Hawaii Employment Law Cases June 18, 2017 to June 24, 2017 – Jeffrey S. Harris

U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals

Employee stated claim against employer’s attorney under the anti-retaliation provisions of the Fair Labor Standard Act, by alleging attorney planned for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to take him into custody at a scheduled deposition and then remove him from the United States.  Arias v. Raimondo, 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 11074 (9th Cir. June 22, 2017).

District Court properly granted summary judgment against claim police department discriminated based on former employee’s Christian faith by not allowing her to express disapproval of homosexuality, because department’s interest in maintaining a discrimination and harassment free work environment outweighed any First Amendment right she had to express her religious views.  Former employee failed to show department discriminating against lesbian volunteer, making homophobic remarks and lying about both were pretexts for firing her because of religion.  Flanagan v. City of Richmond, 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 10782 (9th Cir. June 19, 2017).

District Court properly granted summary judgment against employee claim employer discriminated based on her pregnancy by reclassifying personal time as sick leave and denying her call in request for eight hours of paid sick leave, because company policy allowed reclassification and she failed to show employer treated non-pregnant employees more favorably.  District Court properly granted summary judgment against claim employer denied accommodation allowing pregnant employee to work less than eight hours a day, because company allowed her to work less than eight hours, paid her for some of the period, gave her FMLA leave for the rest of the period and treated no similarly situated employee more favorably.  Washington v. Donahoe, 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 10786 (9th Cir. June 19, 2017).

Hawaii Intermediate Court of Appeals

Union articulated legitimate nondiscriminatory reasons for employee’s termination based on the staff reorganization when a new district representative was appointed and considering employee’s relative ability to perform the dispatch work compared to other employee, since there was little or no other probative evidence of discrimination and employee's qualifications were not so significantly better than the other employee’s qualifications no reasonable employer would have chosen the latter applicant over the former.  Nozawa v. Operating Eng’rs Local Union No. 3, 2017 Haw. App. LEXIS 262 (June 21, 2017).

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