In the post on Sunday 10/30/2022 we learned what employers can do to prepare workforces for long COVID diagnoses. Yes, long COVID really is a thing, and one that employers must deal with. The symptoms can continue for weeks or months after initial diagnosis; those who had sever cases, are not vaccinated, or have under-lying health conditions are the most likely to develop long COVID. And the impacts of long COVID on the workplace? See the post. So what is an employer to do? First, know that long COVID can be a disability under the ADA and/or a serious health condition under the FMLA. Both laws trigger rights and obligations for employees and employers, some of which are discussed in the post. But keep in mind that each person’s situation must be dealt with independently of al others (examples are in the post). Because of the possible applicability of the ADA and FMLA, the need to accommodate employees with long COVID exists. Examples of some types of accommodation that might be requested or offered are in the post.
TAKEAWAY: To ensure that all obligations are met, employers should consider having a long COVID plan in place (and follow it) and keep up with changing guidance and laws (through an employment lawyer if possible).
The posts on Monday 10/31/2022, here, here and here, were for Halloween – and a reminder of how decorations can be affected in condominium or homeowners’ associations (see the post). Know what the restrictions are before you buy or live in a community association – and be prepared for them to be enforced.
TAKEAWAY: Life in a condominium or HOA can be great but remains subject to certain restrictions – know your rights and obligations and enforcement.
The post on Tuesday 11/1/2022 showed us a condo can’t keep records from ‘troublemakers’. Yes, you need to know the law relative to your condo or homeowners’ association’s records. In Florida, condo owners don’t have to tell their association board why they want to examine records. And also in Florida, owners, not boards, can decide whether they will do the records inspection themselves or through an authorized agent. And it took 3 years and a trial to get to that point. Well, really it took a decade. The association’s treasurer called the plaintiffs’ “troublemakers” (because they wanted to see records) and the president said they were “bleeding the association dry.” How many different things did the association’s attorney say the plaintiffs were involved in? See the post. One plaintiff, Lepselter, sent a records request to the association and appointed the other plaintiff, Yellin, to conduct the inspection. Yellin also sent a records request for his own inspection. The association’s management agent told them that only Lepselter could inspect. They both showed up and were told the same thing. The administrative and judicial process that followed over the next few years is described in the post. And the plot thickened when the association alleged that Lepselter and Yellin did not have good faith reasons for their records requests – their counterargument is in the post.
TAKEAWAY: Know what rights an owner has to inspect association records in PA – and where any by whom. Consult a community association lawyer.
The post on Wednesday 11/2/2022 told us a federal judge toppled EEOC’s LGBT bathroom, pronoun Guidance. The EEOC’s 2021 Guidance allows LGBT employees exceptions from workplace policies on bathroom, dress codes, and locker rooms. A federal judge in Texas recently said the Guidance is unlawful. The judge said that the Guidance did not correctly interpret the Supreme Court’s Bostock case. What the judge said Bostock did and did not say is in the post. The same thing is playing out in another court too. While both courts said that the EEOC’s Guidance runs afoul of Bostock, neither court ruled on the merits of protected conduct (see the post for more on that).
TAKEAWAY: Employers may feel caught between a rock and a hard place given the uncertain status of the law as applied to LGBT persons; the safest way to proceed until there is a final, definitive court ruling is not to discriminate based on sexual orientation.
In the post on Thursday 11/3/2022 we saw that Jewish groups urge the Supreme Court to take up a religious accommo-dation case (that has potentially far-reaching effects ….) The case is Groff v. DeJoy. A former mail carrier is suing the US Postal Service because it disciplined him and threatened to terminate his employment after he refused to work on Sundays. Groff is an evangelical Christian. He eventually quit because his religious beliefs do not allow him to work Sundays. The Postal Service tried to fill some of his Sunday shifts but could not find workers for all of them. Earlier in 2022 the appellate court with jurisdiction over Pennsylvania (the federal Third Circuit Court of Appeals) held that the facts (noted in the post) were an undue hardship for the USPS, not a de minimis cost, and so there was no liability o n the part of USPS. Now Jewish groups have taken up the mantle in Groff based on their Sabbath and other Jewish holidays. So far three Supreme Court justices have expressed interest in potentially overturning case law on this subject (the Hardison case); how another might impact that is noted in the post. The argument is that Hardison effectively invalidated Title VII religious protections.
TAKEAWAY: Stay tuned as the Supreme Court tackles cases in its 2022-2023 term that impact many things we have all taken for granted for so long (as noted in the post).
The post on Friday 11/4/2022 gave us 7 expert tips to ensure a successful budget season for HOAs and condos. What things should community associations consider when developing their budgets? First, identification of the ‘who” and the “when”. Who must prepare and adopt the budget and by what deadline – the post mentions where the answers to those questions should be found. Next, communicate (and then communicate again). Let owners ask questions about the budget (even if not required by the Governing Documents)? How? See the post. Next, keep up to date on applicable law (both state and federal). This is something to discuss with the association’s attorney. More tips are in the post (along with details on how they can be helpful).
TAKEAWAY: Budgeting is a process that plays an important role in the continued operations of the association – do it right.
Finally, in the post yesterday 11/5/2022, we read that a Walgreens supervisor did not allow worker showing signs of miscarriage to leave shift (according to the EEOC). You’re already horrified, right? The EEOC apparently was too as it filed suit on September 28, 2022, in federal court. The suit alleges that the pregnant worker had previously disclosed and asked for accom-modations for her diabetes and hypoglycemia. She began spotting during a shift – a common sign of miscarriage. After calling her doctor she told her supervisor. What the supervisor then said (all of it) is in the post. So the employee resigned. She later learned that indeed she had suffered a miscarriage. Walgreens so far has no comment on the suit. The issues in the suit are fairly simple but legally more complex as they involve pregnancy-related disability and leave as a reasonable accommodation. The former is protected under the ADA (see the post for examples and a link to EEOC Guidance on this). An interesting piece of the suit is that the EEOC alleges that Walgreens has a policy relevant to the situation (which is detailed in the post).
TAKEAWAY: Know whether you must provide an accommodation to an employee and if so, what the process is that must be followed. Get an employment lawyer involved early on.