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High court to tackle immigrant rights, standards for cases

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Employment Law,Human Resources

Nearly half the cases accepted for review so far in the U.S. Supreme Court's new term are business related, the highest amount in at least nine years, according to the National Chamber Litigation Center. YATL reviewed many of the key employment cases in the September issue. Here are two more added to the docket since then:

Swierkiewicz v. Sorema (No. 00-9010) involves how much proof a worker must present upfront to avoid having a discrimination case dismissed. Lower courts threw out the case of a Hungarian-born U.S. citizen who accused his former employer of national origin and age discrimination.

Akos Swierkiewicz worked for a French-owned company in New York. He says the CEO talked about wanting to "energize" his department before shifting most of Swierkiewicz's responsibilities to a younger French national. Swierkiewicz says he was cut out of business decisions and meetings, and he told the company he had no choice but to resign. The company fired him instead.

Hoffman Plastic Compound Inc. v. National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) (No. 1595) involves whether the NLRB can order a company to fork over nearly $67,000 in back pay to an illegal immigrant.

The plastics company was accused of unfair labor practices but balked at an NLRB back-pay award to a worker it found was not legally eligible for employment. A lower court said the company must pay the worker for the time until it found out he wasn't a citizen.

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