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Employee Rights and Employment Policy Journal

Volume 15 2011 Number 2

The Supreme Court's 2010-2011 Labor and Employment Law Decisions: A Large and "Mixed Bag" for Employers and Employees


L. Camille Hébert

Eleven cases addressing, or relevant to, issues of employment law, employment discrimination, and employee benefits, and none addressing issues of labor law, were handed down by the United States Supreme Court during its 2010-2011 Term. Those decisions addressed issues of retaliation and "cat's paw" liability, as well as the rules affecting class actions in discrimination cases. The Court also issued two opinions addressing public employees' constitutional rights. Cases addressing remedies in employee benefits cases, the tax treatment of student workers, and the preemption of state laws dealing with immigration were also decided by the Court. Two cases, not directly addressing labor and employment law, are likely to have effects on future cases in this area. While a number of the cases decided by the Court favored the interests of employers, some of the cases were favorable to the interests of employees. And some cases are much more difficult to categorize, either because they contained elements both favorable and unfavorable to both employees and employers or because their results will negatively affect both groups. All-in-all, the Court 2010-2011 is likely to be seen as a "mixed bag" for both employees and employers.


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