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ICYMI: Our Social Media Posts This Week -- Aug. 30 – Sept. 5, 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 8/30/15 was about a Linked In reference search not being an FCRA consumer report. In this age, employers search for information about applicants and employees in various ways – including social media. Here, applicants sued Linked In for alleged violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act relative to its “reference Search” function. More details about the complaint are in the post, but suffice it to say that after analysis, the court decided that Linked In was not acting as a consumer reporting agency and the information provided was not a consumer report, both defined terms under the law.

TAKEAWAY: While this case was against Linked In, others have and will be filed against employers for their use of socmedia. Know what you can and cannot do – consult with an employment law attorney BEFORE you act.

The post on Monday 8/31/15 taught that a Baltimore company will pay $25,000 to settle an EEOC race discrimination suit. The allegations were that the real estate management company underpaid and refused to promote an African-American employee because of race. Yep, the sordid allegations are in the post.

TAKEAWAY: We’ve said it before and will many times again: race can NEVER have anything to do with job performance, so don’t even think about it when making employment decisions. Just don’t do it.

In the post on Tuesday 9/1/15, we talked about how to successfully live under a condo or homeowners’ Association. As more and more people live in planned communities, it becomes ever more important to know what rights and obligations both owners and the Association have under the documents that govern the relationship. The post is just the tip of the iceberg – contact me with questions.

TAKEAWAY: A planned community’s Declaration, Bylaws and Rules/Regulations are legal documents – they must be followed by the Association and owners. Know what they say.

The post on Wednesday 9/2/15 was about a seafood restaurant that’s on the hook for $185,000 for FLSA violations. This case was one of a few that went all the way to a jury trial. Here, it was alleged that the owner threatened and then retaliated against employees who cooperated with the agency investigating FLSA violations. The types of violations are in the post.

TAKEAWAY: If there has been a legal violation, admitting it and then correcting it is the best course – not trying to cover it up or retaliating against others.

The post on Thursday 9/3/15 was a reminder that in this BYOD world, think about the Apple watch & similar devices – know about them and what employees are – or should (not) be – doing with them. Not only must employers think about what employees are doing at their desks, home computers, smart phones or tablets, they must also be concerned with various types of wearable devices and the impact they can have on employers’ data.

TAKEAWAY: Technology keeps making the world both larger and smaller at the same time – make sure to protect your data from all possible methods of encroachment or wrongful/inappropriate use.

The post on Friday 9/4/15 was about linguistics: when you say __, employees hear ___. One example: you say “It’s company policy” and they hear “I don’t agree with that dumb rule either, but I’m forced to enforce it and not criticize it”. More are in the post.

TAKEAWAY: Be careful to say what you mean and mean what you say – don’t leave things open to other interpretations.

Finally, the post yesterday 9/5/15 talked about whether a non-applicant for a position can still sue the employer for sex discrimination? The answer is a big fat MAYBE. If the person was discouraged from even applying due to the employer’s (in)actions and can prove it, then there is the possibility of suit by the person who did not get the position. The post has more details.

TAKEAWAY: As with anything, an employer must be careful about what it does and does not do and how both are perceived by (potential) employees – liability could be lurking just around the corner.

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