Hawaii Employment Law Decisions November 5, 2017 to November 11, 2017 – Jeffrey S. Harris and Rachel K.H. Miyashiro

U.S. Court of Appeals for Ninth Circuit

Identification of Glassdoor.com reviewers.  District Court properly denied Glassdoor, Inc.’s, motion to quash grand jury subpoena requiring identification of eight users who posted anonymous reviews on Glassdoor.com about a company being investigated for fraud, waste and abuse of federal funds.  The reviews supported an inference the reviewers observed fraudulent conduct by the company.  Identification of the users would allow the grand jury investigators to contact and question the employees who had observed potentially fraudulent conduct.  Glassdoor.com’s website had informed the users their identities might be disclosed to comply with subpoenas.  Because Glassdoor did not allege or show bad faith on the part of the government, enforcement of the subpoenas did not violate the First Amendment.  United States v. Glassdoor, Inc. (In re Grand Jury Subpoena), 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 22430 (9th Cir. Nov. 8, 2017).

Conditions of prison work environment.  District Court properly denied motion for new trial on prison employee’s sexual harassment claim.  Evidence supported jury’s finding work environment resulting from four inmate exhibitionism incidents over eight years was not sufficiently severe or pervasive to alter her conditions of employment.  Berndt v. Cal. Dep’t of Corr. & Rehab., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 22197 (9th Cir. Nov. 6, 2017).

Note: We analyze cases to learn rules courts will follow or disappoint us if they do not. Rules courts follow allow us to behave and provide explanations they accept. Competent advocates may limit the rules to the facts of the case that discuss them, or expand the rules by showing differences in other cases are irrelevant.