For the next three posts, fresh off our examination of the Court’s tort decisions, we’re going to take a close look at the cases and voting in the area of employment law.

Between 1990 and 1999, the Supreme Court decided 22 employment law cases – two in 1990 and 1992, one in 1993, three per year in 1994, 1995 and 1996, two in 1997, four in 1998 and two in 1999.

During the 1990s, the employment law cases the Supreme Court was taking were overwhelmingly plaintiffs’ wins at the Court of Appeal – 15 plaintiffs wins for the decade to only 7 defense wins.  Between 1990 and 1994, the Court accepted eight plaintiffs wins and zero defendants’ wins.

Because the Court took relatively few defendants’ wins, our chart of how those defendants fared at the Supreme Court is based on a very small sample size.  For the decade – more precisely, from 1995, when the Court accepted its first defense win, to 1999 – defendants who won below went 3-4 at the Supreme Court.

Plaintiff wins from the Court of Appeal were more evenly spread across the decade.  During the nineties, plaintiffs who won at the Court of Appeal won eight times and lost seven at the Supreme Court.

Overall, adding together defendants who successfully defended Court of Appeal wins and those who prevailed despite losing below, defendants were ten wins and twelve losses in employment law cases between 1990 and 1999.

Most of the Court’s employment law cases during these years related to issues of tort and contractual liability between employees and employers.  Fourteen cases involved liability issues, five involved discrimination, and three involved wage and hour claims and collective bargaining issues.

During the 1990s, Justice Baxter led the Court in votes for employment law defendants’ positions with ten.  Chief Justice George had nine, Justice Mosk had eight and Justice Arabian had seven.

The Court leaders in votes against the position of employment law defendants were Justice Kennard with sixteen votes, Justice Mosk at thirteen, Chief Justice George at eleven and Justice Baxter at ten.

The Court’s employment law docket shot up considerably during the first decade of the century, as the Court decided fifty-two cases.  The Court decided five cases in 2000, two in 2001, six per year in 2002, 2003 and 2004, four in 2005, six in 2006, four in 2007, six in 2008 and seven in 2009.


Join us back here next week as we continue our trip through the employment law docket.

Image courtesy of Flickr by Jeff P (no changes).