Hawaii Employment Law Decisions September 18, 2016 to September 24, 2016 – Jeffrey S. Harris

District court erred by dismissing complaint for violation of Title VII and Age Discrimination Act, because complaint and attached exhibits did not obviously state when former employee learned of the alleged discriminatory acts and whether his contact with the investigator was timely.  Daniels v. Donahoe, 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 17268 (9th Cir. Sept. 21, 2016).

District court erred by dismissing age discrimination in hiring claim, because applicant alleged employer did not hire him, he was qualified for the positions for which he applied and the employer hired younger, less qualified individuals.  Whitsitt v. Amazon.com, Inc., 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 17188 (9th Cir. Sept. 20, 2016).

District court did not err by granting summary judgment against Title VII discrimination claim, because employee failed to raise genuine dispute of material fact whether employer's proffered legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason for terminating his employment was pretextual.   Okemgbo v. Washington State Department of Ecology, 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 17091 (9th Cir. Sept. 19, 2016).

District court granted summary judgment against disability discrimination claim.  Even if former employee was disabled, he was not qualified for the technical specialist position.  He was restricted from lifting over 30 pounds following his injury and lifting over 50 pounds was an essential function of the position, according to the job description and plaintiff's testimony.  He did not show reallocating the lifting was reasonable.  The employer reasonably accommodated the employee by giving him medical leave and reassigning him to a lesser vacant position.  District court granted summary judgment against retaliation claim, because employer's engaging in the required interactive process after employee filed a discrimination charge was not an adverse employment action sufficient to support the claim.  Pfendler v. Liberty Dialysis-Hawaii, LLC, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 130011 (D. Haw. Sept. 22, 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.