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ICYMI: Our Social Media Posts This Week – Nov. 18-24, 2018

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 11/18/18 we asked: Can your Handbook or Policy Manual hurt you? Then we suggested you let us review it to ensure protection and legal compliance. Ok, you probably guessed the answer is yes, so let's see why. An employee sued the former employer on 11 counts, including for wrongful termination in violation of an employment agreement. One allegation was that the manual was a contract because of what it contained (noted in the post). Of course the employer argued to the contrary. See the post for how and why the court ruled.

TAKEAWAY:  Make sure your handbooks and manuals say what you mean and mean what you say as they will be construed against you and you want to be legally safe.

The post on Monday 11/19/18 told us that turning a deaf ear to insults = $500,000 mistake. Wow! It's great when employees are trained on what constitutes discrimination (so that they do not act illegally). But what about illegal harassment? Here, Augustine sued for disability harassment because of the behavior of a supervisor. What he did is in the post. The key ws that another supervisor backed up Augustine's claims.

TAKEAWAY: Train train train – and ensure that what one person may think is funny is not deemed harassment by others.

In the post on Tuesday 11/20/18 talked about steps to take to update condominium or homeowner association Governing Documents. We suggested you let us help you. So your condo or homeowners' association Governing Documents (Declaration, Bylaws, Rules & Regulations) are either old or outdated or just don't comport with how the association operates. They need to be revised. The first step is to decide who is going to lead the revision process. Then outline the goals of the revision process. Some examples are in the post. Also, other tips are in the post; some depend on the timing of the revisions relative to turnover.

TAKEAWAY: Make sure the Governing Documents are legally compliant while being realistic and reasonable for the community. Involve association counsel in the revision process early and often.

In the post on Wednesday 11/21/18 we saw that Rosebud is to pay $160K to settle a suit. (Yes we possted about the suit long ago.) The lawsuit against the 9 Italian restaurant "chain" alleged sexual harassment and retaliation. For what? See the post. In one instance, Tina, a female server, was sexually harassed by another server, including unwelcome sexual comments and more as detailed in the post (and it's not pretty). Tina complained but nothing was done. Another employee alleged racial discrimination as in the post. The EEOC filed suit in 2013 and it finally settled in 2017, with the judge entering an order approving it just a few weeks ago. What is included in the settlement in addition to the monetary relief is in the post.

TAKEAWAY: Train your employees – all of them – on what not to do or say. Make sure they abide by the training.

In the posts on Thursday 11/22/18, here and here, we remembered Thanksgiving

TAKEAWAY::Sometimes you just have to take time out for thanks and remembrance.

The post on Friday 11/23/18 asked: can businesses discriminate against transgender workers? The right hand says one thing, the left says another. Yes, DOL told the U.S. Supreme Court that businesses can discriminate against workers based on their gender identity without violating federal law. Of course, the EEOC takes the opposite stance. This all came up in a case before the Court – details are in the post. What is interesting is that the EEOC sued on behalf of the employee and won at the Circuit Court, but only DOJ can represent the federal government before the Supreme Court. And hence the different factions and different arguments as noted in the post.

TAKEAWAY: The Court's decision in this case should decide whether or not sexual orientation and gender identity are entitled to protection from sexual discrimination – stay tuned.

Finally, in the post yesterday 11/24/18 we learned that a waitress who refused sexual advances from boss was awarded $52,000. (We noted this would play out the same here in the US.) Upon hire, Anissa thought Nick, the owner, was a good guy. But then she started to see things he did, like kissing waitresses on the cheeks and neck and groping them and more in the post. She confronted him; his response is in the post. She also asked what might happen if someone refused his advances; again, his response is in the post. When she finally told him to stop, things got worse – see the post. Another employee experienced similar treatment (as detailed in the post), but she needed money so she put up with it until she found another job.

TAKEAWAY:  Treat your employees fairly and humanely – that will probably equate to legal compliance.

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