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ICYMI: Our Social Media Posts This Week -- Sept. 28 – Oct. 4, 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.

In the post on Sunday 9/28/14, we laughed at funny interviews and meeting some dumb job applicants. Reader’s Digest provided some humor to start the week. There are 27 real-life vignettes listed; they serve as good lessons for what NOT to do in a job application or interview situation. They also provide much-needed humor.

TAKEAWAY: The job application and interview arena can be fraught with danger for employers who do not now the law; it can also provide some levity without legal consequences.

The post on Monday 9/29/14 was a reminder that inability to speak a language should not lead to discrimination.  Infosys, a large Indian IT company, was sued by former employees who claim that the company discriminated against them because of their inability to speak Hindi. One of the plaintiffs said she was harassed because she couldn’t speak Hindi, another that she was denied employment (despite being perfectly qualified) for an applicant who is Bangladeshi and that she was out of conversations in the workplace because they were in Hindi. Infosys has denied all claims.

TAKEAWAY: Remember that discrimination takes many forms; it is not just skin color or gender. Make sure to treat all applicants and employees equally (unless applicable law requires different treatment).

On Tuesday 9/30/14, the post was about the dangers of prepackaged Wills and Trusts. First and foremost, your situation differs from that of every other person and so your estate planning documents will not be the same as the documents for other people. Also, these are legal documents, so you want them to be legally correct and comply with the laws of PA. The prepackaged documents also do not allow for updating if your situation changes.

TAKEAWAY: You might think you are saving money and time by using prepackaged (or form) Wills and Trusts, but in the end you are not: you may well get one or more documents that do not do what you want, do not protect who or what you want, and are not even legally compliant with PA law.

The post on Wednesday 10/1/14 talked about the 4 things to expect during an EEOC site visit. Well, a former employee files a charge of discrimination with the EEOC. You file your position statement denying any violation. There is silence. Then you find out the EEOC wants to come visit your workplace. SO what might happen? First, the EEOC will want to tour the facility. Next, the investigator will question witnesses. Third, the investigator will meet with (and question) HR personnel. The last step is in the post.

TAKEAWAY: If you receive a notice that the EEOC will be on-site, PREPARE. The premises, potential witnesses and HR personnel who are involved. And documentation.

On Thursday 10/2/14, the post was about conflict between culture and the law and which you choose. Kia Motors Manufacturing has been sued twice alleging that its choice discriminated against women, Americans, and African-Americans (as well as retaliated in some instances).  In the first suit, Andrea Gogel was a former senior manager of team relations; she says she was told that Kia wanted to hire “young, pretty women”, not to speak in meetings (although male subordinates could), and to understand and adhere to Korean culture and beliefs despite their incompatibility (and sometimes direct contradiction of) American law. The other suit was brought by Robert Tyler, a former HR head and Gogel’s supervisor. He alleged that he was told to control the number of African-Americans hired and to report the percentage of white versus black employees at the plant at least quarterly. He was also told that Kia did not want to hire candidates over a certain age and to follow policies that discriminated on the basis of gender.  In September 2010, both Gogel and Tyler tendered a report of their concerns to their supervisors. When nothing was done, both filed charges with the EEOC. Gogel had to sign something agreeing not to discuss the charges with anyone else but was then discharged in December 2010.

TAKEAWAY: When employers choose to do business in the US, they impliedly agree to follow US law. If there is a conflict between foreign culture and US law, the culture loses out (unless it is something that rises to the level of a protected class or characteristic; then there is a real tug of war between that and the law).

The post on Friday 10/3/14 contained 5 everyday things that are more deadly than sharks. The very short video is fun to watch. So what are the things? 1. Vending machines. 2. Beds. 3. Toasters. The other 2 are in the video in the post.

TAKEAWAY: Despite media attention, there are only 5 deaths from sharks every year. There is no reason to stay out of the oceans as long as you behave properly toward the sharks and everything and everyone else under the surface.

Finally, the post yesterday 10/4/14 warned about the middle ground of FMLA and tardiness. What do you do if an employee has a chronic medical condition that affects the ability to come to work on time? You should look at the time missed as potentially qualifying for FMLA leave (and take the appropriate steps). Keep track of the time used. Pay for the time if there is concurrent paid time off that you can force the employee to use. Don’t just do nothing and don’t just discharge the employee.

TAKEAWAY: Before just pulling the plug, make sure there is no basis upon which the employee could claim you as the employer failed to fulfill your legal obligation.

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