Hawaii Employment Law Decisions from May 31 to June 6 - Jeffrey S. Harris

An employer violated Title VII, because it refused to hire an applicant at least partly because she was wearing a headscarf for what it suspected were religious reasons. EEOC v. Abercrombie & Fitch Stores, Inc., 135 S. Ct. 2028 (June 1, 2015).

A pension based on a service related disability is taxable to the extent that the amount is determined by a beneficiary's age or length of service, even though the beneficiary's retirement is occasioned by an occupational injury or sickness. Campbell v. U.S., 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 9419 (9th Cir. June 5, 2015).

For the purpose of the deadline for filing a lawsuit ninety days after receipt of a right to sue letter, the filing date of a complaint is the date it is delivered to the court clerk, whether it is submitted with or without an in forma pauperis application. Escobedo v. Applebee's, 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 9313 (9th Cir. June 4, 2015).

A district court must conduct a searching inquiry regarding settlement with an uncertified class, when the class counsel receives a disproportionate share of the settlement, the defendants agree not to object to class counsel's fees and unclaimed amounts of settlement payments to the purported class members revert to defendant. Allen v. Bedola, 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 9139 (June 2, 2015).

A city ordinance requiring contractors who operate at the city's airports to pay their employees $14.80 per hour minimum wage or $10.80 per hour minimum wage plus health benefits is not preempted by ERISA, the Airline Deregulation Act or the Railway Labor Act. Calop Bus. Sys. v. City of L.A., 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 91689 (9th Cir. June 2, 2015).

A developer could not enforce an arbitration agreement against homeowners, because the agreement was ambiguous as it conflicted with the provision of a related document stating that venue would be in circuit court. The arbitration agreement was procedurally and substantively unenforceable; procedurally because it was drafted and offered by the stronger of the contracting parties on a take this or no other basis and buried in a separate document; substantively because it (1) effectively precluded all discovery; (2) eliminated rights to punitive, exemplary and consequential damages; (3) required that all claims and underlying facts be kept secret and (4) imposed a one-year statute of limitations. Narayan v. The Ritz-Carlton Mgmt. Co., Inc. 2015 Haw. LEXIS 122 (Haw. June 3, 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.