Hawaii Employment Law Decisions June 5, 2016 to June 11, 2016 – Jeffrey S. Harris

U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals

District court did not err certifying class of sales associates who employer allegedly required to perform tasks unrelated to sales but paid only sales commissions in violation of California Law, because question whether employer required associates to perform unrelated tasks was common question capable of class wide resolution, and any failure by employer to pay for unrelated tasks caused the associates injury, regardless of whether calculation of their individual damages could be performed on a class wide basis.  Vaquero v. Ashley Furniture Ind., Inc., 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 10365 (9th Cir. June 8, 2016).

District court erred dismissing sex discrimination claim against employer and supervisor based on res judicata effect of previously dismissed lawsuit, because previous dismissal was based on failure to serve process and statute of limitations.  Ruiz v. Snohomish Cty. Pub. Util. Dist. No. 1, 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 10366 (9th Cir. June 8, 2016).

District court did not err certifying class of cashiers whom employer allegedly did not provide seating in violation of California law, because district court concluded cashiers performed common tasks the trier of fact would determine could be reasonably performed while seated.  Brown v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 10370 (9th Cir. June 8, 2016).

District court did not err granting summary judgment against claim employer violated Americans with Disabilities by not returning bookkeeping employee to full time position following medical leave.   Church pastor taking  over bookkeeping duties himself for ten months and determining the job could be done by a part time bookkeeper was a legitimate non-discriminatory reason for offering the employee a part time bookkeeping position when she returned which employee did not show was pretextual.  Mendoza v. The Roman Catholic Archbishop GW Man of Los Angeles, 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 10271 (9th Cir. June 7, 2016).

District court did not err granting summary judgment against claim employer unlawfully denied FMLA leave, because employee did not respond to employer's request for information needed to determine employee was entitled to leave.  District court did not err granting summary judgment against claim employer terminated employee for needing leave, because employer set employee's termination in motion months before he needed leave.  Law v. Kinross Gold U.S.A., Inc., 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 10208 (9th Cir. June 6, 2016).

U.S. District Court for District of Hawaii

District court remanded employee's complaint to state court, because employer and supervisor did not show employee could not possibly amend complaint to assert claim against supervisor and defeat removal based on diversity jurisdiction.  Bell v. Terminix Int'l Co. Ltd. P'Ship. Ltd. 2016 U.S. Dist, LEXIS 73207 (D. Haw. June 6, 2016).

Hawaii Intermediate Court of Appeals

Circuit court did not err granting summary judgment against claim employer discriminated because of age by denying workers compensation claim and legal representation.  Agency denied claim and county did not provide legal representation because lawsuit was not related to scope of employee's duties.  Kaloi v. County of Hawaii, 2016 Haw. App. LEXIS 247 (June 8, 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.