Chapter 2 The Employment Law Toolkit: Resources for Understanding the Law and Recurring Legal Concepts Notes:

Guide to Reading Cases (43):
- Stare Decisis and Precedent:
o Once a judge renders a decision in a case it is followed in that jurisdiction – the case thus becomes precedent for future cases involving that issue
o Federal Courts consist of trial courts (US District Court for a particular district), courts of speak (US Circuit Court), and the US Supreme Court
 Supreme Court decisions apply to all jurisdictions
 District – they can look to other jurisdictions if no precedent has been set they are not bound to follow it
o States have court systems parallel to the federal court system – trial court, intermediate court of appeals, and a state supreme court
 Once the case is decided by the state supreme court, it can be heard by the US Supreme Court if there is a basis for appealing it to that court
o Federal side, once a case is heard by the US Supreme Court, here is no other court to which it can be appealed
 If they don’t keep with the law’s intended purpose, Congress can pass a law that reflects that determination
- Understanding the Case Information:
o Plantiff (one suing): one who brings a civil action in court (district level)
o Defendant (one being sued): one against who the case is brought (district level)
o Court of appeals or Supreme Court level, the first name reflects who appealed
 Appellant: one who brings an appeal
 Appellee: one against whom an appeal is brought
o Supreme Court Level
 Petitioner: One who appeals a case to the Supreme Court
 Respondent: one against whom a case is appealed at the Supreme Court
o Under the case name is a case citation, full case can be located in a law reporter with it
 Federal Reporters contain the cases of the US Circuit Courts of Appeal from across the country
 Federal Supplement Reporters, contains US district court cases
o Judge or justice – judge oversees the lower courts, higher courts is justices
 CJ stands for chief justice
o Legal terms – legalese
o If the case is a trial decision by the district court based on the merits of the claim, the court will provide relief either for the plaintiff or the defendant
o Motion to Dismiss: request by a defendant for the court to dismiss the plaintiff’s case
 Court will decide that issue and say either that the motion to dismiss is granted or that it is denied (can be appealed to the next court)
o Motion for Summary Judgment: defender’s request for the court to rule on the plaintiff’s case based on the documents submitted, alleging there are no triable issues of fact to be decided
 If dismissed, the court has determined that there is a need for the case to proceed to trial (can be appealed)
o Appellate court – the appeal must be based on errors of law
o Remand is an order by the court of appeals to the lower court telling it to take the case back
o Per curiam – brief decision by the court, and is not issued by a particular judge
- Prima Facie Case
o Case of Action: right provided by law for a party to sue for remedies when certain legal rights is violated
o Prima Facie Case: the evidence that fits each requirement of a case of action
 Claimant established a prima facie case, then the claim may advance
Employment-At-Will Concepts (47):
- Wrongful Discharge and the Employment-at-Will Doctrine
o At-Will Employment: an employment relationship where there is no contractual obligation to remain in the relationships; either party may terminate the relationship at any time, for any reason, as long as the reason is not prohibited by law, such as discriminatory purposes
 Excluded: government employees, employees under a collectable bargaining agreement, or employees who have an individual contract with their employer
o Employer is only prohibited from terminating employees based on what the law dictates
 Any terminated at-will employee may bring suit against the employer, seeking reinstatement or compensatory and punitive damages for the losses suffered on the basis of unjust dismissal or wrongful termination
o State by state approach to addressing the exceptions to the at-will doctrine
 Default rule in 40 out of 50 states, with Montana holding out
- Exceptions to the At-Will Doctrine
o Violation of some recognized public policy, were the employer breaches an implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, or where an implied contract or implied promise to the employee was breached (promissory estoppel)
 65% of the workforce is covered by the at-will doctrine
 Ohio: Implied Contract (yes), Public Policy (yes), Good Faith (no)
- Violation of Public