clarify the types and amount of proof plaintiffs must produce to satisfy federal rules for bringing class action lawsuits and the standards district courts should use to evaluate such evidence. This decision has potentially important implications for employment class actions. And, in Fisher v. University of Texas, the Court will decide a white student’s claim that UT violated her Fourteenth Amendment equal protection rights by considering race in rejecting her for admission. This decision could affect affirmative action in employment as well. 
The pending employment cases are:
Vance v. Ball State University – the justices will consider whether an employee must have authority to hire, fire, demote, or discipline an alleged harassment victim to be a “supervisor” under Title VII and render the employer vicariously liable.
Genesis Health Care Corp. v. Symczyk – the Court will consider whether an employer’s offer of judgment that fully satisfies a sole named plaintiff’s wage claim moots a collective action under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act.
US Airways Inc. v. McCutchen – the justices will consider whether an employer health plan can seek reimbursement from plan participants who collect medical benefits from the plan and then receive personal injury settlements.
Kloeckner v. Solis – the Court will decide whether a federal district court can consider a fired federal employee’s discrimination and retaliation claims in a “mixed case” including civil service claims when the Merit Systems Protection Board did not rule on the merits of the bias claims, or whether such cases must go to the federal circuit.
MSEC will provide updates as these cases are decided.