ICYMI: Our Social Media Posts This Week – Oct. 20-26, 2019

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 10/20/19, we saw that Family Dollar Stores will pay $7,500, address ADA compliance issues following settlement. We also told you not to forget about this aspect of the ADA! So what happened? In short, the stores were not ensuring sufficient access to persons with disabilities, including those things noted in the post. If you own or work at a compasny that is public (offering services or materials to the public), pay attention. What Family Dollar agreed to do as part of the settlement is also in the post.

TAKEAWAY: There are several distinct parts to the ADA – make sure you are incompliance with all of them.

In the post on Monday 10/21/19 we learned that the employer’s maximum leave policy violated the ADA (says the EEOC). Here, the empoyer company provides services to correctional facilities and other state institutions. It allegedly fired employees with disabilities who needed additional unpaid leave beyond that required under the FMLA. How and why this is a violation is noted in the post. The employer also did the things noted in the post (or so the EEOC alleges). The employer entered into a consent decree obligating it to make monetary relief and do the other things in the post.

TAKEAWAY: This company is not the only one that got caught up in a legal battle over leave policies – so did the others noted in the post. Make sure you know what is required to accommodate an employee – consult an employment lawyer (like Austin Law Firm) to be safe.

The post on Tuesday 10/22/19 told us a Vietnam vet is allowed to keep his flagpole that the Association initially denied. Yes, for months the Association would not let the owner install a flagpole in his front garden. He had initially put the flag on his home siding, like other neighbors did, but it kept blowing down. Why he then needed a different way to hang the flag is in the post. He then asked for permission to install a 10’ flagpole. The Association said no, claiming it would be a rule violation, even after he went through the process they outlined and that is recounted in the post. See the post for a VID account. How it was resolved (using creativity to make both sides winners) is also in the post.

TAKEAWAY: Note that the American flag is different than other flags due to federal law, but Associations may still be allowed to have some regulation – consult a community association lawyer (like Austin Law Firm) for advice.

The post on Wednesday 10/23/19 was about Doody Calls – EEOC action for firing pregnant worker. The employer here is a pet waste removal company. A female technician told her manager about her pregnancy shortly after being hired. A few weeks later, she had surgery to carry to full term. Upon doctor’s release to return to work, her manager was concerned. What happened next is in the post. How her ideas would work out is also in the post. Regardless, she was fired (and told what is noted in the post).  She brought an EEOC charge; eventually it filed suit on her behalf after conciliation failed.

TAKEAWAY: Remember that pregnancy is to be treated just like any other condition/disability – do not assume anything about the employee.

In the post on Thursday 10/24/19 (and continuing with the pregnancy mini theme), we saw that UPS will pay $2.25 million to avoid a pregnancy discrimination suit. The settlement is on behalf of parcel workers who were not properly compensated while pregnant between 2012-2014. The amount of the settlement is noted in the post. So why the suit? Because until 2015, when the policy changed, UPS provided light-duty jobs to workers injured on the job but not to pregnant employees. How that was a violation is in the post. The settlement applies to both the unionized and non-unionized employees.

TAKEAWAY: Again, don’t treat pregnant workers different than other employees; just don’t.

The post on Friday 10/25/19 told us that Target was accused of forcing an Hispanic worker to wear ‘Jonathan’ nametag over fears he would ‘incite fear and uneasiness’ in white customers. Ok, get up off the floor and quit laughing. We couldn’t make up this stuff if we tried. Jose Diaz is 18 and already world-weary. He worked at a Target store for about a month late last year. A supervisor told him to wear a name tag saying “Jonathan” instead of his real name. Why he was told to do that is in the post. Jose was of course insulted and objected. Despite that, the manager and others acted as in the post. Jose complained; his manager’s response is in the post. He also suffered retaliation. He complained again and was shortly thereafter fired. Now he wants damages.

TAKEAWAY: Don’t try to hide those in protected classes – or anyone else for that matter – you can’t mask illegal conduct.

Finally, in the post yesterday 10/26/19 we read that the EEOC sued T&T Subsea for disability discrimination. The employer is a Texas marine services company. It hired a diver; the diver was diagnosed with cancer about 6 months after hire. He underwent chemo and radiation treatment. He returned but then soon went out for another surgery. When he wanted to return to work, he was told no based on the rule noted in the post. The company did not lay any foundation (as noted in the post). The EEOC sued after conciliation failed.  

TAKEAWAY: we don’t know if all injured workers, or workers who were out on surgery, were treated similarly, but we can assume not based on the EEOC’s filing of suit here. Don’t become a defendant yourself, act legally (and with advice of an employment lawyer).

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