The Labor Committee’s report reviews important decisions over the past year in federal employment, labor, and employee benefit laws. The report’s employment law section reviews significant federal court decisions under the major federal employment statutes. Of particular note is a Supreme Court decision that concludes that a plaintiff’s failure to exhaust EEOC remedies prior to suit does not deprive a court of subject-matter jurisdiction. The labor law section addresses several important decisions of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) reversing prior precedent that allowed the use of an employer’s resources for organizational activities. Finally, the employee benefits section of the report addresses two recent Supreme Court decisions—one suggesting further limits on a plaintiff’s ability to bring employer stock drop cases and the other interpreting ERISA’s statute of limitations provision for fiduciary-breach action. In addition, the section reviews an important Ninth Circuit decision concerning whether plaintiffs can be required to arbitrate ERISA fiduciary claims on an individual basis.
A. Employment Law Developments
1. Employment Discrimination
a. Supreme Court Holds That Title VII’s Requirement to Exhaust Administrative Remedies Is Prudential Rather Than Jurisdictional.
In Fort Bend County v. Davis, the Supreme Court held that a plaintiff’s failure to exhaust administrative remedies by filing a discrimination charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) before filing suit under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) does not automatically deprive a federal court of subject-matter jurisdiction.1 The Court further determined that an employer may waive an exhaustion defense by failing to raise it in a timely manner.