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Employment Law
SUNY Buffalo Law School
Avery, Diane

Employment Law
Professor Avery
Fall 2008

EXAM
· Fictional state so can use common law from other states to make arguments, assume highest state ct has not made ruling on subject yet
o Can rely on US Sup Ct precedent
o Sister circuits
o Fed law
o Other states laws
· When writing assume everyone knows what the facts are

THE EMPLOYMENT RELATIONSHIP

Employment law deals w/the individual vis-à-vis the state

LEMMERMAN v. A.T. WILLIAMS OIL COMPANY
Overview: Son of mother who worked at gas station did odd jobs for owner of station. Legal qu – is Shane the child an employee or not? If Shane is not employee he can sue oil co in tort for negl (lost wages, pain and suffering, punitive damages possible). If an employee is injured have to file under workers comp (medical, wages), workers comp is exclusive remedy and don’t have to prove negl (no fault) but don’t get pain and suffering or punitive damages

Rule: Illegally hired minor covered under workers comp so employer can’t escape worker’s comp liability by hiring minors. Ct construe worker’s comp statute as broadly as possible in this case so next person who is involved in similar situation can recover under workers comp w/out proving negl

ECKIS v. SEA WORLD CORP.
Overview: Receptionist at Sea World received opportunity to ride on Shamu the killer whale on a bikini to promote the comp, she was told it wasn’t a condition of her employment but she did it anyways and was injured

Rule: If what Eckis was doing was in course of employment when injury occurred then exclusive remedy is through workers comp and if no in course of employment she can recover under tort law

Pgs. Xiii-xvi, Chapter 1 pg. 1-49

REGULATING WORK
CHAPTER 1 – ORIGINS

· Employer sovereignty –> Am law developed into at will employment could be terminated by either party, free to K –> collective bargaining and unions –> gov intervention

HISTORICAL ROOTS OF EMPLOYMENT AT WILL

Payne v. The Western & Atlantic Railroad Co. (Tennessee 1884)
Overview: (P) merchant w/ store near (D) RR Co. (P) brought suit after (D) prohibited employees from trading w/(P) on penalty of discharge – interfere w/business relations. Did (D) have right to discharge employees for trading “or any other cause”?

Rule: No reason, bad reason, stupid reason for firing someone is OK, breach of K NOT ok. Ct is saying that if can legally fire anyone for any reason then legally can threaten to do the act. Even employment at will arrangement is a K but, it allows either party to walk away for any reason –> Rule TODAY – “American Rule”. Risk of breach and consequences almost form of coercion. Employer can fire for no rea

Turning Point

West Cost Hotel v. Parrish (Supreme Ct 1937) – min wage law upheld for women because of economic hardship, public interest in guaranteeing it, protective leg for men and women so they don’t depend on public assistance
Accept min wage law but not on same stereotyped grounds as Muller
Protective leg for men and women – fair labor standards
Ct trying to figure out what Const limits of leg are throughout the
During New Deal have rise of regulatory state and regulating like fair labor standards Act, national labor relations act (Wagner Act)
Ct of Appeals of NY upheld the law

THE NEW DEAL LABOR LEGISLATION
· Collective bargaining does not create substantive rights, it protects the process of bargaining, organizing, negotiating K’s and w/in that scheme parties may or may not agree on particular wage but it can’t be less than the current wage
· Protect right to organize and obligated employers to bargain collectively
· NLRA – National Labor Relations Act
· Wagner act – right to organize and bargain collectively, proscribe unfair labor practices