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ICYMI: Our Social Media Posts This Week – Sept. 11-17, 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 9/11/16 we noted employment services provider ADP to pay $1.4M to settle discrimination charges. Big issue, big $$$ to resolve. The charges centered around allegations that Hispanic and black individuals were discriminated against by ADP. The post contains more, but the settlement was without admission of liability.

TAKEAWAY: Stay the legal high road and you will not see your name in neon lights followed by the word "Defendant".

The post on Monday 9/12/16 provided 7 tips for employing diverse workers. They include following the law (Title VII), seeing diverse employees as an asset, making expectations clear from the beginning, and 4 others in the post.

TAKEAWAY: Diversity is not just a legal precept, but something good for your company. Aim for it.

In the post on Tuesday 9/13/16 we noted that size discrimination is a big fat problem. Not only for the employees suffering it, but for the employers who are then subject to suits. Much of the discrimination comes from stereotypes about overweight people. The post gives more details.

TAKEAWAY: Don’t assume anything about any applicant or employee from a picture – talk to the person and watch/see how they perform before taking adverse action.

The post on Wednesday 9/14/16 was an alert: Hot hot: Chipotle to pay $550,000 to employee fired for being pregnant. As if Chipotle needs more problems … Doris worked in a Chipotle location in Washington DC. She told her boss she was pregnant. Her boss, David, made her tell everyone when she went to the bathroom and his approval was required. Non-pregnant employees did not have those requirements. More? Check out the post (hint: it ends with a public firing). This case went all the way to a jury trial, with an award of $550,000 in compensatory and punitive damages as the result. This blog author thinks the jury wanted to teach Chipotle a lesson.

TAKEAWAY: Don't be the employer the jury wants to teach a lesson – follow the law from the start.

In the post on Thursday 9/15/16, we talked about a woman saying a 5K run was used as pretext for her firing. This took place in Pittsburgh. Amanda sued her former employer, an accounting firm, for firing her for participating in a breast cancer charity fun while out on medical leave (for migraine headaches). How did the employer learn of the run? An anonymous source sent the employer a copy of her Facebook post. The post includes language from the discharge letter sent to her by the firm. Amanda disagreed with the firm's doctor's assessment, alleging her doctor told her to get exercise each day and that he approved the 5K run. She further alleged in her suit that the firm's reason is pretext to cover retaliation for not wanting her to take the leave. More actions of the employer alleged to be in violation of law are in the post. The suit was filed under the ADA, FMLA and PHRA against the firm and the doctor to whom the firm sent her for a second opinion.

TAKEAWAY: Make sure there is a valid, legal basis to take adverse action against an employee before taking the action; otherwise it could be an expensive proposition.

The post on Friday 9/16/16 gave us the Top 10 FMLA leave mistakes. We said know them, don't make them. Know when the FMLA applies (to an employer with at least 50 employees within a 75-mile radius and an employee who worked at least 1250 hours in 12 [consecutive or non-consecutive] months prior to the leave). Know the mistakes not to make, including counting time as leave that should not be counted and improperly designating the beginning or end of the leave. The post contains the other mistakes plus examples of each type of mistake.

TAKEAWAY: Make sure the person administering FMLA leave for your company knows how to properly handle it and how it affects, or is affected by, other statutes. Talk to an employment law attorney if needed.

Finally, the post yesterday 9/17/16 was about the EEOC suing Rooms to Go for pregnancy discrimination. The company hired Chantoni on 6/1/15 and assigned her work as a shop apprentice at a NC training facility. She was required to use chemicals in that position. Two days later, she told the trainer she was pregnant. After confirming the pregnancy in a meeting later that day, the regional manager pointed out a warning on a chemical container and fired her. The matter is now in suit filed by the EEOC (after conciliation failed).

TAKEAWAY: Again, don't assume – that the person will be harmed or will not waive his/her potential harm to continue working. To avoid becoming a defendant, just give employees the information and let them make the decision.

References (4)

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