Hawaii Employment Law Decisions May 1, 2016 to May 7, 2016 – Jeffrey S. Harris

District court correctly vacated grievance committee award requiring employee to arbitrate statutory wage claims under collective bargaining agreement.  Committee recognized and ignored applicable law requiring agreement to contain clear and unmistakable agreement to arbitrate statutory wage claims.  Requirement applied to labor as well as discrimination claims, because agreement to arbitrate is a waiver of the right to seek relief from a court in the first instance rather than a waiver of the statute's substantive rights.  Collective bargaining agreement did not contain clear and unmistakable agreement to arbitrate statutory claims, because it did not explicitly refer to the statutes; historical practice was insufficient.   Wawock v. Man CSI Elec. Contractors, Inc., 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 8348 (9th Cir. May 5, 2016).

Statute of limitations barred former employee's claim, because employer discharged him and union failed to timely process his grievance more than six months before he filed the lawsuit.  Hernandez v. SH Levy Premium Foodservice, LP, 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 8031(9th Cir. May 3, 2016).

District court correctly concluded federal immigration policy facially preempted Arizona's identify theft laws which prohibit using a false identity to obtain employment.  They are textually neutral; they expressly apply to unauthorized aliens, authorized aliens and U.S. citizens alike.  They may apply to U.S. citizens who use another individual's identity to hide a negative criminal history from a potential employee.  While federal immigration policy may preempt the laws when their enforcement relies on Form I-9 and attached documents, that was not reason to strike down the laws in their entirety.  Puente Arizona v. Arpaio, 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 7895 (9th Cir. May 2, 2016).

District court properly granted summary judgment against claim employer's policy of rounding all employee time stamps to nearest quarter hour deprived employee of earned compensation.  The rounding policy complied with 29 C.F.R. § 785.48(b) and was neutral on its face and as applied to the employee; as it applied to both underpayment and overpayment.  District court properly granted summary judgment against claim employee was not compensated for one minute when he mistakenly opened another program before logging into employer's time-keeping software.  One minute of uncompensated time was deminimusCorbin v, Time Warner Entm't -Advance/Newhouse P'ship, 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 7896 (9th Cir. May 2, 2016).

District court denied reconsideration of summary judgment that statute of limitations barred discrimination claims.  Since employee left workplace in March 2008, no discrimination occurred in the workplace after then. Termination letter sent in October 2011 by director with whom he had no contact did not save his claims.  Chung v. City and County of Honolulu, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 59996 (D. Haw. May 5, 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.