The Inbox - June 28, 2013 - You Couldn't Make This Stuff Up Edition

| Marcus, Ellen

  • Chinese workers at the Beijing factory of U.S. company Specialty Medical Supplies are using a unique negotiation tactic in a dispute over severance pay:  they have barricaded the company's owner in the factory for going on five days.
  • The Iowa Supreme Court decided to reconsider its ruling in December (which we reported on at the time) that dental assistant Melissa Nelson could not have her gender discrimination claim against her former boss James Knight tried to a jury.  In December, the all-male court agreed with the trial court that - even though Knight advised Nelson that she would know her clothes were too revealing if his pants were bulging and later fired her at his wife's urging - no reasonable juror would find that Nelson's gender was a motivating factor in Knight's decision to fire her.
  • The New York Court of Appeals has ruled in the case against Starbucks over its tip-pooling practices that was brought by baristas, shift supervisors and assistant store managers ("ASMs") that employees with meaningful authority or control over subordinates (which can fall short of the power to fire subordinates) may not, under New York law, share in the tip pool.  You may recall (as we reported here) that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit certified this question to New York's highest state court late last year.  It is now up to the Second Circuit to decide how to apply the New York court's ruling in the particular circumstances of the Starbucks case.
  • A Georgia federal court has dismissed a religious discrimination lawsuit filed by a nursing supervisor against a hospital after the hospital demoted her following an investigation into her urging of a subordinate nurse to stop "the practice of homosexuality" as un-Christian. 
  • The Board of Men's Warehouse has further elucidated its reasons for kicking out George Zimmer, the company's founder and executive chairman, last week - including that Zimmer apparently advocated for selling the company and was met with resistance in management and on the Board.