ICYMI: Our Social Media Posts This Week – Dec. 29, 2019 – Jan. 4, 2020

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 12/29/19 we saw that a subcontractor on the Apple Park campus ignored racist graffiti (alleges the EEOC). Air Systems, Inc. is an electrical subcontractor. The EEOC alleges that it tolerated racial harassment of African American workers between June 2016 – September 2017. What happened? Allegedly racist graffiti including swastikas and epithets drawn on porta-potty walls on the job site and more (yes more!) noted in the post. And that when 2 African American workers complained about a racial slur from a white co-worker, the company did nothing (but the alleged response from one foreman is in the post). The EEOC filed suit after conciliation failed; it seeks compensation and punitive damages. The company’s response to the suit? See the post.

            TAKEAWAY: Train your managers how to handle complains of harassment and discrimination – and not to be the actor in such conduct – and act against those who don’t comply.

The post on Monday 12/30/19 reminded us to handle with care: advice for avoiding and managing retaliation claims. The first thing we see in the post is that retaliation allegations are present in over half of all EEOC charges, topping the list. That’s because actions that may not fit into another protected category are (or seem to be) retaliatory. So how can an employer protect itself? First, have an anti-retaliation policy with contents as noted in the post. Next, promptly and thoroughly investigate complaints; do it in the way noted in the post. Three more steps/items are also in the post and should be followed.

TAKEAWAY: Don’t think that just because something isn’t legally harassing or discriminatory that you are off the hook; claims of retaliation can still be made and you need to know how to defend and, hopefully, avoid them.

The post on Tuesday 12/31/19 ended the year and told us that Burgers & Beer settles a sex discrimination suit. This is a Sothern California food chain. The EEOC alleged that it did not hire, and would not transfer employees into, server positions if they were male. That left the company with almost all female servers.  How long was that practice going on? See the post. When conciliation failed, the EEOC filed suit. The terms of the settlement, which includes monetary relief and more, are in the post (and are far-reaching).

TAKEAWAY: Don’t take adverse action against a protected class without legal justification – consult an employment lawyer to see if there is a basis or to help you after the fact.

The posts on Wednesday 1/1/20, here, here and here, wished you a happy new year 2020 and noted you have a clean slate.   

            TAKEAWAY: Austin Law Firm LLC is here to help with your legal needs in 2020 and beyond.

In the post on Thursday 1/2/20 we learned that Ford Motor Co. did not violate the ADA by taking 10 months to reassign employee. Randona Johnson took 5 months of medical leave; Ford filled his position during that time. In order to return, Johnson requested reassignment to a vacant position as an accommodation. It took Ford a long time to offer him a job; he sued for failure to accommodate. How and why both the (federal) trial and appellate courts ruled is in the post. The post also provides a good guide for employers to follow. QUERY: would this have been different under the FMLA?  

TAKEAWAY: Reassignment can be an accommodation, but it is the last resort – and comes with exceptions. Consult an employment lawyer if this issue arises.

The post on Friday 1/3/30 showed us that Laz Parking settles an EEOC national origin discrimination suit for $155K. This case comes from down the road in Baltimore, MD. The allegations are that LAZ terminated 3 long-term employees based on their national origin. Details as to how, when and whom are in the post.  Further, the operations manager mocked the accent of one of the employees and made a comment that should have given the EEOC an open and shut case – see the post. Suit was filed after conciliation failed. Now it has settled for the monetary relief and much more noted in the post.

            TAKEAWAY: It’s amazing how often we have to say this – train your employees, especially managers, what to say and not say, and how to act, and enforce violations.

Finally, in the post yesterday 1/4/20, we continued with the theme of settlements and saw that Sammy’s Gentlemen’s Club pays $20K in sex discrimination lawsuit. The EEOC again filed suit after conciliation failed. Here, it sued a gentlemen’s club for allegedly failing to hire James for a bartender position because of his gender. What James said happened is in the post. Also in the post is the general manager’s alleged response. Now, the Club is to pay to settle and offer other relief.

TAKEAWAY: Gender is almost never a legal basis to take adverse action against someone – consult an employment lawyer before taking such action.

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