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ICYMI: Our Social Media Posts This Week – Feb. 14-20, 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 2/14/16, we wished you a Happy Valentine’s Day (and took a break from the legal).

TAKEAWAY: Sometimes a break is a good thing!

The post on Monday 2/15/16 noted that an employee who threatened to kill a supervisor before psychological treatment may be fired. OK, so this is (hopefully) not your everyday scenario. By way of background, Mayo and others complained that a supervisor was bullying them; 1 reported on the hotline. HR met with the employees. In the presence of co-workers, Mayo then made several threats of gun violence against the supervisors (and others); the threats were reported by the co-workers. After a meeting with Mayo, HR suspended him, barred him from the property, and made a police report. Mayo was hospitalized after a police interview and, thereafter, took 2 months of medical leave. He was cleared to return to work with a suggestion of a different supervisor. The company discharged him. Mayo then brought suit under disability law. More details are in the post. The federal appeals court said that since Mayo couldn’t appropriately handle stress and interact with others, he was not a ‘qualified” individual (and thus there was no violation).

TAKEAWAY: Employers are not helpless in the face of an employee with mental problems, especially when that person might present a threat of violence to self or others.

In the post on Tuesday 2/16/16, we learned that The Pines of Clarkston will pay $42,500 to settle an EEOC disability discrimination suit (resulting from this elderly care center discharging after learning about epilepsy). The employer runs assisted living facilities. The suit alleged that it fired the administrator after learning about her epilepsy (through a medical exam). We don’t know why the medical exam took place, but we know the employer settled the suit.  

TAKEAWAY: Just don’t – take adverse action against an employee (or applicant) based on disability, that it. First engage in the interactive accommodation process (assuming the person is qualified for same).

The post on Wednesday 2/17/16 asked a confidentiality conundrum: can you reveal a complaint to stop sexual harassment? A federal court was faced with this question and answered in the affirmative. Here, Daniel was a married, heterosexual RN. He worked in pediatric ICU as 1 of 2 male nurses in a total group of 9. He claimed that the females harassed him over a period of 5 months, including joking about him having a homosexual relationship with another male nurse in the unit. More of the alleged comments are in the post. As if that wasn’t bad enough, he said doctors and residents joined in too. They never heeded his requests to stop (but instead it got worse). After the employer called a meeting, some comments stopped, but others (and behaviors) did not. He then complained about the retaliation. At HR’s urging that Daniel transfer within the hospital, he looked and didn’t accept 1 offer and skipped an interview for another. The employer then discharged him. He sued. And lost.

TAKEAWAY: If an employer suggests a method of resolving a situation to which the employee agrees, the employee’s failure to participate in implementation is at his/her peril.

The post on Thursday 2/18/16 asked if you can fire an employee for refusing to work overtime. The answer depends (on whether or not the person is bound by a contract or agreement or is an at-will employee).  If the former, then the terms of the document will govern. If the employment is at-will, then the employer can probably fire the employee who refuses to work overtime – as long as the discharge stems solely form that and is for no illegal reason.

TAKEAWAY: Unless there is a writing to the contrary, you can force employees to work overtime – just make sure to pay them properly (and take action you consider appropriate if they refuse the work).

The post on Friday 2/19/16 told us that some people never quit … on racial and ethnic discrimination and retaliation. What do I mean? Well, the owner of Peters’ Bakery allegedly harasses Marcela Ramirez, a sales clerk, with repeated derogatory comments and jokes and eventually fired her. Examples of the comments are in the post. She filed charges with the EEOC. What did the bakery do then? Filed a defamation suit against her (which was dismissed), delayed job reinstatement, told co-workers about her charge and wrote her up. The bakery then tried to fire her again but the EEOC got a TRO. The case is now headed for trial (unless it earlier settles).

TAKEAWAY: When an employer does something that is illegal, it should not dig in its hells and make the situation worse for itself. Rather, it should try to make amends and come out with its head (and reputation) held high if possible.

Finally, the post yesterday 2/20/16 said “I’m Outta Here” – what to do when an employee quits without notice. Do NOT get excited or go on a rampage. So keep it professional, tell staff (under most circumstances), and the other steps mentioned in the post.

TAKEAWAY: Most employment is at-will. While it is usually the employer who ends the employment relationship, sometimes it is the employee who quits – and with no notice at that. Just have a Plan B in case this ever happens.

References (4)

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  • Response
    Law firm holds a great importance in management related to justice and laws of the country. These firms are form so that the lawyers can sit together and discuss the matter to solve them among themselves and they also contribute their thoughts related to laws of the country.
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    Response: Infomasi bandar
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