Hawaii Employment Law Decisions Dec. 11, 2016 to Dec. 17, 2016 – Jeffrey S. Harris

U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals

Employee benefit trustees had an ongoing duty to reevaluate investments periodically, regardless of whether there was a significant change in circumstances and take into account their power to obtain favorable investment products, particularly when those products were substantially identical - other than to lower cost - to products they had already selected.  District court was directed to try the claim trustees should have switched from retail-class fund shares to institutional-class fund shares to fulfill their ongoing duty.  Tibble v. Edison Int'l., 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 22366 (9th Cir. Dec. 16, 2016).

District court did not err granting summary judgment against claims for discrimination and violation of FMLA.  The employer reasonably accommodated employee's disability by providing him a satisfactory ballistic vest and a combination of paid leave and light duty for two years and not offering any employee more.  District court did not err granting summary judgment against claim for retaliation.  Employer's investigation into employee's pattern of absence and discipline for pattern began long before employee filed a claim, and employee was terminated after receiving several warnings, exhausting paid leave and failing to report to work despite having medical clearance to return.  Employee did not satisfy FMLA eligibility requirement of working 1,250 hours during the previous twelve-month period, despite more generous employer policy.  Muhammad v. Seattle Police Dept., 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 22126 (9th Cir. Dec. 13, 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.