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ICYMI: Our Social Media Posts This Week – April 14 - 20, 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 4/14/19 we learned that a jury may hear claim that Costco managers ignored disability harassment. Ouch! Here the employee had Tourette's syndrome and OCD. He alleged that his co-workers mocked him; what he alleged about Costco's response is in the post. In allowing the case to go to a jury, the appellate court sided with other federal courts permitting assertion of a hostile work environment claim under the ADA. Why the court ruled that way is in the post.

TAKEAWAY: Hostile work environment does not mean hell, but it does still mean something. Consult an employment law attorney about your situation.

The post on Monday 4/15/19 told us an employer will pay $70,000 to settle sexual harassment lawsuit. We suggested that you just look at the underlying allegations. And what are they? That for about a year and a half, a supervisor demanded sexual favors from 2 non-English-speaking Hispanic female employees. And more discussed in the post. And when one employee refused, she was fired. The EEOC sued.                                                                                     

TAKEAWAY: Train your employees what to do and not to – and make sure they toe the line. Otherwise you will end up in hot water.

The post on Tuesday 4/16/19 was about a woman who lied about her identity and stole $50K from Hollywood Condo Association. We asked: Are your controls in place? The woman served as Association treasurer. Late last year, someone looked at bank statements. What they noticed is in the post.

TAKEAWAY: Make sure you have checks and balances, controls, in place in your Association. Discuss them with a community association lawyer to ensure your risk is minimized.

The post on Wednesday 4/17/19 alerted us to EEOC proposed changes – we suggested you read it. What changes? Expanding use of the electronic portal, clarifying the meaning of a "no cause" dismissal, and more listed in the post. How the changes will play out are also in the post. The comment period extends through 4/23/19. 

TAKEAWAY: Assuming these changes occur, you need to know if and how they will affect you. Pay attention.

In the post on Thursday 4/18/19 we learned that Netflix faces a pregnancy discrimination case. What happened? Tania developed original content for Netflix starting mid-2018. She says that she told her boss about her pregnancy. What he did allegedly after that is in the post. Of course Tania then complained to HR who told her to go discuss the situation with her boss; HR also … see the post. When Tania asked for a transfer, it was denied and she was fired. The saga continues …

TAKEAWAY: Remember that pregnant employees are protected – do what is required and discuss adverse action with an employment lawyer before acting.

The post on Friday 4/19/19 told us that an employer may be liable for harassment by a non-employee. Yep. Employers must protect employees, even if it involves third parties, if they know about the behavior. Here Ms. Gardner worked for an assisted living facility as a CNA. She had appropriate training and experience. She was assigned to work with a patient who the employer knew was more aggressive toward female caregivers, would sexually assault them by grabbing their private areas, and more (yes more!) in the post. Gardner was one staff member who complained. What was the employer's (completely inappropriate and unbelievable) response? See the post. A bad and escalating incident is described in the post, including alleged comments made. Gardner then asked not to provide care for that resident anymore; her request was denied. She went to the ER as a result of injuries from the big incident and was out for 3 months. Soon after her return, she was discharged. The bases given for the discharge are in the post. Gardner filed suit. The appeals court allowed it to proceed since the harassment was known to the employer. The post also mentions another situation where an employer was held liable for third-party harassment.

TAKEAWAY: Create a safe environment for employees by having an anti-harassment policy in place, train everyone on the policy, respond to complaints, and act as appropriate.

Finally, in the post yesterday 4/20/19 we learned that a 600-lb bus driver lost his job and lawsuit. Is obesity covered by applicable law? We asked if you know how this would play out in PA? Ok, so what happened? Corey had never been determined to be disabled and had passed every physical since he was hired as a bus driver in 2005 – and had never weighed less than 500 pounds in that time. In 2015, that changed. See the post for what happened, including a second doctor's opinion (that supported the first). He sued and included a hostile work environment count. Why? Because of the comments from colleagues noted in the post. The court did not find in his favor on any counts; its reasoning is also in the post and makes a good but quick read.

TAKEAWAY: For an adverse decision to be illegal, it actually has to be against applicable law. If you are not sure of your position, consult an employment lawyer.

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