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ICYMI: Our Social Media Posts This Week – Dec. 30, 2018 - Jan. 5, 2019

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 12/30/18 we advised you to beware the contractual boilerplate - you may end up where you don't want to be! Here, Kathleen worked for AT&T for over 30 years. She was going through chemo at age 60 when she was discharged. She sued for age and disability discrimination based on the terms of the discharge (which are in the post) and how that played out (also in the post).AT&T offered to settle and provided a draft release; Kathleen didn't sign it, but included allegations about it in her suit. AT&T moved to strike since the release wasn't signed. Kathleen's contrary argument is in the post. How did the Court hold? See the post. AT&T also asked the Court to dismiss the case for lack of jurisdiction. The Court's reasoning in denying that motion is interesting and in the post.  

TAKEAWAY: make sure all legal documents are legally compliant from the start – in case you are hauled into court even where you don't think you will be.

The post on Monday 12/31/18 was about a year-end bonus or incentive payment (and asked): Can an employer withhold the money from the employee who took FMLA leave? The answer this time is actually not "it depends", but is definitive (and in the post). How that answer plays out is also in the post. Know the law that applies to you (and your employees.

TAKEAWAY: Make sure you know how FMLA is treated for monetary issues – consult employment counsel if needed.

In the posts on Tuesday 1/1/19, here and here, we wished for you a Happy New Year and that the only hot water you see in 2019 is salty and near swaying palm trees!

TAKEAWAY: it's a new year - and another opportunity to stay on the right side of legal in your business.

The post on Wednesday 1/2/19 was another warning: be careful about how your association handles owners' personal information. Privacy is a big deal! Unlike in the post, Pennsylvania law does not mandate any specific information to be collected by an association (other than that to meet the requirements of Sections 3407 and 5407 of the relevant Acts). However, the tips in the post, such as being careful of who can see what information comes into the Association and how they access it, are useful and prudent.

TAKEAWAY: Being a good fiduciary includes keeping confidential what should be; know how to do it for your Association.

In the post on Thursday 1/3/19 we asked: when is an otherwise harassing comment not harassment? We also noted that this scenario would probably play out the same here in the US. So what happened? Mr. Evans worked as a sales rep for almost a year. He was called into a meeting for a PIP prior to being discharged. The PIP was never instituted because he complained about how others addressed him (see the post). He also complained of race and disability discrimination (for which the bases are noted in the post). The employer said that his discharge was a result of poor performance. The court agreed with the employer for the reasons in the post, including the office culture (specifics in the post) and whether Mr. Evans himself participated in it.

TAKEAWAY: Train your employees on what not to say or do and ensure that all facts are at hand when an adverse decision is made – consult legal counsel if you are unsure.

The post on Friday 1/4/19 noted that Amazon's Alexa on the witness stand is going to be a killer for privacy. The digital world inches closer to what fantasy or sci-fi used to be … Yes, Alexa (or her counterparts, all referred to as Alexa for these purposes) can be helpful. Yes, Alexa can be fun. And yes, Alexa might be used against you. Alexa records information, lots of it, to be useful and fun. That is information that you might think is private and might want kept private. But what if that information was helpful in a court case? The post gives but one example of how that question is playing out right now. The post also mentions how that might be expanded and distinguishes Alexa from email and their purposes.

TAKEAWAY: Just as with the rest of the Internet of Things, be careful how you give out personal information and to whom – indeed it might be used against you.

Finally, in the post yesterday 1/5/19 we learned that CBS has grounds to deny Moonves his (up to) $120M severance. We noted that it doesn’t matter who you are, the truth will come out. Unless you've had your head in the ground, you know that CBS fired its former CEO Les Moonves as a result of allegations of sexual misconduct and misleading investigators. The post notes portions of the report prepared by the Board, including that after 4 interviews, they didn't believe Moonves and he mislead them (to say it nicely). Initially 6 women alleged sexual misconduct by Moonves, but the post notes there is another (and what he did in that instance).

TAKEAWAY: Employees, no matter how high up the food chain, should not violate the law. But if they do, you need to know how to (re)act and what, if any, monetary implications follow.

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