Supreme Court Bldg  The Supreme Court is back in session.  Three cases of importance to Human Resources professionals bear watching:

Lawson v. FMR LLC (Fidelity Investments)

Lawson v. FMR LLC asks the Supreme Court to determine whether an employee of a privately-held contractor or subcontractor of a public company is protected from retaliation by Sarbanes-Oxley Act’s (“SOX”) whistleblower provision.  Classic case involving the differences between employees and independent contractors.

National Labor Relations Board v. Noel Canning

NLRB v. Noel Canning will explore the breath of the President’s constitutional recess-appointment power. At issue is whether the President’s recess-appointment power: (i) may be exercised during a recess that occurs within a Senate session or is limited to recesses that occur between Senate sessions; (ii) may be exercised to fill vacancies that exist during a recess or is limited to vacancies that first arose during that recess; and (iii) may be exercised when the Senate is convening in pro forma sessions.

This case is huge  because if the President’s recess appointments are invalid, then the rulings of the NLRB between January 4, 2012 and July 30, 2013 in which these appointees have participated (more than 200) would be called into question.  Depending upon the breadth of the decision, ANY similar appointments could be affected.

Sandifer v. United States Steel Corp.

Under Section 203(o) of the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), an employer need not compensate a worker for time spent “changing clothes” if that time is excluded from compensable time under a collective bargaining agreement. This case asks the Supreme Court to determine what constitutes “changing clothes” in the context of safety wear.

It has been some time since so many HR cases have found their way into a single session.  It promises to be an interesting session.

Hat tip to Andrea BrownMichelle O’Meara, and Jessica Perry  of the Orrick Global Law Group.