Hawaii Employment Law Decisions May 22, 2016 to May 28, 2016 – Jeffrey S. Harris

Supreme Court of the United States

Constructive discharge claim accrued under Title VII and statute of limitations began to run when employee notified employer of resignation, not when he allegedly suffered intolerable working conditions from discrimination.  Green v. Brennan, 2016 U.S. LEXIS 3484 (May 23, 2015).

U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals

District Court erred by granting summary judgment against age and disability discrimination claim.  Former employee raised genuine issues of material fact by offering specific and substantial evidence whether the reason for his layoff selection was pretext for discrimination.  He showed employer hired him to settle discrimination charge he filed, he met or exceeded expectations and was an exemplary team member for 18 years yet was isolated and ignored by department head, head manipulated results of human resources study to single him out for layoff and she repeatedly lied during her deposition about her involvement in the study.  Schwartz v. VCF Clark County, 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 9737 (9th Cir.  May 27, 2016).

District court did not err by granting summary judgment against disability discrimination claim, because former employee failed to raise triable issue whether he was disabled due to heart condition or side effects of medication.  District court did not err by granting summary judgment against religious discrimination claim, because employer fully accommodated former employee's request not to work on Sundays from time he made it.  District court did not err by rejecting retaliation claim, because there was no evidence managers knew former employee filed discrimination charge before they decided to fire him.  Hurst v. Falcon Air Express, Inc., 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 9593 (9th Cir. May 25, 2016).

Evidence management lost trust and confidence because manager reported racist email to lower rank employee rather than employee relations department according to company policy was legitimate reason allowing jury to reasonably conclude employer's decision to terminate manager was likely not retaliatory. Peterson v. Nat'l Sec. Technologies, 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 9506 (9th Cir. May 24, 2016).

ERISA did not cover stock rights plan with purpose to provide incentives for officers to continue service rather than retirement or systematically deferred income.  Rich v. Shrader, 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 9488 (9th Cir. May 24, 2016).

District court erred by compelling arbitration of statutory discrimination claim under collective bargaining agreement, because agreement did not clearly and unmistakably require employee to arbitrate claim.  Agreement only required arbitration when compliance with agreement conflicted with employee's rights under the statute and did not address employee's right to bring statutory claim.  Salas v. AJW Anheuser-Busch Sales of South Bay, Inc., 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 9432 (9th Cir. May 23, 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.