In the post on Sunday 11/22/20, we learned that Pittsburgh banned hairstyle discrimination. Yep, the CROWN Acts became effective October 20, 2020, in Allegheny County and the City of Pittsburgh. The County statute bans discrimination based on any characteristic, texture, form or manner of wearing an individual’s hair if such characteristic, texture, form or manner is commonly associated with a particular race, national origin, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, or religion. The City’s statute is more specific; its language is in the post. Further, the Pittsburgh Commission on Human Rights has issued guidance on that statute; the post has a link to the guidance. So why do you care about this? Because the laws can have an effect on company dress, grooming and appearance policies. Training such as that noted in the post would be a good idea.
TAKEAWAY: Employers must know the law and stay on the right side of it in dealings with employees.
The post on Monday 11/23/20 was about a car dealership sued by the EEOC for disability discrimination. The dealers employ over 1900 people at 40 dealerships around the country; the one at issue here is in CA, but the federal law is the same everywhere. A title clerk at a Ford dealership began undergoing testing for cancer after missing a few days of work for a sudden illness. She told her supervisor about the testing and when she planned to return to work. Before that happened, she received a letter terminating her employment. The contents of the letter, which will surprise you, are noted in the post. After conciliation failed, the EEOC brought suit. The bases of the suit are in the post as well as the relief requested (in addition to monetary damages).
TAKEAWAY: Don’t assume someone is impaired or disabled; if they don’t ask or give you any valid basis to think an accommodation is necessary, then treat them just like every other employee.
The post on Tuesday 11/24/20 told us that DesertTruss and Buttrum Construction will Pay $70,000 to settle an EEOC sexual harassment and retaliation suit. The defendants are a construction supplies manufacturer and a home building company. What did they (allegedly) do? Subjected a female employee to repeated unwelcome and offensive sexual advances – by the companies’ owner! And after the employee complained to the owner and another manager … see the post. Conciliation failed so the EEOC filed suit. The settlement involves monetary relief and the other things noted in the post.
TAKEAWAY: Not only should managers be trained as to what to do and say, or not do and say, but the owners too must know what action is legal or illegal.
The post on Wednesday 11/25/20 asked: Can an homeowners’ or condo association fine an owner for removing ‘Wear Your Mask’ signs? The signs at issue were put up by the Association. The owner removed some of them from a common area. The Association then fined the person for violating the Rules. The type of process often followed after that is in the post.
TAKEAWAY: Planned communities – those within homeowner and condominium associations – come with various restrictions and Rules/Regulations by which everyone must abide. Discuss your issue with a community association lawyer before taking matters into your own hands.
In the posts on Thursday 11/26/20, here, here and here, we recognized Thanksgiving 2020 as a time to remember what has been lost to COVID this year, to be thankful to be here, and to look to a brighter future.
TAKEAWAY: Sometimes it’s ok to just focus on life and not talk “legal” for a day.
The post on Friday 11/27/20 was a reminder: cannabis companies must comply with federal workplace anti-discrimination laws too. Yes, cannabis is an illegal substance under federal law, but companies in that industry still must comply with applicable federal employment laws, including Title VII, the ADEA and the ADA. Also, if the state or local jurisdiction requires training, they must comply. Recent cases serve as examples (not only in the cannabis industry but for all employers) of what NOT to do. The first suit was brought July 29, 2020 by a transgender woman with PTSD and brain trauma injuries related to military service (and diagnoses of depression and anxiety). She worked at a marijuana dispensary. She alleged that the supervisors and employees subjected her to sexist and transphobic comments and conduct, including HR making public her transition after she was passed over for promotion, asking for personal and medical information about the transition and sharing it in the workplace without her permission, and much more noted in the post. Ugh. But it didn’t stop there. When she requested accommodations and leave for her disabilities, the employer refused EFML leave. Then when she asked to return to work, how did the employer respond? See the post. She sued, the employer has filed an answer, and the case is pending. The other 2 cases discussed in the post were filed September 16 and 24, 2020, and also are good warnings.
TAKEAWAY: As an employer, remember your obligations under applicable federal, state and local laws – consult an employment lawyer if you have any questions at all.
Finally, in the post yesterday 11/28/20 we learned that the EEOC sued Dell for allegedly violating equal pay laws. So, what happened? Kea is an IT Analyst with 24 years of experience. She worked for AIG in its storage department; in September 2017, Dell acquired the department which included Kea and 3 male employees. Kea did the same work as David. But were they paid the same? See the post. Kea complained, but Dell did nothing. The EEOC filed suit. Dell has yet to respond.
TAKEAWAY: Look at the skills and duties of a position, not who is performing those skills and duties; pay equally for the same sills and duties.