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Monday
Feb132017

ICYMI: Our Social Media Posts This Week – Feb. 12-18, 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 2/12/17 we heard about Costco being hit with a $250,000 verdict in customer harassment suit. Huh? A female former employee was sexually harassed by a male customer for over a year and now Costco has to pay. She alleged Costco didn't do enough to stop the harassment -- he even told store employees about his contacts with her -- and the jury agreed. More details and background are in the post and make interesting reading.

TAKEAWAY: Employers have a duty to ensure that employees are not the victims of harassment – be it from co-workers or customers. Make sure to fulfill that responsibility or you will find yourself on the wrong end of a suit.

The post on Monday 2/13/17 was a reminder to properly communicate wage agreements to avoid misunderstanding, lawsuits. We noted that in writing is best. This is not a trifling matter (for the attempt at humor, see the post), but can have an effect on overtime calculation. Having a written agreement as to how it will be calculated can obviate any later problems.

TAKEAWAY: It is always best to get the terms and conditions of employment in writing, and that holds true for overtime pay calculations.

In the posts on Valentine's Day, Tuesday 2/14/17, here and here, we sent heartfelt wishes for a wonderful and legal day.

TAKEAWAY: Sometimes a break from the substantive is warranted to just refresh.

The post on Wednesday 2/15/17 talked about 3 very real forms of discrimination employees face at work. The first is what is sometimes called "part-timer discrimination". It refers to different treatment visited on those working part-time hours. The discrimination may also take the form of retaliation. The second type is family responsibility discrimination. This often hits working mothers but could include denial of family leave requests by either parent, failure to hire due to pregnancy, and adverse treatment of those who care for elderly parents. The third type of discrimination is in the post.

TAKEAWAY: Unfortunately discrimination still exists in the workplace – employers should take all steps possible to eradicate it (which boosts employee morale and protects the employer from costly charges and suits).

The post on Thursday 2/16/17 was about a man suing Lowes for FMLA violations and wrongful termination. John started working at Lowes in March 2012. He said he always suffered from sleep apnea and that, as a result, he sometimes overslept and was up to 5 minutes late for work. John says that Lowes had medical documentation of his condition and need to use FMLA leave to cover the tardies. In Fall 2015, a manager asked John about the tardies; he described his medical condition but the manager told him to arrive on time. Then other potentially discriminatory things happened or were discovered; they are in the post. In May 2016, he was discharged. He filed suit for violations of the ADA, FMLA, state law, and wrongful termination.

TAKEAWAY: Train managers on how to deal with the employer's obligations under the ADA and FMLA – failure to act properly subjects the employer to possible suit.

The post on Friday 2/17/17 told us of an autistic man suing Chick-Fil-A on claims of discrimination. Even the headline doesn't sound good. Suit was filed on claims of a refusal to hire based on the disability. James alleges that the manager told his job coach that the employer "was not interested in hiring people with disabilities" and more in the post. Chick-Fil-A didn't even know if James was qualified to do the job, with or without reasonable accommodation. Ugh.

TAKEAWAY: If an applicant or employee has a qualifying disability, don't take adverse action at the outset – ask if the person can perform the job's essential function with or without accommodation and, if necessary, start the interactive accommodation process.

Finally, the post yesterday 2/18/17 highlighted an article in which Sara Austin was quoted relative to contingent workers. If you're not sure what that term means, or the potential legal ramifications, see the post.

TAKEAWAY: Know the law as an employee or employer. Sara Austin and Austin Law Firm can help you.

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