Hawaii Employment Law Decisions September 11, 2016 to September 17, 2017 – Jeffrey S. Harris

District court did not err by granting summary judgment against race and gender discrimination claim, because employee did not show employer treated similarly situated employees who were not a member of his class differently.  Lal Dev v. EFB Patrick R. Donahoe, 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 17011 (9th Cir. Sept. 16, 2016).

District court erred by granting summary judgment against claim airline employer solicited and coerced union removal petition signatures, bypassed union to solicit employees directly and refused to recognize and negotiate with the union, because the six month statute of limitations under the Railway Labor Act was tolled by the union timely notifying the employer it did not agree with its attempts to remove the union and the employer notifying the union it would not mediate only after the mediation board's pre-docketing investigation was finished.  Court of Appeals directed district court to enter summary judgment employer unlawfully coerced and interfered with employees' rights to designate their representative.  District court erred concluding mediation board had exclusive jurisdiction over claim employer unilaterally altered the collective bargaining agreement by stopping dues payments and health plan contributions; because district courts have jurisdiction over major disputes when employers act to undermine unions' representative status.  Court of Appeals directed district court to enter summary judgment employer unlawfully failed to maintain existing working conditions until RLA dispute resolution mechanisms were complete, if the district court found the employer stopped dues payments within the six-month statute of limitations.  The employer violated RLA by refusing to mediate.  Herrera v. Command Security Corp., 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 16802 (9th Cir. Sept. 14, 2016).

District court did not err by determining California Agricultural Labor Relations Board Regional Director had no absolute immunity against claims stemming from decision to impound decertification election ballots pending resolution of unfair labor practice complaints.  Regional Directors had qualified immunity and employee could allege violation of no clearly defined constitutional right.  Lopez v. Shiroma, 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 16834 (9th Cir. Sept. 14, 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.