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ICYMI: Our Social Media Posts This Week – Mar. 17 - 23, 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 3/17/19 we asked: (How) Should an employer keep time for an exempt employee? Important question if you want to keep on the correct side of legal. The best, and safest, answer may be YES. One example is the case in the post. So what happened? The employee alleged that the employer did not pay minimum and overtime wages. The trial court found the employer's records lacking for the reasons in the post. That part was upheld on appeal and the employer's burden specified as in the post.

TAKEAWAY: make sure you can prove both the hours worked and classification as exempt – in case you need to.

The post on Monday 3/18/19 confirmed that “She slept her way to the top!" can be sexual harassment. But wait, it's just office gossip, right? Not necessarily according to a federal appeals court. Sexual harassment doesn't have to be sexy. For example, a supervisor believes that women should stay at home and care for their husbands – and shares that opinion with his female employees. Once might be ok, but over and over … see the post. Here, Evangeline was promoted 6 times in less than two years. She says that a male peer (hired at the same time but now her subordinate) started a false rumor noted in the post. What happened after that is also in the post. After she was fired, she sued. Evangeline is supported by some heavy hitters – see the post – and decisions from other federal courts, including our own Third Circuit. 

TAKEAWAY: Stop office gossip before it starts – help yourself help prevent a possible future lawsuit. Contact an employment attorney if you need assistance with training your employees.

The post on Tuesday 3/19/19 was about barking dogs, booming music: how to resolve neighbor noise complaints. Does that resolution involve the homeowners' or condo association? It depends. Is there a noise ordinance in the municipality? Is there a rule or covenant in the Association that limits noise? Do other things in the post apply?

TAKEAWAY: While there are many parts of life in the community that are dealt with by the Association's Governing Documents, they do not govern everything; consult a community lawyer to know who has what rights and what everyone should do.

The post on Wednesday 3/20/19 told us that firing an employee with flesh-eating bacteria did not violate the ADA. Gary worked as the City's accountant and payroll technician. He contracted/came down with a "flesh-eating" bacteria. After the employer took the action in the post, over about a year, Gary filed suit for ADA violation (failure to accommodate and engage in the interactive process) and retaliation. Why the court ruled for the employer is also in the post. Note that the accommodation of last resort, reassignment, is also mentioned in the post.

TAKEAWAY: Assuming the employee is eligible for ADA protection, the employer must engage in the interactive accommodation process – but there are limits. Consult an employment lawyer to be sure of what your rights and obligations are as part of that process.

In the post on Thursday 3/21/19 we saw that the Park School of Baltimore will pay $41,000 to settle an EEOC sex discrimination suit. Out of the mouth of ... the employer. So what happened? The school hired a male softball coach, renewed it twice, and then did not renew it for the third time. The reason it gave for the non-renewal is in the post. The EEOC sued. Now the parties are settling for the items listed in the post.

TAKEAWAY: Well you know what they say about loose lips; it's true. Train your employees on what to say and not to say.

The post on Friday 3/22/19 told us that voicemail disputes lead to a jury trial on FMLA issues. We suggested that you train managers on what to record - have them help make the case. So where does all of this come from? Ms. Holladay was approved for intermittent FMLA leave for migraines. She left a voicemail for her employer when she was absent for 4 days in a row. What did she say in those voicemails? See the post. And why it mattered is also in the post. After she was discharged, she alleged FMLA interference. What – and why – the court ruled is in the post.

TAKEAWAY:  It is important for both the employer and employee to follow the rules/policies; if not, make sure to document it for future reference.

Finally, in the post yesterday 3/23/19 we saw that IHOP settled sex harassment suits. To the tune of $700,000, not peanuts (or pancakes). The allegations? That owners, supervisors, managers and co-workers at 9 locations subjected female employees to sexual harassment including those things listed in the post. When reported, instead of taking corrective action, the employer … see the post. There were also allegations about the inadequate policy maintained by the employer; it too is detailed in the post.  

TAKEAWAY: Yes employers, you should have policies on how, where and to whom reports of harassment should be made– but the policies should be reasonable. And when there are complaints, you must actually investigate.

References (3)

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