Hawaii Employment Law Decisions from August 30, 2015 to September 5, 2015 - Jeffrey S. Harris

District Court properly granted union's petition to compel arbitration under a collective bargaining agreement. It was for the arbitrator to decide whether the parties' collective bargaining agreement had expired when the union sought to invoke the agreement's grievance and arbitration procedure against the employer, or whether, according to an "evergreen clause," the agreement continued in effect.   Int'l All. Of Theatrical State Emp. And Moving Picture Technicians, Artists, and Allied States v. Insync Show Prod., Inc., 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 15784 (9th Cir. Sep. 4, 2015).

District Court properly granted summary judgment against firefighters and emergency medical personnel claim under the Fair Labor Standards Act.  The employees were not entitled to overtime pay for taking their gear to temporary duty stations because this activity was not integral and indispensable to the principal activities the plaintiffs were employed to perform and therefore was "preliminary" or "postliminary" under the FLSA.  The employer did not violate the FLSA by excluding money paid for leave buybacks from the employee's "regular rate" of pay, which was used to calculate overtime.  Balestreieri v. Menlo Park Fire Prot. Dist., 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 15785 (9th Cir. Sept. 4, 2015).

District Court improperly denied certification of service technicians' class claim that they were entitled to pay for commuting, because there was a common question of disputed fact as to whether the technicians were required to commute in their service vehicles.  District Court properly denied certification of technicians class claim that they were entitled to pay for missed meal and rest breaks, because questions as to why technicians missed their breaks, whether because of their employer's failure to provide them or their own choice to forgo them would predominate over common questions.  Alcantar v. Hobart Serv., 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 15687 (9th Cir. Sept. 3, 2015).

District Court properly granted summary judgment against the former teacher's disparate treatment discrimination claim because he failed to raise a genuine dispute of material fact as to whether his job performance was satisfactory, or whether similarly situated individuals outside of his protected class were treated more favorably.  District Court properly granted summary judgment against the former teacher's disparate impact claim because he failed to raise a triable dispute as to whether the substitute teacher evaluation form caused a disparate impact against his protected classification.  District Court properly granted summary judgment against the former teacher's retaliation claim because he failed to raise a triable dispute as to whether there was a causal link between his protected activity and an adverse employment action. White v. Eastside Union Sch. Dist., 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 15723 (9TH Cir. Sept. 3, 2015).

District Court properly granted summary judgment against mental health hospital employees' race discrimination claim, because avoiding their assignment for a single weekend to care for a particular patient who posed an imminent safety threat to African American employees, was a de minimis change in working conditions rather than an adverse employment action.    Blackburn v. State of Washington Dept. of Social and Health Serv., 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 15406 (9th Cir. Aug. 31, 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.