Hawaii Employment Law Decisions April 2 to April 8, 2017 – Jeffrey S. Harris

U.S. Supreme Court

Ninth Circuit improperly reviewed District Court’s decision to quash an EEOC subpoena in discrimination investigation.  District Court quashed EEOC subpoenas seeking pedigree information (names, Social Security numbers, addresses and telephone numbers) of all employees asked to take physical examination in investigation of charge by employee who returned from maternity leave, failed three times and was fired.   Supreme Court explained proper standard of review was abuse of discretion rather than de novo, because whether to enforce the subpoena was case specific and more amenable to district court experience.  McLane Co. v. EEOC, 197 L.Ed. 2d 500, 2017 U.S. LEXIS 2327 (April 3, 2017).

U.S. District Court, District of Hawaii

District Court denied motion to dismiss disability discrimination and retaliation complaint because complaint sufficiently alleged employee was qualified individual with a disability and employer failed to provide him a reasonable accommodation or engage in interactive process.  The court could not determine whether employee exhausted remedies for retaliation claim, because the complaint did not describe content of the employee’s charge.  Jamile v. Island Movers, Inc., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 53653 (D. Haw. April 7, 2017).

District Court denied motion to dismiss disability discrimination complaint because allegation work injury restricted ability to lift over 10 pounds for four months sufficiently plead employee’s disability.  Allegations employee was hired, had no prior warnings and was performing satisfactorily sufficiently alleged employee was qualified. Allegation employee requested, was denied temporary light duty work and was terminated because he could not work without restrictions and because of his disability sufficiently alleged discrimination.  Mesi v. Hoskin & Muir, Inc., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 54009 (D. Haw. April 7, 2017).

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.