Hawaii Employment Law Cases July 2, 2017 to July 8, 2017 – Jeffrey S. Harris

U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals

District Court properly granted summary judgment against sex and age discrimination claims because applicant failed to raise a genuine dispute of material fact whether employer’s legitimate, nondiscriminatory reasons for not hiring her were pretextual.  District Court properly granted summary judgment against applicant's disability discrimination claim because applicant failed to raise a genuine dispute of material fact on whether her hearing loss constituted a disability.  Sutton v. Zinke, 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 12095 (9th Cir. July 6, 2017).

Mortgage underwriters were entitled to overtime compensation under the Fair Labor Standards Act because the administrative employee exemption did not apply to them.  The mortgage underwriters' primary job duty did not relate to the bank's management or general business operations; their duties involved the heart of the bank’s marketplace offerings, not the internal administration of the business.  McKeen-Chaplin v. Provident Sav. Bank, 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 11950 (9th Cir. July 5, 2017).

Union did not breach duty of fair representation because excluding retirees who received early separation payments when it was uncertain what would be the ultimate value of the bankruptcy equity they would receive for making bargaining concessions was not wholly irrational or plausibly discriminatory or in bad faith.  Demetris v. Local 514, Transp. Workers Union of Am., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 11945 (9th Cir. July 5, 2017).

District Court properly granted summary judgment against racial discrimination claim relating to an unfilled position because employee failed to raise genuine dispute of material fact whether after his rejection, the position remained open and employer continued to seek applicants from persons of his qualifications. District Court properly granted summary judgment against racial and disability discrimination claims arising from allegations other than the unfilled position because employee failed to raise genuine dispute of material fact whether employer's asserted nondiscriminatory reasons for its actions were pretextual. District Court properly granted summary judgment against employee’s retaliation claim because he failed to raise genuine dispute of material fact whether employer's asserted non-retaliatory reasons for its actions were pretextual.  Green v. Mnuchin, 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 11977 (9th Cir. July 5, 2017).

District Court properly granted summary judgment against Family and Medical Leave Act claims as time-barred because employee did not establish employer wilfully violated FMLA by demanding adequate certification before approving his requests for leave.  District court properly granted summary against discrimination claim because employee relied on stray remark insufficient to show discrimination and did not show the employer treated him differently than similarly situated employees of different races.  District Court properly granted summary judgment against retaliation claim.  Former employee did not show connection between his filing a complaint and adverse actions that were the next step in a continuing course of action that began before he filed complaint or occurred four or more months afterwards.  Former employee did not show employer’s legitimate reasons for the adverse actions were pretextual or other evidence of retaliatory action.  District Court properly granted summary judgment against employee’s Equal Pay Act claim because comparators had no common core of tasks.  Hollowell v. Kaiser Found. Health Plan of the Northwest, 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 11826 (9th Cir, July 3, 2017).

District Court properly entered judgment after bench trial against ADA claim, based on finding breakdown in interactive process resulted from employee's inadequate effort and lack of communication, and employer had legitimate basis for its adverse actions.  District Court properly entered judgment on employee’s retaliation claim, because her violations of company procedure and failure to renew her license broke any causal link between her protected activity and adverse action. Phillips v. Victor Cmty. Support Servs., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 11824 (9th Cir. July 3, 2017).

Magistrate judge improperly granted summary judgment, by erroneously concluding employee’s amended complaint naming correct employer did not relate back to filing of complaint naming incorrect employer.  Relation back analysis must focus on what correct employer reasonably should have understood about employee’s filing complaint against incorrect employer.  Complaint alleged termination while employee worked in a store with signs and other markings naming incorrect employer, correct employer did not register to do business in the state, and both employers have the same address, service representative and attorney.  Myers v. Checksmart Fin., LLC, 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 11834 (9th Cir. July 3, 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.