Hawaii Employment Law Decisions August 14, 2016 to August 20, 2016 - Jeffrey S. Harris

U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals

Seller's employees were not entitled to past service credit under the plain terms of the buyer's retirement plan.  Seller's employees could seek reformation of the plan based on claim buyer breached fiduciary duty by not adequately informing them they were not entitled to past service credit.  Seller's employees could not claim summary plan description did not contain the needed information, because they relied on the buyer's oral representations about past service credits and not the summary plan description terms.  Moyle v. Liberty Mutual Retirement Benefit Plan, 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 15202 (9th Cir. Aug. 18, 2016).

District court erred by granting summary judgment against ADA discrimination and retaliation claim, because employee raised triable issue of fact whether employer placing employee on unpaid leave while it delayed the interactive process for two months violated the ADA.  District court erred by excluding letter from EEOC finding reasonable cause to believe there was a violation of the ADA and a medical release that appeared genuine on its face.  Although the employer's contractual obligation to conduct a fitness for duty evaluation provided a legitimate reason for placing the employee on paid leave, it provided no reason for leaving the employee to unpaid leave, especially when employee was given option of changing to unpaid leave or being fired.  Dawson v, Akal Security Inc., 2016 U.S. App. Lexis 15053 (9th Cir. Aug. 16, 2016).

District court did not err by granting summary judgment against ADA discrimination claim, because there was no issue of fact whether the employee would perform the essential functions of his job with or without reasonable accommodation.  Employee admitted his condition prevented him from performing essential functions.  His doctor concluded he could not perform functions for an unknown period.  Since employee met with human resources to discuss two alternative positions he was not qualified for and raised no other options because he did not believe there was any sense in doing so, employer was not responsible for breakdown in interactive process.  Employer had no duty to create light duty position.  Hansen v. Robinson Nevada Mining Co., 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS (9th Cir. Aug. 15, 2016).