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ICYMI: Our Social Media Posts This Week – Dec. 3 - 9, 2017

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 12/3/17 told us that B&H Photo settled a race, sex bias suit for $3.2M. (This follows an earlier post we did on this suit). The underlying suit contained allegations of discrimination against women, blacks and Asians who applied for employment at the NY warehouse. The post explains why discrimination was alleged. Now current and former employees get some money for their troubles.

TAKEAWAY: Stay on the right side of the law – hire and promote based on ability and performance, not gender or race.

The post on Monday 12/4/17 showed us Sexual harassment: Congress paid up to $17M in workplace-related settlements since 1997. That's our tax money! And it has gone to pay "settlements and awards to federal government workers in cases of workplace discrimination or unjust working conditions." Private plaintiffs are not guaranteed collecting on settlements or awards, but apparently we the taxpayers fund those guaranteed payments for federal public employees. Read the post for more sordid details.

TAKEAWAY: Know where your tax dollars are going!

In the post on Tuesday 12/5/17 we saw that employees who steal don't win discrimination cases but might win defamation cases. Employers, take heed. Jason worked in the IT department; he had a medical condition that flared up unexpectedly. He was approved for intermittent FMLA leave after being out on FMLA leave a bit. He ended up taking STD leave, intending to parlay that into LTD and retirement. But those plans went awry when the employer found he'd taken company assets and destroyed others. The post gives the specifics – oh Jason. He was terminated. The company also took another action – see the post. Jason lost his disability discrimination and FMLA interference and retaliation claims. But he was able to move ahead on the other claim – see the post.

TAKEAWAY: The company should never have taken the other action, especially when it could have been achieved through another means.  

The post on Wednesday 12/6/17 gave a tip: Employers, take the easy way out: no FLSA jurisdiction. Huh? The plaintiff filed suit under the FLSA, alleging a pattern and practice of not paying the class minimum wages and overtime. More details are in the post. The court looked to see if the definitions under the FLSA were met (so that the employee had the right to sue. It came down to whether or not the employer had annual gross sales/business of at least $500,000. The company argued it did not. The post details what it provided as well as the plaintiff's counter-argument and the court's ruling.

TAKEAWAY: In any suit, make sure the jurisdictional requirements have been met or move to dismiss on that basis – you just might get an easy out.

In the post on Thursday 12/7/17 we asked you to Choose: totally disabled or disabled needing accommodation. The two are not always mutually exclusive. And that makes sense if you think about it. If an employee claims to be totally disabled, then no accommodation could help that person perform the essential duties. If, however, accommodation might help, then the person is not totally disabled. The post gives an example of how this played out.

TAKEAWAY: Be aware of the multiple positions an employee is taking on an issue, especially if they are in conflict.

The post on Friday 12/8/17 was about 3 lessons on holiday parties from "The Office". Yes, the TV show. So what are the tips (from which you can analogize)? One, don't drink so much that you set your hair on fire. A good one! It means that you should always remember that while it is a party, it is a work party – it can affect your job. The other 2 tips are in the post.

TAKEAWAY: Tis the season – for an "oops" at holiday parties and the ensuing discipline – talk to an employment law attorney about how you should (re)act.

Finally, in the post yesterday 12/9/17 we read 5 tips when picking a condo (or other home in a planned community). The first tip is to see if the unit is FHA approved. Why? Because this can seriously impact your ability to finance the sale price (or to sell the unit at a later date). The second tip is to inquire about storage. Whether condo or detached home, know where you can put all of your stuff – you don't want a big surprise after you move in! The other 3 tips are in the post. These tips all lead back to the Declaration (filed document creating the association), Bylaws and any Rules/Regulations – together referred to as the Governing Documents.

TAKEAWAY: The Governing Documents are legal documents that tell you your rights and obligations as an owner– let us review them for you so you know what they say.

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