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ICYMI: Our Social Media Posts This Week -- Aug. 17 - 23, 2014

Below is a review of the posts (on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter) from the past week.  You can check out the full posts by clicking on the links.

The post on Sunday 8/17/14 talked about discharge after a reasonable accommodation request NOT being the way for an employer to go. In the profiled case, the EEOC sued an Atlanta hair salon for firing a disabled veteran. When she requested accommodation for scoliosis and a herniated disc (to allow her to stand for extended periods without pain), she was discharged.

TAKEAWAY:  Covered employers must engage in the interactive process after a request for accommodation – making the request go away through discharge does NOT satisfy that burden.

          On Monday 8/18/14 we talked about whether you have appropriate non-compete agreements in place. Courts will look at whether the employer has a legally-protected interest, whether the geographic scope and duration are overbroad, whether there is an undue hardship on the employee, and if public policy is violated. Any one of these can result in the non-compete being deemed invalid.

TAKEAWAY: Non-compete agreements are legal documents; make sure they will withstand judicial scrutiny by having an employment attorney prepare and review them before you have employees sign them.

The post on Tuesday 8/19/14 was about how just 2 statements can provide enough evidence for an age discrimination suit. In short, a 71-year-old security guard at a retirement home sued his former employer and introduced evidence of two statements made by the person who effected his termination. The first statement was from a meeting with all of the residents about abolishing the employee program, at which the COO stated, “you didn’t come here to work, you came here to retire.” The other statement is in the post. Together, they were sufficient for the court to deny summary judgment and send the matter on for trial.

TAKEAWAY:  Employers must train their employees on what to say and what not to say – loose lips can sink employment ships.

On Wednesday 8/20/14 the post confirmed that seeing your job posted on social media is a good sign you’re about to be fired – whether legally or not. The backstory here revolves around soft drink maker Faygo. A 70-year-old employee alleged in his lawsuit that he was his job posted on Careerbuilder.com in November 2011 and was discharged in July 2012 after being asked to train his replacement (someone half his age).

TAKEAWAY: Social media is omnipresent; don’t post something you don’t want someone else to see because it will probably come back to bite – hard.

On Thursday 8/21/14 the post was about questions for an employer to ask in hiring, promotion or transferring an employee. What is an example? In what type of work position do you see yourself in 5 years? Others are in the post.

TAKEAWAY: Employers want to know if a (potential) employee will be a good fit, but asking certain questions can elicit information resulting in the employer’s obligation to discuss the person’s need for a possible accommodation. Be careful what you ask.

Friday 8/22/14 brought a post about thinking twice about flying solo before the EEOC. Yes it is an administrative charge. But often it is a precursor to a lawsuit and you don’t want to say something that might prejudice you in any later suit.


TAKEAWAY:   EEOC charges are still legal matters and employers served with a charge should consult an employment attorney when they receive it. Together, the course of action can be decided upon.

Finally, the post yesterday 8/23/14 was a bit off-track: it was about the family that scuba dives together.  Scuba is sport that keeps divers of all ages interested and continually learning. Further, it is a sport that families can do together, whether locally or travelling to other places far and wide.

TAKEAWAY: Everyone needs time away from the workplace – one good way to relax is to scuba dive. The workplace cannot interfere for the time you are under water.

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