Hawaii Employment Law Decisions June 26, 2016 to July 2, 2016 – Jeffrey S. Harris

U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals

District court properly dismissed federal discrimination claims on summary judgment, because former employee offered no evidence showing similarly situated employees were treated more favorably or direct evidence of racial animus.  District court properly dismissed retaliation claims on summary judgment, because former employee failed to put forward direct evidence of pretext or substantial and specific circumstantial evidence showing pretext; when the only evidence was the temporal proximity between his reporting to the ethic hotline and later employment actions, and there was no evidence any of the decision makers knew about his hotline report.  Veloz v. Pacific Gas and Electric Co., 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 12156 (9th Cir. July 1, 2016).

U.S. District Court, District of Hawaii

District court denied employee's motion to vacate arbitration award, because employee did not show arbitrator was evidently partial by correctly characterizing his claims as contractual, arbitrator refused to consider material evidence, arbitrator exceeded her powers by applying the Pennsylvania statute of limitations, or the parties waived the deadline for demanding arbitration and the employee did not timely file his motion to vacate.  Balberdi v. Fedex Ground Package System, Inc., 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 84733(D. Haw. June 29, 2016).

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.