Hawaii Employment Law Decisions from February 22 to February 28 – Jeffrey S. Harris

An employer was not liable for an employee's sexual assault of a customer, under California law.  The assault was due to propinquity and lust and its motivating emotions were not fairly attributable to work-related events or conditions. The employer was not liable for negligent supervision of the employee. There was no evidence that the employer knew or should have known that the employee posed a danger to others. Ferguson v. Horizon Lines, LLC, 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 2858 (9th Cir. Feb. 26, 2015).

A District Court did not erroneously grant an employer summary judgment against a former employee's national origin discrimination and retaliation claims, because the former employee failed to raise a genuine dispute of fact as to whether the employer's legitimate, non-discriminatory reasons for its actions were pretextual. The Court did not erroneously grant the employer summary judgment on her hostile work environment claim, because she failed to raise a genuine dispute of fact as to whether she was subjected to conduct motivated by her race, national origin or her engaging in protected activity, or whether it altered the conditions of her employment and created a hostile work environment. Pushbinder v. Brennan, 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 2872 (9th Cir. Feb. 26, 2015).

A former employee could claim that his employer retaliated because of his whistle-blowing under California law, even though disclosing the information was part of his job duties and his belief was mistaken but reasonable.  Lukov v. Schindler Elevator Corp., 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 2936 (9th Cir. Feb. 24, 2015).

An employer did not offer admissible evidence that discrimination did not cause the adverse action against an applicant. It did not show it relied om a legitimate non-discriminatory reason that related to the ability of the applicant to perform the work in question and applied equally to all applicants. It rejected the applicant based on preferred qualifications, and undermined those qualifications by other facts or statements. It did not disclose the required qualifications beforehand. It did not rule out the possibility that it treated applicants with similar qualifications differently, before or later during the same year. Adams v. CDM Media USA, Inc. 2015 Haw. LEXIS 47 (Feb. 24, 2015).

Circuit Court did not err by affirming an Employment Security Appeals Referee Officer's determination that an unemployment benefit claimant was not able to work because of her care giving responsibilities for her disabled sister. Kadota v. Director, State of Haw. Dep't of Labor and Indus. Relations, 2015 Haw. App. LEXIS 103 (February 26, 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.

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.