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Monday
Mar302015

ICYMI: Our Social Media Posts This Week -- Mar. 29 – Apr. 4, 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.

On Sunday 3/29/15's post we confirmed that there is a difference between discrimination on the basis of race and color under Title VII. People tend to use the terms interchangeably but there can be a difference in the legal world of Title VII. This federal court case shows the difference. There were allegations of discrimination on the basis of both race and color, including that the employee’s manager told her she was “too black”. That was enough to revive her color discrimination suit. Read more in the post.

TAKEAWAY: Employers should remember to train employees not to discriminate on any basis, including what is or is not a protected characteristic and any differences between them.

The post on Monday 3/30/15 showed how to apply the NLRB General Counsel’s memo on handbook rules and was a follow-up to our posts on 3/24/15, found here, and here.

TAKEAWAY: Remember that ALL EMPLOYEES enjoy protection under Section 7 of the NLRB, meaning ALL EMPLOYERS must make sure not to violate those rights.

In the post on Tuesday 3/31/15, we asked what is a “man’s man”? The court in a suit brought against high-end watch-maker Breitling also tried to answer. The question arose in the context of a lawsuit brought by a gay salesman claiming he was discharged because the new boss didn’t think he was a “man’s man”. Of course, the suit also alleged that female employees were treated more poorly than male employees because they too didn’t meet macho standards. Time will tell (pun intended) how this turns out.

TAKEAWAY: Remember that stereotyping can and often does lead to charges of discrimination or harassment – don’t put your company through that, make sure ell employees are properly trained.

The post on Wednesday 4/1/15 was not a joke; rather, we talked about General Mills’ Project Refuel and the age discrimination lawsuit it engendered. After filing an administrative charge with the EEOC, 14 former employees of GM have now sued for age discrimination. Their ages range from 42 to 64. The suit alleges that after the plaintiffs were discharged, GM hired and promoted younger employees as replacements and that in some cases, the former employees had to train the new hires.

TAKEAWAY: Employers sometimes might need to discharge an employee older than age 40; if and when that happens, make sure it is for a valid reason and age is not implicated in any way.

In the post on Thursday 4/2/15 we talked about whether Chapter 13 bankruptcy protection might be the right path for you.  The post gives a few tips on when Chapter 13 might be helpful and still get you out of a financial mess.

TAKEAWAY: Don’t think of bankruptcy as a nasty word; it is helpful to many people who do not want to be in the situation in which they find themselves and are merely using a resource that is available.

The post on Friday 4/3/15 reminded that mistakes in a handbook or policy manual can indeed come back to bite you. Yes, this is in addition to the rules and policies having to comply with the NLRA and its protections for employees. Here, a handbook did not contain the full requirements for FMLA leave as under the statute, so the employee thought he was eligible (even though he wasn’t).  The case was sent on toward a jury trial.

TAKEAWAY: While the handbook may not be a contract, it is still a document with potential legal implications that may end up in court; make sure yours says what you want it to and that it is legally compliant.

Finally, in the post yesterday 4/4/15, we reminded you to document, document, document, since good records are your best defense in court. In this instance, the employer (a hospital) had detailed disciplinary records to support its argument that the employee, a neurosurgery resident, was terminated for poor performance and not gender.

TAKEAWAY: Documentation doesn’t have to be on paper; it can be electronic. What is most important is that it exists.

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