For the past several weeks, we’ve been analyzing areas of law, looking at the data regarding what kinds of cases the court takes and what the individual Justices’ voting records on the issue are. Today, we begin a new one: employment law.
Between 1990 and 1999, the Court decided only nineteen employment law cases: four in 1990, two each in 1991 and 1992, one in 1994, three in 1996, two in 1997, four in 1998 and one in 1999.
Across the same period, the Court accepted more cases for review won by the defendant below than cases won by the plaintiff: eleven defense wins, eight plaintiffs’ wins.
Between 1990 and 1999, defendants had a reasonable degree of success defending decisions which they had won below, winning seven and losing four.
Plaintiffs also were having good success during the decade, successfully defending seven of their Court of Appeal wins while losing only one.
Although the Court has tended at times to incline towards the defense viewpoint in several of our earlier analyses, employment law was different, at least during the 1990s. For the decade, disregarding who won below, defendants in employment law cases was eight but lost eleven.
Next we drill down a bit on what kind of employment law cases the Court was deciding. We divide the cases into five categories: (1) tort and contract liability; (2) discrimination; (3) wage and hour cases and collective bargaining; (4) public employment; and (5) other. During the decade, the Court decided five tort and contract liability cases, three discrimination cases, seven cases involving wage and hour claims and collective bargaining issues, three involving public employment and one case in “other.”
Across the decade, the Justices who most often supported employment law defendants’ position were Justice Miller (nine votes), Justices Heiple and Bilandic (7 each) and Justices Freeman and McMorrow (6 each).
The Justices who most frequently voted against employment law defendants during the decade were Justices Heiple and Bilandic (nine votes each), Justice Clark (8 votes), Justice Harrison (7 votes), and Justice Moran (6 votes).
We noted at the outset that employment law cases were relatively uncommon during the 1990s – but they were even more so the following decade. Between 2000 and 2009, the Court decided only fourteen employment law cases – two in 2001, three in 2002 and 2005, one per year in 2006, 2007 and 2008 and three in 2009.
Join us back here next week as we continue our analysis of the Court’s employment law cases.