Articles by: Minal Caron

  • Supreme Court Narrows Miranda

    By Minal Caron, Courts, Criminal Justice February 27, 2012 at 9:41 am 3 comments

    Last Tuesday, the Supreme Court held that police officers do not need to read prison inmates their Miranda rights when questioning them about events unrelated to their current incarceration. The prisoner in this case was questioned without being read his Miranda rights, and during questioning confessed to actions that formed the basis of a criminal sexual conduct conviction. Justice Alito’s opinion concludes that the prison inmate in this case was not “in custody for Miranda purposes” at the time of his questioning, and therefore that Fields was not constitutionally entitled to receive the warnings set out under Miranda.

  • Unpaid Internships: Are They Legal?

    Last week, a former unpaid intern sued her former employer for violating federal and state minimum wage laws. Over one million Americans work as interns each year, and over half are not paid. Many of these unpaid positions should be paid under the Fair Labor Standards Act, but a lack of enforcement has allowed such non-payment to persist.

  • Employment Discrimation and Who is a "Minister"?

    In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court held on Wednesday that a “ministerial exception” barred a parochial school teacher from pursuing an employment discrimination claim against the church that runs the school. This opinion dramatically limits the scope of protection provided to religious employees under the “primary duties” test, the standard previously used by several federal circuits. Although lower courts can continue to carve out areas in which exceptional circumstances may compel the conclusion that the ministerial exception need not apply, “ministers” now receive no protection under civil rights or other discrimination statutes.

  • Fired for Working During a Break?

    By Minal Caron, Labor and Employment October 28, 2011 at 10:28 am 0 comments

    A former Target employee has brought a claim against Target in federal court based upon the Fair Labor Standards Act. The plaintiff’s complaint states that he had complained to Target’s Human Resources Department about having to work during what were supposed to be 30-minute unpaid meal breaks, that Target responded by saying they could not pay him for this work because they “couldn’t pay overtime,” and that Target ultimately terminated him in retaliation for raising these concerns. This complaint may add controversy to Target’s very public fight to prevent unionization that has developed over the past year.

  • Employment Discrimination Law in Parochial Schools

    “[T]his is tough and I’m stuck on this.” Justice Breyer expressed the prevailing theme of the oral arguments before the Supreme Court in Hosanna-Tabor v. EEOC. The oral arguments demonstrated that the justices are having a difficult time delineating the boundaries of the ministerial exception. Professor Laycock sketches out a broad ministerial exception that would prevent judges from interpreting religious doctrines where a church’s interpretation could reasonably vary […]

  • Can You Complain About Work Over Facebook?

    By Minal Caron, Courts, Labor and Employment October 3, 2011 at 10:18 pm 0 comments

    An Administrative Law Judge for the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) recently decided the “first case involving Facebook to have resulted in an ALJ decision.” Judge Arthur Amchan stated that “the only substantive issue in this case . . . is whether by their postings on Facebook, the five employees engaged in activity protected by the [National Labor Relations] Act (NLRA).” Judge Amchan stated that “discussing” employment conditions is protected “regardless of whether there is evidence that such discussions are engaged in with the object of initiating or inducing group action.” Should NLRA protection turn on whether the Facebook post receives a “Like” or a few one-line lighthearted responses by friends who happen to be co-workers?

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