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ICYMI: Our Social Media Posts This Week -- May 18 - 24, 2014

Each Sunday I briefly review the posts (on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter) from the past week.  You can check out the full posts by clicking on the links.

First up, the post on Sunday 5/18/14 was about how the EEOC failure to show disparate impact doomed a credit check bias case. What happened? The EEOC sued Kaplan Higher Education Corp. for considering applicants’ credit history in hiring for certain jobs – which the EEOC alleged was a violation of Title VII.  Sounds viable, right? Well, it might have been, except that the EEOC didn’t show any racial disparate impact. And why not? Because testimony/evidence from the EEOC’s expert was excluded as not meeting appropriate standards. Right thinking, wrong follow-through by the EEOC.

TAKEAWAY: If you believe you have a basis to sue, you better also have something to support that thought. If not, you may be out of court very quickly (and, depending on the facts, law under which suit is brought, and applicable rules of procedure, also find yourself paying the attorneys’ fees for the party you sued).

On Monday 5/19/14 we talked about 10 interview questions not to answer – those being the flip side of 10 interview questions not to ask. What is an example? “Do you have children?”. Read the post for the others.

TAKEAWAY: Don’t put those being interviewed -- or your company -- in the hot seat by asking question that should not be asked, either because they are illegal or not job-related.

Next, on Tuesday 5/20/14 the post was about who wants to be the boss.  This was a short infographic and showed that in every age cohort, more males than females aspire to be the boss.

TAKEAWAY: Does the fact that someone wants to be a boss make them a good boss? Not necessarily. Choose your managerial-level personnel for the right reasons.

On Wednesday 5/21/14 the post was about lawsuit settlement tips for business owners. You may think you don’t care about this or need to know about it, but you are wrong. It is always better to settle a suit than go to trial – the latter is always a roll of the dice no matter how good your facts are. So, read the post and keep these tips in mind.  

TAKEAWAY: It’s never too early to talk to you employment lawyer and have a plan in place in case suit is filed against your business.  Do it today.

On Thursday 5/22/14 we posted about the settlement of the EEOC’s pregnancy discrimination suit against Weight Watchers. The suit alleged that Weight Watchers refused to hire someone as a group leader because she was pregnant and also that Weight Watchers discriminated against her based on pregnancy-related weight when it disqualified her by using a goal-weight requirement. Weight Watchers learned the hard way that the law against pregnancy discrimination is enforced.

TAKEAWAY: If the basis on which you intend (not) to take action is not job-related, then just don’t do it.

The post on Friday 5/23/14 talked about the latest EEOC bench slap for bringing a weak case. Here’s what the author had to say about the reason for dismissal of the suit: “a hypocritical lawsuit supported by a comical attempt at producing scientific methodology in support a frivolous case of alleged disparate impact discrimination.”  This case provides both workplace humor and education – so read it to be amused and learn something.

TAKEAWAY: As a plaintiff, be careful about bringing suit or this may be your fate; for defendants, take heed on how to possibly get the charge/case dismissed.

Finally, the post yesterday 5/24/14 was about the fact that unclear testimony about the timing of limits on golf and sex can revive an ADA claim. Are you scratching your head? What happened was a deposition where the plaintiff testified that his back problems limited only his ability to play golf and have sex. The employer’s motion for summary judgment was granted by the trial court on the basis that no disability had been proven. On appeal, the ruling was overturned and the matter sent back for trial since it was unclear whether the limitations were before or after the back surgery and this in turn affects application of the facts to the ADA.

TAKEAWAY: Questions of disability (and possible discrimination as a result) are to be looked at at the time of the adverse employment decision.

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