Hawaii Employment Law Decisions from August 16, 2015 to August 22, 2015- Jeffrey S. Harris

An employee did not allege facts sufficient to show that her eczema substantially limited her in a major life activity and caused her to have a protected disability, the Court of Appeals explained in affirming the district court's dismissal of her disability discrimination complaint for failure to state a claim.  Fee v. Mgmt. & Training Corp., 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 14712 (9th Cir. Aug. 21, 2015).

Federal law governed the question whether a dispute was arbitrable because the Federal Arbitration Act covered the employment agreement, and the parties to the agreement did not clearly and unmistakably designate that nonfederal arbitrability law applied.  The agreement's express incorporation of the Rules of the American Arbitration Association, as part of the arbitration provision, constituted clear and unmistakable evidence that the contracting parties agreed to arbitrate arbitrability. The former employee's failure to make any arguments specific to the delegation of arbitrability to the arbitrator excused any need to more fully consider that issue.  Dismissal of the employee's claims did not moot the employer's motion to seal the case.  Brennan v. Opus Bank, 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 14039 (9th Cir. Aug. 21, 2015).

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 that 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.