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ICYMI: Our Social Media Posts This Week – Oct. 2-8, 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 10/2/16 we talked about labor and employment tips for start-up and existing businesses. Let's dive right in: (1) Know the difference between employees and contractors – properly classify. (2) Pay employees properly. (3) Pay interns. The other tips are in the post.

TAKEAWAY: Protect the company you have or will work hard to build – know and comply with the various applicable laws.

The post on Monday 10/3/16 gave us the Top 7 ADA developments you need to know about. So let's get right to them: (1) EEOC issued new enforcement guidance on retaliation. (See our other post on this). (2) Federal enforcement of associational discrimination. If you don't understand this, contact an employment law attorney. (3) Yes you can refuse to hire someone because they are too fat – if they don't meet the requirements for ADA protection. The other tips are in the post.

TAKEAWAY: There are a myriad of ways the ADA can be violated – intentionally or otherwise. Make sure you know the law and have an attorney on call to be proactive.

In the post on Tuesday 10/4/16 we said leave denied? Yeah so is employee's lawsuit. Just because something bad happened does not mean that there was discrimination. Yes, shocking. (hahaha). Here, Martin, a 75-year-old mailman, alleged age discrimination when his supervisor didn’t approve a leave request for a specific day. The complaint was dismissed internally and by the EEOC. He then filed suit and earned a dismissal from the court on the basis that the single day of denied leave did not constitute an adverse action. The appeal was also quickly dismissed. More details are in the post.

TAKEAWAY: Even though an employee's allegations (or suit) might be frivolous or groundless, you must still investigate fully (to earn that dismissal if suit comes).  

The post on Wednesday 10/5/16 told us to avoid becoming friends with your employees. Why? The post gives more detail, but because they stop being an employee and instead are your friend.  It makes decisions that much harder (or impossible) to make. It also all but ensures favoritism of that person and lowering of morale (at best) by other employees. 

TAKEAWAY: Let's just say it again: avoid becoming friends with your employees to help avoid future legal entanglements. 

In the post on Thursday 10/6/16 we noted that a simple list of job duties could have saved company in ADA bias suit. Yes this is another Wal-Mart story from which we can all take heed. Wal-Mart paid $90,000 to settle a suit for disability discrimination (after firing an intellectually-disabled employee). William started working at Wal-Mart in 1994; he needed a written list of daily tasks. Wal-Mart had done that for a long time, but decided to stop at some point. William then could not perform as well; Wal-Mart fired him for not performing. The EEOC sued.

TAKEAWAY: Take your obligations under the ADA seriously, especially when it's a simple thing like providing a written list of duties. It can be costly not to do so.

The post on Friday 10/7/16 noted that US & PA DOL partner on worker misclassification – now it's even more important to get it right. The 2 entities will now share information and conduct joint investigations relative to independent contractor misclassification. Other states have the same arrangement with DOL. This just means more eyes will be on how you classify (and pay) those providing services to or on behalf of your business. Read the post for more info.

TAKEAWAY: Classification of employees has always been important – and the Department of Labor (and possibly IRS) would take action if there was a problem. Now you have more eyes on you.

Finally, the post yesterday 10/8/16 told us that schools will pay $50,000 to settle an equal pay discrimination case. The settlement comes between the EEOC and a school district in Minneapolis (which disagrees with the allegations in the suit). However, since, according to the District, it found the employee worked above the job description, higher way was warranted, not that there was any discrimination. The underlying case alleged that the female employee was paid as a custodial aide and not custodian. More details are in the post.

TAKEAWAY: Whether it is based on discrimination or misclassification, businesses that don't properly pay employees will get zinged. Period.

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