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ICYMI: Our Social Media Posts This Week – May 26 - June 1, 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 5/26/19 we saw that 'Preferably Caucasian' job opening for account manager goes viral.  Yes, that's actually what an ad said (and more in the post). When someone saw the ad, she tweeted it back to the job listing company. Then socmed took over. Even the company that posted it commented; see the post. Thank goodness it realized its wrong …

TAKEAWAY: Discrimination takes many forms, but often not as overt as this. Be careful of what is done under your name.

The post on Monday 5/27/19, Memorial Day, was a time to remember – for those in their workplaces or those with the day off.

TAKEAWAY: Remember the reason for the holiday, but also remember to pay employees appropriately for that holiday.

The post on Tuesday 5/28/19 told us about a homeowner out $45K after HOA sues over wine truck in driveway. Ah, springtime – the birds, insects, and improvements to your property. But enter the restrictions in a planned community (condo or homeowners). Jenn learned the hard (and expensive) way. She started a mobile wine truck in 2016. What she did is in the post. Jenn lives in a community with an HOA. At some point she used the truck to move family property. Thereafter, she received a notice from the HOA – the basis is in the post. She did what was asked. Then the HOA sued her on the same basis and more – see the post. Now she has to pay her own attorney's fees and those of the HOA.

TAKEAWAY: Before you move into a planned community, know the rights and obligations of owners and the Association; consult with a community association lawyer to ensure you understand.

The post on Wednesday 5/29/19 told us what a gay skydiver has in common with a woman "too macho" to make partner. Yes, there is common ground. And now, 55 years after enactment, the Supreme Court will decide if Title VII includes sexual orientation and gender identity in its prohibition of discrimination "because of sex". The EEOC says it does; 5 of the 12 federal appeals courts (and many lower federal courts) have also ruled as noted in the post. Two of the cases before SCOTUS were brought by gay men. First, Donald was a skydiving instructor and Gerald a child welfare services coordinator. How their cases got to the Court is in the post. The third case before the Court concerns Aimee, who had worked at a funeral home for 6 years before disclosing she is transgender. She was fired soon after that. The kicker is what the employer said – see the post. When the Court considers those cases, it will do so against the backdrop of a 1971 case finding discriminatory a refusal to hire others of small children, along with other cases like those in 1977 and more in the post. The Court also must contend with prior LGBT cases, starting with Price Waterhouse v Hopkins from the 1980s. Background on that case is in the post, including what the employer told her. The post contains even more history related to the issue and makes for an interesting read.

TAKEAWAY: Courts are divided on whether Title VII bars discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity – we might finally get a decisive ruling from the Supreme Court, so stay tuned.

In the post on Thursday 5/30/19 we learned about a $3.8M jury verdict for excessive breastfeeding. Yes, you read that right. Carrie was a paramedic for the City Fire Department. She alleged in her complaint that she was not provided with an appropriate lactation room, consistently, and more as noted in the post. And what were some of the alleged comments? That the employer's scheduler told her that he didn't think she deserved special accommodation and other comments listed in the post (which are just horrible). The jury agreed with Carrie to the tune of $3.8 million. What it found as art of its verdict is in the post.

TAKEAWAY: Know the requirements of both federal and state law relative to pregnant and breastfeeding employees; consult your employment lawyer to ensure you fulfill your obligations.

The post on Friday 5/31/19 told us that SCOTUS was asked to decide whether the ADEA protects outside job applicants. The plaintiff in the case is Dale Kleber, a 58-year-old man, who is supported and backed in his position by AARP. Dale applied for an in-house attorney position. The advertisement requested a minimum of 7 years' experience. Dale was not hired; a 29-year-old was. Dale sued. On appeal, the federal appellate court said that the ADEA does not apply to external applicants. Now the case is in front of the Supreme Court. The basis for the appeal is in the post and has far-reaching effect. Now it is up to SCOTUS to accept or decline to hear the case.

TAKEAWAY: Age discrimination is still prevalent in the workplace – train your employees on what they can and cannot say and do to ensure your name is not listed as a defendant in a case.

Finally, in the post yesterday 6/1/19, we read that an employee fired for panic attacks can take ADA claim to the jury. Judith, a car dealership employee, had anxiety, depression and panic attacks. The court said that she might have a disability based on how those things affected her – see the post. When it first happened, she told her supervisor, then followed up later. She kept him in the loop. What the employer argued is in the post; why the court ruled against it is also in the post. See how just one stray comment can make or break a case?!?! .

TAKEAWAY: Well, we said it yesterday, but well say it again – make sure to train employees on what they can and cannot say. It is your name and company on the legal line.

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