Hawaii Employment Law Decisions April 17, 2016 to April 23, 2016 – Jeffrey S. Harris

District court erred by denying claim for pension benefits, because the plan and successor employer had burden to show whether former employee worked enough hours for predecessor's employer affiliates that participated in the plan to qualify for benefits, once former employee showed he worked some hours for affiliates who may have participated.  Barton v. ADT Sec. Servs. Pension Plan, 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 7216 (9th Cir. April 21, 2016).

District court did not err by denying motion for class certification, because former employee failed to show employer had common policy of forcing hourly employees to miss meal breaks or take short or late meal breaks.  Employer's lack of a policy to pay for short or late meal breaks did not show employer forced employees to take them.  Coleman v. Jenny Craig, Inc., 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 7164 (9th Cir. April 20, 2016).

District court did not err by denying motion for preliminary injunction, because agent was unlikely to show agency violated Rehabilitation Act by relying on staffing needs to deny his second request for transfer from District of Columbia to California to care for his wife's preexisting disabilities.  Bukuri v. Lynch, 2016 U.S. App. 7057 (9th Cir. April 19, 2016).

District court did not err by granting summary judgment against sex discrimination claim, because being subject of seven complaints by patients and hospital staff was legitimate non discriminatory reason for firing former employee.  She did not show the reason was pretext or that decision-maker was influenced by another manager's derogatory religious comment.  Resnick v. Burwell, 2016 U.S. App. 7052 (9th Cir. April 19, 2016).

Former employer was entitled to preliminary injunction enforcing one year non compete agreement under Oregon law, because former employer voluntarily limited competition restriction to reasonable geographical area.  Former employee's comparable responsibilities with new employer created substantial risk he would use proprietary information he acquired from former employer to divert business.  The harm from his violation was intangible and difficult to quantify.  The former employee could work in his area of expertise outside the geographical area.  Former employer was entitled to equitable extension of the one year, because the one year term benefited the former employee and he could not be allowed to avoid the agreement by dilatory tactics or the delay incident to litigation.  Ocean Beauty Seafoods, LLC v. Pac. Grp. Acquisition Co., Inc., 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 6983 (9th Cir. April 18, 2016).

Neither union nor employer were entitled to summary judgment whether to compel arbitration of  union's grievance over employer's unilateral implementation of a wage schedule for a new position as part of its last best and final offer after collective bargaining agreement expired and parties reached bargaining impasse.  The employer's implementation of the wage schedule did not involve facts and occurrences arising before expiration, infringe a right accruing or vesting under the expired agreement or involve a contract right surviving expiration of the agreement.  The employer's unilateral implementation could not have included arbitration requiring mutual consent.  The parties' later agreement grievances arising during the period when the employer implemented the wage schedule 'would be handled according to the grievance and arbitration procedure' was ambiguous whether the grievances would automatically proceed to arbitration, regardless of union's failure to timely comply with the grievance procedure.  Int'l Bhd. of Elec. Workers Local 1357 v. Hawaiian Telcom, Inc., 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 54047 (D. Haw. April 22, 2016).

District court declined to reconsider dismissal of complaint, because pro se plaintiff failed to show he satisfied requirements for bringing a qui tam action or exhausted his discrimination, harassment and retaliation claims by filing charges with the EEOC or HCRC.  He alleged no Section 1983 claim and his FLSA claims were untimely.  Navaja v. Honolulu Acad. of Arts, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 51497 (D. Haw. April 18, 2016).

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