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ICYMI: Our Social Media Posts This Week – Feb. 25 - Mar. 3, 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 2/25/18 we read that the EEOC approved a strategic plan for 2018-2022. The three key objectives (detailed in the post) are: 1) the strategic application of the EEOC’s law enforcement authorities, 2) preventing employment discrimination and promoting inclusive workplaces through education and outreach, and 3) organizational excellence.

TAKEAWAY: Know how the EEOC's objectives will affect you and your business going forward. Contact legal counsel now to work with you to ensure legal compliance – don't wait for the EEOC to come knocking.

The post on Monday 2/26/18 told us the EEOC alleges contractor fired 3 brothers because of their blood disorder. The suit alleges that Drew and Anthony West had been working at the refinery when SIS took over a contract at the plant. They were hired by SIS in December 2011. Both have a blood disease that has no effect on job performance but may require expensive meds. SIS told the project manager to fire them because of the possible effect on insurance; he refused. Raymond, another brother, began working there in January 2013. The former project manager left in April 2013, after which SIS instructed his replacement to fire all 3 or be fired himself. He fired all 3 brothers. The post gives details on how it was couched and the relief sought by the EEOC.

TAKEAWAY: Only take adverse action against an employee for job-related matters. Otherwise you might be on the receiving end of a lawsuit.

In the post on Tuesday 2/27/18 we warned you to guard against retaliation any time an employee makes an internal complaint about pay. Derrick, an African-American, went to work for a landscaping form after leaving employment at a competitor. There was an issue with the pay rate at the new employer as in the post. He complained, got undesirable job assignments, and was fired. Had he not represented himself in the suit that was filed, we'd be talking about potential liability now – see the post for the rationale.

TAKEAWAY: Whenever a complaint is lodged, investigate it and do not take adverse action against the person complaining. Just do it right.

The post on Wednesday 2/28/18 noted that graphic sexual harassment charges were filed against IHOP and Applebee's franchises. Sixty – that’s not a typo, 60 – employees in 8 states filed suits for sexual harassment against the restaurant chain that franchises both IHOP and Applebee's locations. One person is the IHOP franchisee of many locations in several states and oversees all operations and employees and was responsible for enforcement of the sexual harassment policy. The charges include sexual assault and sexually hostile work environment. The post gives some of the graphic details, including one case involving a 16-year-old girl. Ugh.

TAKEAWAY: Owners must train managers and make sure it is not the managers who are doing the harassing.

In the post on Thursday 3/1/18 we saw an Edinboro University coach files federal suit over discrimination and unequal pay. Melissa was the head women's volleyball coach; she sued in late January 2018 for gender discrimination, retaliation and unequal pay under Title VII, the Equal Pay Act and Title IX. The post details the pay disparity between Melissa and male coaches with the same experience and record. The post also details the difference between her pay raises and that of male coaches. Melissa's suit also alleges retaliation after she complained of unequal pay and other discrimination.

TAKEAWAY: Let's hope these allegations are not true – how can we teach the next generation not to discriminate and to treat all as equal if we don't set a good example now?

The post on Friday 3/2/18 noted Et tu, FedEx? Confidential information revealed. I think by now we all know not to dispose of document with confidential information by throwing them in the trash. But do you know how to dispose of electronic data? Apparently FedEx did not. The post details what it did – and why you should be wary of all vendors – and what type of data was involved. Scary. What's even scarier is that a similar thing happened with the military last year – see the post.   

TAKEAWAY: Know how to retain, store and dispose of confidential information about employees and clients. Don't even think about what happens if you don't.

Finally, in the post yesterday 3/3/18 we read that updating Governing Documents in a condo or homeowner association can be difficult if many owners are disinterested. We suggested you contact us for help with your association (whether you are an owner or a Board member). Most Declarations require a 2/3 majority of units to vote affirmatively for an amendment – that is usually difficult, if not impossible, to attain due to the disinterest of owners. Some associations have provisions in their Governing Documents that allow for a declining quorum so that business can be transacted at some point. The post gives an example. What do your Governing Documents provide? Do they need to be amended?

TAKEAWAY: Residents of planned communities (condo and homeowner associations) are bound by the Governing Documents – those documents should reflect the will of the residents.

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