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Monday
Sep192016

ICYMI: Our Social Media Posts This Week – Sept. 17 - 24, 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 9/18/16 we noted a professional plaintiff uses FCRA to threaten companies, win $230,000 in settlements. Have you seen someone like this? He applied to 562 – count 'em – jobs in an attempt to catch the employers in FCRA violations. Check out the post for the sordid details.

TAKEAWAY: After reading what he did, go back to your company and make sure they know what to do (and not to do) to comply with the FCRA. Don't become victim to a (professional) plaintiff.

The post on Monday 9/19/16 was about how to avoid mismanagement of employee medical files. What is Rule #1? Keep medical information in a separate, confidential file, not with the general personnel file. This doesn't change with the method of retention, i.e., hard (paper) or electronic. More details, including what and to whom to disclose, are in the post.

TAKEAWAY: Be in compliance; know how to properly handle employee medical information.

In the post on Tuesday 9/20/16 we talked about a lesbian accepting $182,000 from employer in historic workplace discrimination case. Yes this stems out of the first sexual orientation suit filed by the EEOC. Filed documents say the employer has agreed to pay $200K to settle (with no admission of liability), with most going to the employee. The employee alleged she had endured harassment; one comments by her supervisor to her was that he wanted "to turn you back into a woman". Other comments are in the post. She was fired after she complained. Now she's made history.

TAKEAWAY: Don't be part of that kind of history; take no adverse action against an employee based on sexual orientation.

The post on Wednesday 9/21/16 noted a church bookkeeper's ADA claim after full-time position eliminated (and asked if that's legal). In this case under the ADA (brought in federal court in CA), the court said YES. Alice returned from sick leave under the ADA; her position became part-time because during the leave the pastor took over some of her duties (finding he could easily do them along with his other duties). She declined the part-time work, demanding reinstatement due to the ADA leave. She filed suit. The rationale is in the post, but know the judge dismissed her claim, finding the church's decision to be business-related and having no relation to her medical condition or disability.

TAKEAWAY: Valid business reasons can trump a claim of discrimination. Query what would have happened had the suit been brought under the FMLA …

In the post on Thursday 9/22/16, we talked about a judgment in favor of the EEOC is a disability and genetic discrimination case. More boundary-pushing. What happened? A farm violated the ADA and GINA by requiring applicants to complete a health history prior to consideration. After conciliation failed, the EEOC filed suit. The company must pay the applicant $10,000 plus other relief required by the court.

TAKEAWAY: GINA is not your (best) girlfriend; know what she stands for and how she plays with the ADA.

The post on Friday 9/23/16 was about HR tech and the law. Three main areas are covered in the post: big data and data analytics, employee monitoring, and social media. The first normally applies relative to hiring, employee satisfaction and morale, and other internal issues, but can cause the employer to run afoul of one or more laws based on how and for what the information is used. Reasons to be wary about the second and third categories are in the post, but suffice t0 to say you must know them.  

TAKEAWAY: Technology is part of our everyday lives, whether at home or in the workplace; know how to legally deal with all of the occurrences and implications.

Finally, the post yesterday 9/24/16 provided a "stay out of trouble" checklist. We suggested you use it. There are 8 items on this list; the last 2 are probably some of, if not the, most important: ask questions and make sure you have a good employment law attorney on call. The other 7 items on the list are in the post and include having a meeting with the employee and doing a safety audit.

TAKEAWAY: Follow the checklist. And don’t just have an employment law attorney at the ready - actually make the call (or send the email) before you think you need to.

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