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Oct312016

ICYMI: Our Social Media Posts This Week – Oct. 30 - Nov. 5, 2016

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 10/30/16 we talked about a banker winning $3.5M in a sexual orientation suit. Big money! Before he came out to his wife, he was the majority stockholder in a bank. Through the divorce, he gave her enough stock so he no longer had a controlling interest. Then … they supposedly worked to oust him for being gay. The judge agreed. One reason was an email from his sister to his children saying "Your dad has lived a lie for years and years and it has spilled over into the lives of his family causing a lot of heartache." The comment by another stockholder is in the post. He has to repay loans, but will receive $798,733 in back pay, $25,000 for emotional distress, and at least $100,000 per year (to be increased for inflation) for 21 years. Big bucks indeed.

TAKEAWAY: Protected characteristics usually have no bearing on the person's ability to do their job – so don't take adverse action against them based on that characteristic. It can end up costing you a lot in the long run.

The posts on Monday 10/31/16, here and here, simply wished you a Happy Halloween!  

TAKEAWAY: Sometimes you have to take time out for the fun things.

In the post on Tuesday 11/1/16 (yes, November already!) we noted the DOL is investigating Wells Fargo for potential overtime violations (because it needs more trouble). The investigation also covers whistleblower retaliation. The overtime was worked to achieve sales quotas (those things that have been in the news lately relative to Wells Fargo) and the retaliation relates to people who expressed concerns about sales tactics related to the quotas. Ugh. Just ugh.  

TAKEAWAY: Don't make employees do anything illegal. And certainly don't take adverse action against them when they complain about being asked to take or taking the illegal action!

The post on Wednesday 11/2/16 noted yessirree, that's one expensive bottle of orange juice. Huh? In sum, denial of a $1.69 orange juice cost Dollar General $277,565 in back pay and damages. Linda is an insulin-dependent diabetic. She regularly self-injected while on break and stored insulin and OJ in the break room. She asked to keep some OJ near her register since attacks are unpredictable; her request was denied as against policy. Twice when she had attacks she drank OJ to avert the emergencies and both paid for them and reported the incidents to her supervisor afterward. An audit turned up her technical policy violation and she was fired. After the administrative process, a jury awarded her the noted damages. The post contains more detail.

TAKEAWAY: Uniform enforcement of policies is a goal, but not in the face of contrary law. Train your managers accordingly.

In the post on Thursday 11/3/16 we told you to establish a process when terminating employees. What's a (if not the) key? Documentation. And don't tell the employee it's not his or her fault. Have a process and follow it. Other tips are in the post. Using some or all in a termination situation helps give the employer (a) defense(s) in the case of suit.

TAKEAWAY: Don't leave your company open to suit or even damages; have a process to follow for termination and follow it.

The post on Friday 11/4/16 told us McDonald's owes a fired trans teen an apology – and an explanation. While this didn't happen in the US, it could have, with the same outcome. The trans teen, Kenny, was welcomed by his football team. A mere 2 days later, McDonald's fired him. Kenny gave one reasons for the termination; the owner-operator denied it (see the post) but won't give the reason.

TAKEAWAY: While you may not need a reason to terminate someone's employment, there usually will be one (or you'd not move to terminate, right?). So tell them the real reason.

Finally, the post yesterday 11/5/16 (and here) was a timely reminder to turn back your clock one hour. Yes, standard time returns. This will mean darkness for many going to work and again on the return. But the winter solstice is in December and the days start to get longer again at that time.

TAKEAWAY: As the year turns, here it is the clock that changes.

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