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Hawaii Employment Law Decisions from February 14, 2016 to February 20, 2016 – Jeffrey S. Harris

U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals

District court properly granted summary judgment against disability discrimination claim, because former employee's Hepatitis C was not a physical disability, it was asymptomatic and limited no major life activity and employee did not present evidence that the employer perceived him as limited in a major life activity.  District court properly granted summary judgment against retaliation claim because generalized complaints did not express opposition to age or disability discrimination.  District court improperly granted summary judgment against age discrimination claim, because former employee was over 40, was terminated, offered evidence he was performing satisfactorily at the time of termination and, although he was not replaced, he offered evidence the employer provided younger employees trucks before him, did not offer him training routinely provided to younger workers, did not administer the reduction in force by including criteria that would have favored him, failed to comply with direction that two supervisors rate each employee, selected him based on subjective criteria and artificially lowered his ratings.  Hawkins v. Simplexgrinnell, L.P., 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 2774 (9th Cir. Feb. 16, 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.