ICYMI: Our Social Media Posts This Week – May 27 – June 2, 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 5/27/18 we saw that an harassment victim cannot choose the punishment. Douglas worked for a phone company with an anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies. There was a system to report (alleged) violations. Douglas sued the system as a result of what he perceived to be a violation – see the post for what happened. What happened to the employee against whom the complaint was lodged was not what Douglas requested (as detailed in the post), so he sued.

TAKEAWAY: The employer often retains discretion to do what it thinks is necessary in the circumstances to remedy discrimination or harassment.

The posts on Monday 5/28/18, here and here, are a tribute to Memorial Day. It’s necessary to take time and remember those without whom we’d not be where we are.

TAKEAWAY: Remembering the past and being thankful can help us move forward.

In the post on Tuesday 5/29/18 we noted that employers should take care when responding to a resume mentioning a union. Remember that some parts of the NLRA apply to both union and non-union workplaces. So make sure not to take adverse action against someone with a union past or leanings – as in the post.

TAKEAWAY:  If you are about to take adverse action against an employee or applicant but it might be based on a protected characteristic, consult legal counsel before taking the action.

The post on Wednesday 5/30/18 asked: Newly elected to your HOA or condo board? First step: understand your Governing Documents (and contact us). More and more people each year move to planned communities, those governed by a condominium or homeowners’ association. The association ensures that the documents by which all owners are bound are evenly enforced. Members of the board of the association are charged with that duty (among others). To carry it out, members must know about the association’s Governing Documents. Definitions are in the post along with a snippet about each. State law also comes into play. As also noted in the post, what is also important is knowing what you don’t know.

TAKEAWAY: The Governing Documents are legal and binding; often the help of legal counsel is needed to interpret or enforce their provisions.

In the post on Thursday 5/31/18 we saw that a federal court says a manager’s alleged fear of “voodoo curses” constituted race discrimination. And that the line between race and national origin discrimination continues to blur. Here, the court let a case brought under Section 1981 to go forward. The bases of suit included race and national origin claims under Section 1981 and Title VII and were based on allegations that a supervisor wanted to terminate employees originally from Africa. Why? See the post. The court examined the differences (or not) between race claims under Section 1981 and Title VII. The rationale is in the post.

TAKEAWAY: Before taking adverse action against an employee or applicant based on what is or might be a protected characteristic, consult legal counsel to help you stay out of hot (and expensive) water.

The post on Friday 6/1/18 noted a lawsuit accuses AT&T Mobility of pregnancy discrimination. Why do you care? Because of the basis on which they were discharged as noted in the post. If your company has a similar policy, read the post.

TAKEAWAY: yes, pregnant employees are to be treated like all others, but there are limitations under the PDA and FMLA. Know them.

Finally, in the post yesterday 6/2/18 we asked: can employee voluntarily work while on FMLA leave? A federal court recently wrestled with this question and the answer has import to both employees and employers. As noted in the post, there was a request for and approval of FMLA leave. It is what happened next that ultimately resulted in the suit. And the analysis by the court as in the post.

TAKEAWAY: FMLA leave has limitations on contact between the employer and employee, but there are exceptions and both parties should know what they are.

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