In the post on Sunday 12/13/20, we read that an employee who was fired for asking out a younger woman gets a trial on his age bias claim. This case is happening close to home in the eastern part of PA. So, what is it about? A 54-year-old employee was allegedly fired for asking out a 21-year-old woman. The employer is defending the suit brought to age discrimination. The company described the employee’s performance – see the post – and mentioned the last straw, asking out the younger woman who was employed by a neighboring business. Wait, don’t get upset. The post explains why it was a problem and how it played out. But also explained in the post is how that provides fodder for the suit.
TAKEAWAY: We will say it again: make sure your managers are trained in what they can and cannot say to employees. It might make or break your defense in a lawsuit.
The post on Monday 12/14/20 told us a former Central Health executive sues for $1M+ for discrimination and retaliation. Larimen Thaddeus “Larry” Wallace was the former executive of the Central Health Board of Managers. Larry’s employment was terminated in December 2019 0 – the bases (yes, more than one!) are in the post. A reporter’s investigation was published on October 30 of this year and there is a link to it in the post. The parties were negotiating a settlement; when the Board rejected Larry’s’ offer of $775,000, he filed suit the next day. And the background? Larry, an African American, began to work there in September 2005. He served as Interim CEO for about 6 months but was not chosen as the permanent CEO. The person chosen as permanent CEO is a white male. There was a big to-do when it came to his selection – see the post. Once the new CEO was in place, he allegedly began to retaliate against Larry for having filed an EEO complaint. What form the retaliation took is detailed in the post.
TAKEAWAY: Even those at the top sometimes exhibit behavior that is not legal; the employer can take adverse action but must be able to support that action as itself being legal. Get assistance from an employment lawyer.
The post on Tuesday 12/15/20 told us that a lawsuit remains between a homeowner and HOA over roof shingle color. Yes, that can be life in a planned community. This is not an ostentatious color we are talking about: the difference is in shades of a standard shingle. The Association sued over the shingle color. The homeowner then replaced the roof to try to make the matter go away, but (at the time of the post) the suit had not been dismissed. The HOA’s position is in the post.
TAKEAWAY: When your home is in a condo or homeowner’s association, you have to abide by the Declaration, Bylaws and all Rules & Regulations; know what they are before you buy or take other action.
The post on Wednesday 12/16/20 alerted us that states are demanding refunds for unemployment money paid in error. We noted that this might affect you as an employee or employer. It is no longer news that someone filed for sorely needed unemployment benefits due to COVID. What is news is that in July, the state sent a letter saying this person was not eligible and had to repay almost $12,000. Other states, including Pennsylvania, are also trying to collect UC benefits that were allegedly wrongfully paid. But beware the difference between state unemployment monies and PUA (the federal pandemic unemployment assistance) monies – see the post.
TAKEAWAY: Eligibility for unemployment benefits is based on the applicable law; contact an employment lawyer knowledgeable about UC to assist you.
In the post on Thursday 12/17/20 we saw that Blackstone Consulting, Inc. will pay $37,500 to settle an EEOC national original discrimination suit. Blackstone provides environmental, facilities management and other services to its clients. It allegedly hired a woman from El Salvador as a part-time cleaner. She was limited in her English-speaking skills. Blackstone interviewed her in Spanish and trained her in Spanish. It also assigned her to work with a Spanish-speaking supervisor and co-worker in MD. Her performance was satisfactory. Bueno, right? Not so fast. About 2 months in, the director made a derogatory comment and talked about her ability to continue working there. See the post. The director then terminated her and told her she could come back in 30 days if she met the condition he imposed (which is noted in the post). She filed a charge and the EEOC sued. Now the employer has settled for monetary relief and more as noted in the post.
TAKEAWAY: Treat all employees the same and only take adverse action if performance warrants it.
The post on Friday 12/18/20 told us that Northwest Wireless is to pay $175,000 to settle an EEOC disability discrimination lawsuit. (It’s the season, or at least the week, of settlements.) . Northwest Wireless is an exclusive T-Mobile retailer. It employed someone with a congenital hearing impairment. During her employment, she learned of something her store manager had told to co-workers – see the post. That flew in the face of the easy accommodation she needed (noted in the post). She filed an internal complaint, eventually escalating it to the CEO/owner. And it wasn’t just her, but co-workers provided written statements supporting her complaint. She was a good performer, but the company fired her a month after she complained. Then, when conciliation failed, the EEOC filed suit. Now that is settled for both monetary and non-monetary relief (as listed in the post).
TAKEAWAY: Train all employees on their rights and obligations under the ADA – and contact an employment lawyer if needed if a question as to the legality of an adverse action arises.
Finally, in the post yesterday 12/19/20 (and continuing with the settlement theme), we saw that a grill & pub will pay $20,000 to settle a sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit. This actually happened in Atlanta, but it could be anywhere. A male cook allegedly made sexual advances toward a female cook. He made obscene physical displays and more (see the post); she reported him. What did the company do in return? It removed her form the schedule. As is often the case, conciliation filed, so the EEOC filed suit. Now the employer has settled; it will pay monetary damages and agreed to non-monetary actions as well as noted in the post.
TAKEAWAY: Need we say it again?!? Trained managers in what they can and cannot say (or do) to employees. Help yourself in case you are sued.