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ICYMI: Our Social Media Posts This Week – Sept. 4-10, 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 9/4/16 we noted that small businesses face big HR lawsuits. Don't be a defendant. The post included a referenced to a survey finding that 43% of small business owners were involved in a suit or threatened with suit. That's huge! And many thought they were doing what the law(s) required them to do. So what should a good employer do? Review pay stubs to ensure they include the correct pay and deductions. Put in place the appropriate documentation including a handbook. More tips are in the post.

TAKEAWAY: You may think you are complying with legal requirements, but it is a good idea to engage an attorney to help you navigate the maze that employment-related laws have become. That will be cheaper than defending a lawsuit.

The posts on Monday 9/5/16, Labor Day, found here and here, reminded you to give thanks for what you have.

TAKEAWAY: The post also thanked you on behalf of Sara Austin and Austin Law Firm llc.

In the post on Tuesday 9/6/16 we discussed avoiding lawsuits under the ADA. The post was aimed at retailers but its tips are good for all employers. They include making sure physical space (including parking lots, restrooms, and kitchens) is accessible – to employees and customers – and training customer service personnel. Other tips are in the post.

TAKEAWAY: If your business serves the public, make sure it is ADA-compliant. Not just through your physical front door, but through your electronic front door (website) as well.

The post on Wednesday 9/7/16 talked about a transgender man, born female, suing Abercrombie & Fitch for female uniform. For $35M. Over Abercrombie's allegedly-discriminatory "look policy". The plaintiff, Maha Shalaby, identifies as male but was born female. He was forced to wear the employer's uniform for females while working at the Manhattan location. Why? A manager said it was "what customers want to see." The other things Shalaby was told are in the post. He didn't and was fired in 2012, thereafter filing a charge with the EEOC. Recall that Abercrombie I went to SCOTUS when it refused to hire a Muslim girl who wore a hijab for religious reasons. Will this be Abercrombie II?

TAKEAWAY: More and more, gender identity is an issue in the workplace. Employers must address it legally – which may or may not be what brings in business.

In the post on Thursday 9/8/16, we noted that was dumb: Facebook post gets man fired for FMLA abuse. So what is this all about? While on FMLA leave to recuperate from shoulder surgery, a man posts a picture of him swimming off St. Martin. Yes he was fired. Yes he filed am FMLA retaliation suit. And, in this case, yes the employer prevailed. How it did that is the lesson here. Rodney's job was to decorate the building for holidays and events, maintain calendars, charts and care plans, and oversee outings, parties and recreation for patients. He requested and was approved for 12 weeks of FMLA leave for shoulder surgery. After that he needed still more time and the employer agreed (as non-FMLA leave). During that extra time Rodney went to Busch Gardens (taking pictures of decorating ideas, posting them, and sending them to co-workers for comment) and St. Martin (the swimming post). The steps the employer took are in the post; they are well-thought-out and covered what needed to be covered.

TAKEAWAY: The court's ruling analyzed the retaliation claim and Employer's defenses – the steps taken by the employer to support the discharge were legal given the facts. Be that employer.

The post on Friday 9/9/16 told us 5 things employers do that get them sued. (We then suggested you let us help you.) Yes employers can get sued when they do everything right (and legally). But they can also get sued when they do things wrong that could be prevented. The post covered 5 of those things, including classifying all employees as exempt and classifying all workers as independent contractors. The other 3 in this list are in the post.

TAKEAWAY: When it comes to employees, and as the post notes, get guidance and make sure you do the right thing. Don't hold out a "sue me" sign.

Finally, the post yesterday 9/10/16 noted the Labor Department finds evidence Microsoft discriminated against female employees. Ass you may (should) know, 3 women are suing Microsoft for gender discrimination – including denial of raises and promotions. As part of that suit, the recent filings included a DOL Notice of Violation. Microsoft's response is in the post. The suit is largely based on Microsoft's performance rating system.

TAKEAWAY: Make sure that pay is based on performance (or some other objective criteria) and not gender. Period.

References (3)

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