Hawaii Employment Law Cases from December 24, 2017 to December 30, 2017 – Jeffrey S. Harris

U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals

District Court properly denied employer’s motion for judgment as a matter of law. Although District Court improperly conflated elements of the former employee’s disparate treatment and failure to accommodate claims, error was harmless.  Since employer knew of former employee’s physical limitations and request for accommodation, it had duty to engage in interactive process.  Evidence supported jury’s verdict reasonable accommodation would have enabled former employee to perform the essential functions of her position.  Dunlap v. Liberty Natural Prods., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 27101 (9th Cir. Dec. 28, 2017).

District Court properly granted summary judgment against disability discrimination claim.  Former employee failed to raise genuine issue of material fact whether his hearing loss was disability.  District Court property granted summary judgment against retaliation claim.  Former employee failed to raise a genuine issue of material fact whether employer’s legitimate non-discriminatory reasons for its actions were pre-textual.  Yates v. West Contra Costa Unified School Dist., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 27010 (9th Cir. Dec. 28, 2017).

Court of Appeals enforced National Labor Relations Board’s order against employer.  Substantial evidence supported Board's determination Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS) did not receive timely notice of parties' dispute before employer unilaterally implemented changes.  Although employer could have relied on union’s notice to FMCS, record did not indicate when notice was filed.  Substantial evidence supported Board’s finding parties broke their impasse by making proposals significant enough to warrant further negotiation.  Board’s conclusion areas under hotel port cochere were non-work areas was rational and consistent with the NLRA.  Conclusive presumption interference with decertification election taints the result was rational and consistent with the NLRA.  Unite Here! Local 878 v. NLRB, 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 26994 (9th Cir. Dec. 28, 2017).

Court of Appeals enforced National Labor Relations Board’s order against employer.  Substantial evidence supported Board's determination employer terminated employee in violation of Act.  Employer did not demonstrate employee’s testimony was inherently incredible or patently unreasonable, especially when Court of Appeals reviewed whole record.  Substantial evidence supported the Board's determination the employer terminated another employee in violation of the Act.  Court of Appeals would not displace Board’s choice between two fairly conflicting views.  Substantial evidence supported Board's finding employer violated Act when it unilaterally stopped scheduling employees by seniority in engineering and maintenance departments.  NLRB v. Remington Lodging & Hosp., LLC, 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 27007 (9th Cir. Dec. 28, 2017).

Note: We analyze cases to learn rules courts will follow or disappoint us if they do not. Rules courts follow allow us to behave and provide explanations they accept. Competent advocates may limit the rules to the facts of the case that discuss them, or expand the rules by showing differences in other cases are irrelevant.