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Labor Law

The following are digests and case links to Circuit Court Admiralty Cases that have as an issue labor law:

Corrada Betances v. Sea-Land Service
First Circuit Court of Appeals
May 3, 2001

Labor Law: the district court entered summary judgment dismissing plaintiff's wrongful discharge claim based on the following undisputed facts: At the end of his shift on April 21, 1997, Plaintiff left Sea-Land's premises with a fellow supervisor. The pair visited various watering holes, imbibing as they went. Five hours later, they returned to Sea-Land's premises for a car, but did not simply drive away, but, rather, entered the marine department office (where others were still toiling) and engaged in raucous behavior. On April 22, Plaintiff was suspended for two weeks. On November 11, 1997, Plaintiff called the office to say that he would be late for work. When he arrived, he was wearing the same clothes that he had been wearing the day before and a fellow supervisor smelled a strong odor of alcohol on his breath. Various co-workers noticed slurred speech, bloodshot eyes, slumped posture, and other indicia of inebriation. The marine manager spent a few minutes with Plaintiff, obviously disliked what he saw, told Plaintiff that he was in no shape to work, and ordered him to leave the premises. The next day, Sea-Land terminated Plaintiff's employment. Noting that "there is little point in attempting to reinvent a well-fashioned wheel", the First Circuit "declined the invitation" to reverse the district court's summary dismissal of Plaintiff's wrongful discharge claim.

Inlandboatmens Union of the Pacific v. Dutra Construction
Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals
February 7, 2002

Labor Law/Arbitration: Disputes arising under a side agreement that does not contain an arbitration provision must nonetheless be arbitrated if the dispute relates to a subject that is within the scope of the collective bargaining agreement's ("CBA") arbitration clause. Thus, the dispute here over a settlement agreement concerning subcontracting procedures, which is a matter explicitly referred to in the CBA, must be arbitrated under the CBA's broad arbitration clause. 

Harper v. United States Seafoods LP
Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals
January 29, 2002

Labor Law: 46 U.S.C. § 10601, which requires the master of a fishing vessel to "make an . . . agreement in writing" with each crewmember before a voyage, also requires the master's signature on the agreement, and the master's failure to have signed the agreement at issue renders it invalid.

Bora Do v. Ocean Peace Inc.
Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals
January 29, 2002

Labor Law: since plaintiffs worked as initial fish processors on the factory trawler F/T Ocean Peace, they are exempt employees under the "first processing" provision of the Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.C. §§ 201-219, which relieved Ocean Peace from federal minimum wage and hour requirements; but, plaintiffs are not barred from bringing their wages claims by the six-month limitations period for in rem actions contained in 46 U.S.C. § 10602 since their employment agreements were invalid because they lacked a master's signature as required by 46 U.S.C. § 10601.

Brusco Tug & Barge v. NLRB
District of Columbia Court of Appeals
May 1, 2001

Labor Law: the National Labor Relations Board rejected owner's argument that mates on its tugboats are supervisors within the meaning of the National Labor Relations Act, and found that owner, by interfering with its mates' right to organize, had committed an unfair labor practice; but, because the Board failed adequately to explain its decision, the Circuit Court denied enforcement and remanded for further proceedings.

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