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ICYMI: Our Social Media Posts This Week -- Jan. 25 - 31, 2015

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 1/25/15 was about whether an employer must pay a prorated annual bonus after the employee takes FMLA leave. This is normally an issue at the end of the calendar year but could kick in on whatever other time frame goal-based bonuses are awarded. Here, the statute itself answers the question. If the employee’s FMLA leave caused him or her to miss the goal, and others on non-FMLA leave who miss the bonus do not get pro-rations, then neither does this employee.

TAKEAWAY: Remember, the FMLA does not require special treatment in this situation, but only the same treatment as other employees not on FMLA leave.

In the post on Monday 1/26/15 we confirmed that “Is that how you clean your private parts” is not a question to be asked. Hopefully you already know that, but the employer that just got sued apparently didn’t. And there was more. The Filipino employee alleged that her supervisor referred to her as “Mamasan”, a term usually used for older Asian women who work in brothels. After complaining, she was first assigned other, harder duties, then fired. Is it any wonder she sued?

TAKEAWAY: Remember the Golden Rule: treat others (employees) the way you would want to be treated. It will make the workplace so much better, legally and otherwise.

The post on Tuesday 1/27/15 was another confirmation: “Your religion is stupid” is not a good statement to make to an employee. Hertz was on the receiving end of this suit by black Muslim employees for allegedly demeaning their religion and firing them after imposing arbitrary prayer rules for Muslims. Prior to suit, the EEOC issued a for-cause decision. A senior manager allegedly told one worker of East African heritage, “If you pray continuously, you will make us lose money and no Muslims will be hired.” More quotes allegedly made by Hertz are in the post.

TAKEAWAY: Unless religion has bearing on the job, don’t discriminate against any employee because of his or her (lack of) beliefs. Just let the employee do the job.

In the post on Wednesday 1/28/15 we talked about what you should document prior to issuing discipline. The answer depends in large part on your company’s policy and if there are any employment contracts that apply. Make sure you follow the policy or contract. If you are not sure what you may or may not do, contact your employment law attorney.

TAKEAWAY: As in most workplace situations, if there is a policy or contract that applies, follow it, uniformly, and have valid legal reasons for any variation.

The post on Thursday 1/29/15 was about how to handle a hostile work environment complaint. Hopefully it will never happen to your company as it did to Sears here, but you should be prepared. So what are some of the most obvious things to do? Maintain a clear policy against harassment and discrimination and apply it uniformly. Some other suggestions are in the post.

TAKEAWAY: If someone complains, don’t brush it under the rug – do a proper investigation and make sure to document and support any resulting (lack of) action to be taken.

On Friday 1/30/15, the post talked about retaliation being the new discrimination under the NLRA. Ok, you are a non-union business; can you tune out now? NO! Why? Because, in case you haven’t been reading this blog, the National Labor Relations Board has been finding more and more situations that apply to every workplace, not just those that are unionized. The post provides 4 tips for employers, including knowing how the NLRB defines protected activity and training management personnel on the NLRA. The other tips are in the post.

TAKEAWAY: You are not out of the labor woods just because your company is not unionized; you must still know the law and how it is or could be applied to your business. A good employment law attorney should be able to help you.

Finally, in the post yesterday 1/31/15, we talked about breaking down a sexual harassment claim. First, don’t just let it go – or you may find it comes back later in the form of a lawsuit. Investigate, properly and promptly, and take action as warranted depending on what the investigation turns up and what your policy requires.

TAKEAWAY: Make sure you, your HR personnel and your managers know how to recognize illegal sexual harassment and are trained in what to do when it is alleged to have or has occurred.

References (4)

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