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ICYMI: Our Social Media Posts This Week – Feb. 5-11, 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.

The post on Sunday 2/5/17 was about the employer, not the staffing firm, being on the hook for a possible ADA violation. Yes you read that right. So what happened? Two job applicants, Katelynn and Tia, sought employment through a staffing agency. They were interviewed and given badges for their job with the employer. When they asked for information, a supervisor allegedly did not respond due to their hearing impairments. Their badges were then taken back and the job rescinded. More details are in the post. The EEOC sued. The employer defended on the basis that it had no duty to provide an ASL interpreter as the staffing agency, not it, was the employer. The court ruled against the employer on summary judgment, saying it was the real prospective employer (and thus had a responsibility under the ADA to accommodate). The post also has more details on record evidence supporting the judge's ruling.

TAKEAWAY: Just as the ADAAA broadened the rights of disabled employees, so too who is an employer is broad – it is probably safest to deem yourself the employer for accommodation purposes and proceed accordingly (or be prepared to defend yourself in a costly suit).

The post on Monday 2/6/17 was about a former employee with Asperger's claiming discrimination by the County. Robert first filed a charge with the EEOC, and, after receiving his right to sue notice, filed suit against Camden County. He alleged violation of both the ADA and FMLA by the County not providing proper accommodation and then retaliating against him. The post goes into more details, including allegations that the County knew of Robert's mental impairment from the time of hire. The County denies all allegations. Stay tuned!

TAKEAWAY: If there is even a whiff that an employee might need accommodation under applicable law, go down that path early – don't wait until suit is filed.

In the post on Tuesday 2/7/17 we talked about a Sikh doctor filing a religious discrimination suit against a potential employer. Yes, potential employer! Here, the suit was filed in federal court alleging that Dr. Singh is an observant Indian American Sikh who maintains a turban and beard for religious reasons. It also alleges that he was denied employment when those 2 things were questioned. (Check out the post on the employer's stance before and after it found out about his looks and religious beliefs.)

TAKEAWAY: Outside of places of worship or related educational institutions, religion probably has no place in the workplace – don't let it be the basis of any (adverse) decisions.

The post on Wednesday 2/8/17 was about Charters Community Health being accused of retaliation over FMLA leave. Ugh. Nancy alleges in her state-court filing in Pittsburgh that the employer forced her to accept a demotion or to resign as a result of taking FMLA leave. The actual details are in the post. She has requested a jury trial.

TAKEAWAY: Even if there is a valid, legal basis for adverse action, the timing or coincidences can make it appear illegal; look at all of that prior to the action.

In the post on Thursday 2/9/17 we noted a manufacturer is not insulated from charges it underpaid a Latina supervisor. Rather, the employer will pay $60,000 to settle an EEOC suit brought for discrimination against an Hispanic supervisor. The suit alleges that she was paid less than male counterparts (and other grounds noted in the post).   

TAKEAWAY: Watch the EEOC's priorities – including national origin discrimination and overbroad English-only policies - and stay out of the cross-hairs.

The post on Friday 2/10/17 was about the Union & Ameridrives International being accused of violating a man's FMLA rights. This suit alleges violation of the (LMRA and) FMLA. Steven sued in federal court alleging that his discharge, after taking advantage of his rights under the FMLA, was pretext. The post has more specifics on the underlying actions and the basis on which each defendant was made part of the suit.

TAKEAWAY: Make sure any adverse action is legally supported and, in the labor context, the Union fulfills its duties to member employees.

Finally, the post yesterday 2/11/17 was about the top 10 things to know about bankruptcy. Every business should know these basics due to the prevalence of bankruptcy filings and their wide-ranging impact. Some of the things to know about are the types of bankruptcy, the automatic stay, what a proof of claim is, the purpose of the creditor's meeting, the priority of any payments to creditors, the effect of a discharge (if the debtor is an individual), what are executory contracts and how they are treated in bankruptcy, and preferences and how they can impact you. More detail about each of those is in the post.

TAKEAWAY: It is almost never a good day when you get a notice that a person or company who owes you money has filed for bankruptcy protection; contact us to help protect your interests, including ensuring you get any payment to which you are legally entitled.

References (4)

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