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ICYMI: Our Social Media Posts This Week – May 5 - 11, 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 5/5/19 we learned that the NLRB weighed in on confidentiality, personal use of company email, and other workplace policies. And yes, this applies to all workplaces under Section 7, so read this. The first subject touched upon was handbook confidentiality – just don't. Next were workplace rules – one on payroll confidentiality and the other banning the use of the employer's emails, even during non-work hours. How the NLRB opined on the first is in the post. As to the second, it implicates Purple Communications and id discussed in the post. Another rule was upheld under Section 7 – this is important to most employers, so see the post. Other rules discussed had to do with clothing, handling of confidential information, media relations, and personal cell phone use – see the post for details.

TAKEAWAY: Even for non-union workplaces, Section 7 applies, so make sure you vet policies with employment counsel to ensure legality.

The post on Monday 5/6/19 told us an employer settled an EEOC suit with $60K and apology letter to trans applicant. The suit was filed against A&E Tire on the basis of sex discrimination. It alleged the offer of a job to Egan with the requirement of a background check. What they learned is in the post and resulted in him not being hired (but instead hiring someone else).

TAKEAWAY: PA does not yet consider discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation to be illegal, but it might soon – and the Supreme Court might also decide that in the cases it recently accepted for argument.

The post on Tuesday 5/7/19 kept the same theme; it was about a judge tossing a sexual orientation bias case against Parx Casino (based on the status of the law now in PA). A casino worker brought suit, claiming discrimination due to her sexual orientation. She is an African-American identifying as lesbian with a "masculine gender expression". The type of conduct she endured is in the post. After she was fired, she sued. The Court felt compelled to dismiss on the basis in the post, but noted that the future might hold a different result in other cases.

TAKEAWAY: Even though this type of discrimination is not yet illegal in PA, the best way to proceed is to have a valid basis – other than sexual orientation – to take adverse action.

The post on Wednesday 5/8/19 was about what happens when a candidate for the Association Board has already been on for many years? Do you know PA law? Your Governing Documents? It is not uncommon for the same people to remain on the Board for many years – primarily because nobody else volunteers. So the question is, what happens if one of those long-serving Board members will not (or cannot) renew and there is an open position? The post talks about that under its circumstances.

TAKEAWAY: Know what state law and your Governing Documents provide for eligibility for the Board and also to fill open seats. Consult a community association lawyer to assist.

In the post on Thursday 5/9/19 we talked about age discrimination: what it looks like and what to do when it happens. AKA, what employers, employees, and applicants should keep in mind. For federal purposes, the age for discrimination purposes is 40. Yep. Most of the time age discrimination is not blatant, but more circumspect. For example, "I’m not sure you've heard of this modern invention called email" and several other things noted in the post. And what can be done about it? It starts with everyone knowing their rights (for employers, what they can legally do and for employees and applicants, how to respond if they feel that discrimination occurred). Other tips are in the post, including how to fight age discrimination.

TAKEAWAY: Let's say it again: everyone must know what employers can and cannot do (legally) and the rights of employees/applicants if they feel discrimination has occurred. Employment lawyers can help with both situations.

The post on Friday 5/10/19 was about reasonable accommodations: a jury verdict provides practical lessons. The plaintiff in the case in the post had a mental health disability and alleged discrimination as a result (for failure to reasonably accommodate her). Details are in the post. The jury – yes it went to a jury! – came back big for the plaintiff. The actual award is also in the post.

TAKEAWAY: Know how to respond when the ADA is implicated – don't wait for a jury to tell you what you did wrong.

Finally, in the post yesterday 5/11/19, we asked: Does Title VII protect hetreosexuals from discrimination?  Hmmm. What if s/he is expressing an opinion that is bigoted? The post mentions a post that might occur on social media and asks how an employer, who is LGBTQ, might respond. Can the employee be disciplined? And fired if s/he complains about the discipline? This actually happened. What was ironic was that the plaintiff had to argue that Title VII protects against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation (since it was being eminently hetero that resulted in the bigoted posts). How and why the court ruled is in the post.

TAKEAWAY: What an employee says may be protected, but where and how it is said may not. Consult an employment lawyer to ensure any adverse action in this type of situation is legal.

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