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 3/8/20, we learned that DoorDash insisted its workers arbitrate and a judge is now holding the company to that. Usually it’s the company trying to enforce the arbitration clause in an agreement, but here the tables were turned. Here, the arbitration provision is in agreements that delivery drivers sign before they work for DoorDash. The provisions are in the post. So here over 5000 (not a typo) drivers invoked the arbitration provision. That resulted in huge legal bills to DoorDash (as to how much, see the post). Door Dash then refused to pay, so they all tried to enforce the arbitration provision. What DoorDash argued, and why the court didn’t buy it, is also in the post. So, the saga continues – in over 5000 cases.  

TAKEAWAY: what’s good for the goose is indeed good for the gander – be willing to play by the rules you put in place.

The post on Monday 3/9/20 was about Pennsylvania’s new overtime rules. We suggested that you know the law. So, what do these rules do? They phase in new thresholds for payment of overtime wages. This year it matches the federal salary threshold: $35,568. The 2021 and 2022 thresholds are in the post. This is for executive, administrative and professional workers to be exempt from overtime pay. Since this year’s number matches the federal threshold, there is no benefit to Pennsylvania workers. How many workers this could affect, and the wage increases they might see, are noted in the post. There are also other provisions of the new rules as to how to satisfy the increase – see the post – so know what they provide. And even if someone meets the salary threshold, they must still meet the duties test to be exempt. Some ways employers might work around the new thresholds are in the post.

TAKEAWAY: Know ALL parts of the rules to see if overtime must be paid.

The post on Tuesday 3/10/20 was about the ‘equivalent of an hotel stay’: Judge backs board in banning online rentals. As in many places, owners in this association were engaging in short-term rentals through web-based platforms such as those noted in the post. The association imposed a ban and when owners did not comply, sued. The judge upheld the association’s right to impose the ban. The judge’s analysis is in the post.

TAKEAWAY: Associations can – and do – limit or totally ban short-term rentals. Consult a community association lawyer to make sure it’s done properly and legally.

The post on Wednesday 3/11/20 kept with the overtime theme: it noted that unpaid overtime can be a timekeeping trap for a retaliation suit. Ok, so you should know that not only will certain workers be entitled to overtime pay, but you must actually pay them. Even if you didn’t authorize the time. Let’s see how that played out in the post. David alleged that Work Zone retaliated against him for asking about unpaid overtime in violation of the FLSA. His job duties, and how they were affected by the company’s policies, are in the post. During one workweek in June 2016, David claimed 92 hours of pay, including 52 hours of overtime pay. The company then examined his time records. How this played out after that is in the post. He was terminated and sued, claiming that the reason given for the discharge was not the real reason (which is in the post). While David lost at the trial court level, he won (the right to go to trial) on appeal. The appellate court’s reasoning is in the post and makes sense.

            TAKEAWAY: Employers beware: note the reason for an adverse action, make sure the action is appropriate under the circumstances, and evenly enforce policies.

In the post on Thursday 3/12/20, we read that a former F5 Networks employee sued the company, alleging pregnancy discrimination and retaliation. She alleged that executives and her peers discriminated against her when she was pregnant and that she returned from maternity leave to a hostile work environment. Ugh. Cambria says she was treated as a valuable employee – until she got pregnant. After that, the company allegedly prevented her from using its telecommuting policy and other things noted in the post. The company says it will defend the suit. The entire complaint can be accessed through a link in the post.

TAKEAWAY: Treat all employees the same – unless and until required to treat them differently under applicable law. Consult an employment lawyer for assistance.

The post on Friday 3/13/20 taught us that the NLRB upholds policies restricting cell phone use, non-work email use and disclosure of confidential information. And yes, even you non-union employers care: because this involves Section 7 rights, it applies to AL employers. The end result was that the judge held the employer maintained lawful workplace rules restricting employee use of (i) cell phones in commercial vehicles, (ii) the company email server for purposes not related to work, and (iii) the disclosure of confidential business information. But how did it get to that point? The employer is a national supplier of concrete and has policies in place for its employee including truck drivers. Thee policies were at issue. The first barred cell phones from being in the cab of a commercial and/or heavy equipment vehicle. The reason for that policy, along with the other 2 policies at issue, is in the post. At one point the employer suspended and subsequently discharged an employee for suspected possession of a cell phone in his concrete truck in violation of the Cell Phone Policy.  His termination occurred after an unsuccessful attempt by the employer and the union representing some truck drivers to resolve the issue. The employee then challenged not only that policy, but the other 2 as well. The Board (after appeal from the decision of an Administrative Law Judge) applied a test that looks at three categories of policies as noted in the post. The Board analyzed the policies and categories in which they fell as detailed in the post.

TAKEAWAY: Whether a policy will draw the attention of the NLRB can depend on so many things – ensure that your policies are all legal so that you don’t have to worry. Engage the assistance of an employment lawyer.

Finally, in the post yesterday 3/14/20, we saw that a fence company agreed to pay $25,000 to settle an EEOC race harassment lawsuit. Here, the EEOC sued on behalf of African American employee Arri Samuels. The allegations were that coworkers, including the warehouse manager, verbally harassed Arri based on his race (how is in the post). When Arri complained, nothing was done and the behavior continued. Ultimately, he found something in the warehouse; what coworkers did, about which Arri did not complain, and the reaction of the warehouse manager (which violated the employer’s policy) are all in the post. Soon after, Arri quit and brought charges. As part of the suit, the employer filed for summary judgment; it lost and Arri’s case was allowed to go forward. Then the case settled for $25,000 and the other relief noted in the post.

TAKEAWAY: Policies are there for all employees to follow, even (and perhaps especially) those in management – hold them to it to avoid or pay a hefty price.

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