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223), the N. Y. Supreme Ct. decided that the plaintiff could not recover unearned wages, when he left service with the consent of the employer, on account of his fear of injury from strikers. The court also disallowed the employer's contention that he be privileged to retain the employee's deposit for faithful performance. In Silbert v. Katz (151 N. Y. Supp. 510) the employee was held not to be entitled to a return of his deposit, on the showing that he liad refused to render the services contracted for, to the employer's injury.
The general principles on which recovery may be had for discharge and the remedies available were announced in Continental Aid Asso. v. Lee (85 S. E. 790, Ct. of App. of Georgia). The remedies which he might elect were: (1) He may bring an immediate action for any special injury received from the discharge; (2) he may wait until the expiration of the term for which he was employed, and sue for the entire amount due him under the contract; (3) he may treat the contract as rescinded and seek to recover upon quantum meruit the value of the services actually performed.
In Akron Milling Co. v. Leiter (107 N. E. 99, App. Ct. of Indiana), it was held that where there is an implied renewal of contract after the expiration of a fixed term, discharge may not be justified upon grounds known to the employer at the time of the implied renewal. Where hiring was for an indefinite period, and the workmen refused to continue labor after having worked continuously for a day and part of the night and were discharged, it was held (The J. P. Schuh, 223 Fed. 455, U. S. District Ct.), that the men were entitled to all of the wages earned. In Halpern v. Langrock Bros. (153 N. Y. Supp. 985) and Gabriel v. Opoznauer (153 N. Y. Supp. 990) employers were held guilty of breach of contract. In Swanson v. Union Pac. Railroad Co. (152 N. W. 744), a contract for life employment was involved.
(c) RESTRICTION ON DISCHARGE-RIGHT OF SILENCE-As violating “the right of silence,” a correlative of the liberty of speech, a Texas statute was declared unconstitutional, which required that the employer furnish the worker with a statement of the cause of discharge, in the case of St. Louis S. W. Ry. Co. v. Griffin (171 S. W. 703, Sup. Ct. of Tex.). Where a certificate of discharge has been given which is injurious and defamatory, proof must be complete as to damages resulting from the unlawful act which interferes with employment. A libel suit, however, may be maintained. This was held in Dick v. No. Pac. Ry. Co. (150 Pac. 8, Sup. Ct. of Wash.). The Massachusetts Court was asked by the legislature whether legislation would be con
sidered constitutional which permitted an employee to demand a hearing, when threatened with discharge the report being indirectly received. The court replied in the negative.
(d) EMPLOYMENT STATUS – MINE GUARDS – That the company was responsible for the acts of armed guards hired by it, the superintendent of the company having instigated the assaults by the guards employed, was the decision arrived at in the case of Pennsylvania Mining Company v. Jarnigan (222 Fed. 889, U. S. Circ. Ct. of App., 8th Dist.) In Ruffner v. Jamison Coal and Coke Co. (Atl. 1075) the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania dealt with a similar case. Here there were no public funds available for the wages of the guards and these were paid by the company. The guards, were held, however, to be acting in a public capacity, and the company was held not to be liable for injurious acts done beyond the proper scope of their authority.
The status of a man boarding a train used exclusively to carry workmen was considered in the case of Schifalaqua v. Atlantic City Railroad Co. (95 Atl. 260). In the case at hand the plaintiff was not an employee, but one seeking employment. The court held that he could not recover damages for injuries incurred in the act, as he was neither an employee nor a passenger.
(e) INTERFERENCE WITH EMPLOYMENT BLACKLISTS—In a Massachusetts case, a striker who had committed unlawful acts was held not to possess "clean hands,” which would enable him to secure redress in a court of equity, where employment had been lost because of his being placed on the blacklist (Cornellier v. Haverhill Shoe Manfg. Assoc. 109 N. E. 643). No proof seemed to be adduced in the trial that the plaintiff had actually participated in the unlawful acts alleged to have been committed by the strikers, but, as he was a member of the union, the court held that he could not avoid responsibility for some of these
For any damage caused by the blacklist, the court held that he must seek redress at a court of law, rather than a court of equity.
The courts of New York and Massachusetts sustained judgment in favor of employees whose discharge was procured by false or unauthorized statements as to assignment of wages by them, in the cases of Scott v. Prudential Outfitting Co. (155 N. Y. Supp. 497) and Kennedy v. Hub Manfg. Co. (108 N. E. 932) respectively.
In Lambert v. State (69 So. 261), the Alabama court set forth the conditions under which the Alabama statute applies which penalizes interference with employment by
hiring away the workman of another under contract with him for service.
Another case of blacklist was decided by the Court of Appeals of Maryland, where it was held that a party placed on the blacklist by associated business men, on the ground that his dealings were inconsistent with just and equitable principles of trade, cannot claim damages as for wrongful or malicious interference, where nothing more is done than to give information in accordance with a mutual agreement without coercion (McCarter v. Baltimore Chamber of Commerce (94 Atl. 541).
Where a notice had been posted by railroad officials that they should not call on a certain physician “in any case” of accident, the physician had a proper case for damages against some of the parties defendant by reason of their action, according to the Supreme Court of Montana in the case of Peek v. No. Pac. Ry. Co. (152 Pac. 421).
VI. Employment Offices. That the State may by statute, on the ground of public policy, prohibit employment agencies from taking fees from persons desiring employment, was decided in Wiseman v. Tanner (221 Fed. 694) by the U. S. Dist. Ct., W. Dist. Wash. This statute did not apply, however, to teachers' agencies (Huntworth v. Tanner, 152 Pac. 523, Sup. Ct. of Wash.)..
The Supreme Court of Michigan upheld the law of that State which provided for license fees graduated according to the population of the cities, and which authorized the commissioner of labor to revoke licenses for violations of law (People v. Brazee, 149 N. W. 1053).
VII. Restriction of Employment. (a) ALIENS—The constitutionality of the New York statute forbidding the employment of aliens on public works was upheld by the Court of Appeals of that State in People v. Crane (108 N. E. 427), and, on appeal, by the U. S. Supreme Court (in Heim v. McCall, 36 Sup. Ct. 78). On the other hand, the last named court held a statute in Arizona unconstitutional, which extended to private employment, and tended to debar from means of livelihood persons legally within the U. S. (Truax v. Raich, 36 Sup. Ct. 7.). The law had provided that aliens should not be employed in a business employing less than 5 workers, and that in such business not more than 20% of the workers should be aliens. No special public interest necessitating such a law was shown according to the court.
(b) EXAMINATION AND LICENSING - That plumber who, contrary to the provisions of law, had secured no license, could not recover for services rendered, was the decision of the Appellate Division of the N. Y. Supreme Court in Gottesman v. Barer (152 N. Y. 128).
VIII. Mines. (a) WASH ROOMS—The U. S. Supreme Court upheld the Indiana statute requiring the establishment of wash rooms for the use of mine employees under certain conditions, in Booth v. Indiana (35 Sup. Ct. 618), while the Supreme Court of Kansas upheld a similar statute passed in that State, in State v. Reaser (145 Pac. 838). In both cases the question of the constitutionality of the statute had been contested.
IX. Railroads. (a) FULL CREWS,An Arkansas statute prescribed "full crews” for railroads of not less than 50 miles in length. In Kansas City Southern Railway Co. v. State (174 S. W. 223), it was held that this law applied to a railroad of more than 50 miles, even though the length of the tracks within the State was less than 50.
(b) SAFETY APPLIANCES--The following were the most important cases dealing with safety appliance laws:
U. S. v. Erie Railroad Co., 35 Supreme Ct., 631 (U. S. Supreme Ct.). U. S. v. Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad Co., 35 Supreme Ct., 634 (U. S. Supreme Ct.). Virginian. Ry. Co. v. U. S., 223 Fed. 748 (U. S. Circ. Ct. of App., 4th Dist.). U. S. v. A. T. & S. F. Ry. Co., 220 Fed. 215 (U. S. Dist. Ct., So. Dist., Calif.). So. Ry. Co. v. Railroad Com. of Indiana, 35 Sup. Ct. 304 (U. S, Sup. Ct.).
They involved questions as to the character of the trains on which brakes should be placed, the definition of railway yards, definition of the word "necessary,” etc.
X. Workmen's Compensation. Seven state courts of last appeal during the year affirmed the constitutionality of workmen's compensation law.
The main points of dispute-outside of the law's unconstitutionality-revolved around the questions as to whether the compensation laws precluded resorting to any other remedy; to what extent the laws could be enforced, when accidents occurred outside of the state and what were the relations between the State and the federal laws. The courts have generally held that the acts have extra-territorial effect. A wide application of State laws has in general been given by the courts, when claimants have been unwilling or unable to sue under Federal laws.
(a) CONSTITUTIONALITY OF STATUTE-In the following cases the constitutionality of compensation laws in various states was upheld:
Wheeler v. Contocook Mills Corp., 94 Atl. 265 (Sup. Ct. N. H.); Memphis Cotton Oil Co. v. Tolbert, 171 S. W. 309 (Ct. of Civ. App. of Texas); Middleton v. Texas Power & Light Co., 178 S. W. 956 (Ct. of Civ. App. of Texas); Mackin v. Detroit-Timkin Axle Co. 153 N. W. 49 (Sup. Ct. of Mich.); Porter v. Hopkins, 109 N. E. 629 (Sup. Ct. of Ohio); Jensen v. So. Pac., 109 N. E. 600 (Ct. of App. of N. Y.); Hunter v. Colfax Consolidated Coal Co., 154 N. W. 1037 (Sup. Ct. of Iowa); Western Indemnity Co. v. Pillsbury, 151 Pac. 398 (Sup. Ct. of Calif.).
(b) APPLICABILITY OF STATUTE_The one case under this division coming before the Supreme Court of the U. S. was the Washington case (No. Pac. Ry. Co. v. Meese, 36 Sup. Ct. 223), in which the court upheld the exclusiveness of the compensation law of Washington as a remedy for an injury to an employee, even when that injury was due to the negligence of third parties.
The distinction between an employee and an independent contractor was noted in the cases of In re Rheinwald (153 N. Y. Supp: 598); In re Powley (154 N. Y. Supp. 426) and State ex rel Virginia & Rainy Lake Co. v. Dist. Ct. (150 N. W. 211 Sup. Ct. of Minn.).
Under the Michigan statute, it was held that police officers were not employees, but officers of the city, and therefore outside of the provisions of the law (Blynn v. City of Pontiac, 151 N. W. 681). In Foth v. Macomber & Whyte Rope Co. (154 N. W. 369), a minor employed unlawfully in a hazardous occupation was permitted to recover under the Wisconsin law. In Rongo v. R. Waddington & Sons (94 Atl. 408), a New Jersey case, the original employer was held responsible for the injuries incurred by a driver hired out by his employer to another person, and receiving injuries during such employment.
In a New York case, false statements concerning the marital conditions of the late employee, who died from injuries while in defendant's employ, was held not to bar his widow from recovering under the act (Kenny v. Union Ry. Co. (152 N. Y. Supp. 117).
(c) RELATION OF STATE TO FEDERAL LAWSDiverse decisions have been rendered during the year on the relation between the State compensation laws and the Federal statutes. Cases involving questions of admiralty, were decided in New York, Connecticut and Washington. In the. first two states, it was declared that an injured person, who