ICYMI: Our Social Media Posts This Week – June 17 – 23, 2018

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 6/17/18 we were told that the EEOC sued Walmart for alleged discrimination against 2 deaf employees. So listen up. The suit was filed very recently in federal court in DC based on the treatment visited on 2 deaf employees who use sign language to communicate. They were not new employees but had been working there several years. The post mentions the ways in which Walmart did not accommodate them. The post also mentions Walmart’s position.

TAKEAWAY: Know what you have to do to accommodate an employee – and then do it. Don’t wait for the EEOC to come knocking.

The post on Monday 6/18/18 was a learning experience: an employer may have to defend comments about pregnant workers.  A federal court will let a matter go to a jury to decide if Alena was fired for violating a company policy or because she was pregnant. Alena alleges that she was terminated because others in her work group were already pregnant. Evidence noted in the post seems to bear out her allegation. Of course, the company came forth with a different legitimate reason for the discharge. The trial court let eh employer out on summary judgment, but the appeals court reversed on the analysis noted in the post.

TAKEAWAY: Don’t treat pregnant employees differently than anyone else, and don’t change your story time and again as to the reason for any adverse action.

In the post on Tuesday 6/19/18 we read about HOA to resident: Take down your Golden Nights flag or pay up. We all know those who are true sports fans – and show it via apparel or sometimes a flag. Well that’s what Montoya did, but then his HOA told him to remove the flag. The HOA’s reason is noted in the post. However, there is a question as to even enforcement of the rule cited by the HOA – see the post.

TAKEAWAY: Community associations, both condo and homeowner, have Governing Documents –the Declaration, Bylaws, and often Rules or Regulations – that all owners and residents must follow. The Association is charged with enforcing the Governing Documents, but when it does not evenly enforce them it can find itself on the losing end of protecting that provision.

The post on Wednesday 6/20/18 told us that policy and legitimate business reasons may carry the day. What does that mean, you ask? Read on. Everson asked for time off for medical reasons which was granted. Later, he notified the employer he’d need more time off for medical reasons. That too was granted. Then, a mere 2 days later, he was fired for a supposed policy violation (the post details what it was). Everson sued, alleging retaliation for requesting FMLA leave. The employer moved for summary judgment. The court ruled in its favor for the reasons set forth in the post.  

TAKEAWAY: An employer which has policies must make them known to employees and evenly enforce them.

In the post on Thursday 6/21/18 we learned that an ex-brewery employee sued for racial discrimination. The suit was filed against Anheuser-Busch’s brewery in Williamsburg, Virginia, on the basis that it paid white employees more than others. The plaintiff is a black woman.  More details on the duties, salaries at issue, and timing of events are in the post. Allegations as to what the employer knew, and on what it took no action, are in the post.  

TAKEAWAY: Make sure to pay people doing the same job the same wages unless there is a legally justifiable reason for any difference. And don’t take public action to undermine any stated reason for a wage differential.

The post on Friday 6/22/18 was about a suit claiming Facebook tools are used by employers to screen out older job seekers. Ugh. A class action suit now includes more companies and says the filters are on the bases of gender, geography, race and age. Pretty wide net. The suit says that Facebook’s algorithms perpetuate disparate treatment. Some of the defendants are Amazon and T-Mobile – others are listed in the post. See the post for what Facebook says about its targeted on-line advertising.

TAKEAWAY: Just because an employer is using a new medium to advertise job openings does not mean it can discriminate – on the contrary, it must still follow applicable laws.

Finally, in the post yesterday 6/23/18 we saw that volunteering information bars a GINA claim. You remember what GINA is, right? (If not, the post gives a bit of background.) A federal court was faced with deciding if there was a violation of that law. Here, after a medical diagnosis, Williams requested medical leave. He mentioned part of the diagnosis upon repeated questioning. After he was terminated, Williams filed suit. The employer moved for summary judgment. Check out the post to find out why the court granted the employer’s motion. NOTE: the case is on appeal now.

TAKEAWAY: Know what is and is not allowed to be asked or discussed under GINA. But take the defense given to you if an employee volunteers information.

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