Hawaii Employment Law Decisions Feb. 26, 2017 to Mar. 4, 2017 – Jeffrey S. Harris

U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals

District court properly granted summary judgment against claim for failing to adequately compensate employee for overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act.  Breaks not authorized by the employer were not working time.  Sheehy v. Santa v. Santa Clara Valley Trans. Auth., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 3723 (9th Cir. Mar. 1, 2017).

District court properly granted summary judgment against claim for discrimination because of gender.  Employer articulated legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason; pay reduction was because of failure to perform duties.  Employee failed to offer specific and substantial circumstantial evidence reduction was pretext for gender discrimination.  Neither of two other female employees were similarly situated, in misconduct, disciplinary action or decision-makers.  No other male employees engaged in the same misconduct.  There was no logical nexus between the employer's violation of its complaint policy and her discipline.  Derogatory remarks by co-workers were unrelated to the disciplinary action.  There was no dispute of material fact on the reasons for discipline.  Perez v. Alameda County Sheriff's Office, 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 3721 (9th Cir. March 1, 2017).

District court properly granted summary judgment against claim for retaliation because of making discrimination complaints.  Employee's failure to pass required psychological evaluation was legitimate reason for taking her off schedule.  She failed to offer evidence reason was pretext for retaliation.  Robinson v. Alameda County, 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 3650 (9th Cir. Feb. 28, 2017).

District court properly granted summary judgment against claim of retaliation for making discrimination complaints.  Employee first complained after employer rejected promotion applications.  Employer's termination as required by law was legitimate reason.  Employee offered no evidence reason was a pretext for retaliation.  Cole v. Lynwood Unified Sch. Dist., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 3549 (9th Cir. Feb. 27, 2017).

District court properly granted summary judgment against disability discrimination claim because employee failed to state a claim.  District court properly granted summary judgment against retaliation claim because employee failed to raise material fact on whether there was a causal connection between his protected activity and termination.  Velasquez v. Brennan, 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 3526 (9th Cir. Feb. 27, 2016).

District court properly granted summary judgment against Title VII discrimination claims because employee failed to raise material fact on whether employer treated similarly situated male employees more favorably or whether legitimate, non-discriminatory reasons for actions were pretextual.  District court properly granted summary judgment on Equal Pay Act claims because employee failed to raise material fact on whether she was paid less than male employees performing equal or substantially equal work.  District court properly granted summary judgment against Title VII retaliatory discharge claim because employee failed to raise material fact on whether employer's legitimate, non-discriminatory reason for her termination was pretextual.  Griffin v. Boeing Co., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 3545 (9th Cir. Feb. 27, 2017).

District court properly dismissed Title VII discrimination claim.  Former employee failed to sue within 90 days after receiving the right to sue letter. Atkins v. Governing Bd. Of Creighton Sch. Dist., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 3535 (9th Cir. Feb. 27, 2017).

U.S. District Court for District of Hawaii

District court granted motion to dismiss Title VII retaliation, harassment and discrimination claims.  Plaintiff did not file complaint within 90-day statute of limitations.  He did not rebut presumption received right to sue letter within three days after EEOC mailed to him, or suggest any basis to equitably toll the limitations period.  Shareef v. McHugh, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 27360 (D. Haw. Feb. 27, 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.