Procedure Matters: Fourth Circuit Holds 180-Day Waiting Period for Federal Employees to File Suit is Not Jurisdictional

By Zachary Anstett

In a published opinion on January 8, 2019, the Fourth Circuit concluded that Section 2000e-16(c), which applies to federal government workers, is not a jurisdictional requirement. The 180-day waiting period is instead a prudential prerequisite to suit. Because of the Court’s holding, employers will need to use Rule 12(b)(6) when claiming that the plaintiff failed to wait the required 180 days.

This case, Stewart v. Iancu, 17-1815, 2019 WL 122868 (4th Cir. Jan. 8, 2019), involved a federal employee alleging, among other things, disability discrimination, retaliation, and hostile work environment under the Rehabilitation Act and Title VII. The panel, consisting of Chief Judge Gregory and Judges Wynn and Motz, reversed the District Court and remanded for further proceedings.

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Fourth Circuit Update

By Sean F. Herrmann

The Fourth Circuit has been relatively quiet on the labor and employment front. But on October 19, 2018, through an unpublished per curium opinion, it affirmed summary judgment in an employment case — Nzabandora v. Rectors and Visitors of the University of Virginia; Commonwealth of Virginia, No. 17-2350 (4th Cir. Oct. 19, 2018). So let’s take a look at it. 

The plaintiff appealed the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia’s dismissal of her disparate treatment (race), retaliation, and hostile work environment Title VII claims. The plaintiff also brought a race discrimination claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1981, but she did not argue it on appeal, so she waived it. The Court also found that she waived her retaliation claim by not briefing pretext.

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The Consequences Of A Trade War With China


By Sophie Allen

Last spring, Director of the White House National Trade Council Peter Navarro responded to a question about the risk of imposing unilateral tariffs saying, “I don’t believe any country is going to retaliate for the simple reason that we are the most lucrative and biggest market in the world. They know they’re cheating us, and all we’re doing is standing up for ourselves.”

Eight months and several rounds of tariffs later, the U.S. and China have failed to come to an agreement on trade between the two nations. While U.S. and Chinese leaders have expressed their interest in reaching a deal at the G20 Summit in Argentina on November 30, a lack of progress on key issues makes a cease-fire increasingly unlikely.

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Gov. Cooper’s Executive Order On LGBTQ Employment Rights: An Effective Mandate For State Agencies and Contractors Or a Toothless Tiger?

By Logan H. Shipman

On Oct. 18, 2017, Gov. Roy Cooper signed Executive Order No. 24, and he tweeted that North Carolina was taking “another step forward” in making North Carolina a more “welcoming place to all.”  The EO prohibits discrimination, harassment, or retaliation on the basis of any of the following protected classes:

race, color, ethnicity, national origin, age, disability, sex, pregnancy, religion, National Guard or veteran status, sexual orientation, and gender identity or expression.

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Legislative Update

By Laura Wetsch and Faith Herndon

We are your legislative co-chairs for this long session.  Over the past few weeks, we have seen a number of bills that will potentially impact your practice or your clients.  Many of these bills are not likely to pass, but it is too soon to say which will die a lonely, miserable death in a rules committee.  We will try to keep you updated, but here’s the list of bills we are watching, so far:

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