In the post on Sunday 2/2/20, we learned that League of Legends developer Riot Games will divide $10 million among female workers in discrimination settlement. Yes, this is reality, not sci fi. A class action suit was filed in November 2018 by and on behalf of women employed at the company in the last 5 years. The suit alleged a misogynistic culture, including internal lists ranking the attraction of women workers, unsolicited pictures of male genitalia, and more (MUCH more) noted in the post. Over 1000 women have worked at the company since 2014. How large the company is, and its 2019 revenue, are both in the post (yes, astounding). How the settlement pot is to be divided up is also in the post. In addition to the monetary payout, Riot Games also agreed to other things as noted in the post – one of which led to its own bumps in the road (see the post).
TAKEAWAY: Big or small, employers should treat all employees the same or be prepared to pay for any violation.
The post on Monday 2/3/20 showed us that a manager’s nude photo leads to lawsuits against company. We suggested that training was not given or not heeded. This happened in ID, but it could have bene anywhere. Theresa Peterson and Zachariah Thompson filed suit in Fall 2019 against the company and the maintenance manager. Allegations include that Peterson got a Snapchat from the manager while on her way home; when she opened it, she saw a photo of him nude below the waist. She needed to stop at a gas station and get out of her car to calm down. Thompson was there at the gas station What happened next is in the post. Within he next few weeks, the manager had the contact with Peterson noted in the post. She finally reported him to her supervisor and HR. As part of the investigation, the manager admitting to the acts. Was he fired? No. What the employer did instead is in the post. Peterson and Thompson filed charges with the EEOC and state body which subsequently found probably cause. Conciliation was to take place.
TAKEAWAY: What the employer did, considering the facts, is strange indeed – you should not follow this lead without consulting your employment lawyer.
The post on Tuesday 2/4/20 told us that a pointed question during an interview did not show national origin discrimination. So, what happened? Sheila, of Middle Eastern Kurdish descent from Iraq. Was a customer service agent for American Airlines. She applied for a promotion. During the interview, she was asked where she came from. And there was more (see the post). She complained and an investigation took place. What that turned up is in the post. She sued. How and why the trial court ruled and was affirmed by the appellate court (with jurisdiction over PA cases) is in the post.
TAKEAWAY: A single comment or question may not be actionable discrimination – it can depend on the language, context, and more. However, employers should have a zero-tolerance policy to protect themselves and employees.
The post on Wednesday 2/5/20 was about a senior living community forcing a teen orphan out of his grandparents’ home. So, what would your Association do in these circumstances? Collin is 15. His mother dies in late 2018 and his father committed suicide 2 weeks later. Collin went to live with his grandparents. The community association is trying to get him to move by June– why is in the post. There are conflicting interests here as identified in the post. This is tough.
TAKEAWAY: Life in a community association comes with rules and restrictions, some statutory/legal and others enacted by the association through its Board. Whether there is leeway can depend on many things, so consult a community association lawyer.
In the post on Thursday 2/6/20 we learned that a life insurer settled an EEOC case (on behalf of 21 people) for $20 million – second big payout discussed this week! Jackson National Life Insurance was charged with race, national origin, and sex discrimination along with retaliation. The suit was filed in September 2016. Allegations included that it tolerated a work environment that was hostile to female and African American employees and more noted in the post, including how one high-level manager referred to those employees. There was even a white VP who was fired after refusing to provide a negative evaluation and warning to 2 African American employees who had complained about how they were treated. The company is settling by paying the monetary damages plus more noted in the post.
TAKEAWAY: Train employees how to act and talk and take immediate action when they act contrary to the training.
The post on Friday 2/7/20 was about when sitting down on the job is legal (and required). You guessed it – we are talking about the ADA and accommodations. Whether in the office, warehouse, retail or any other setting, an employer may be asked to make accommodations to enable an employee to perform the essential functions of the job. This case was but one example of what can go wrong. The employer here provided food demonstrators to grocery stores. The employees often work alone and so cannot leave their station. Rules for how they are to perform are noted in the post. There were no exceptions based on medical need. That is why the EEOC got involved. See how it played out in the post – and what employers can learn from that situation.
TAKEAWAY: Employers must enforce their rules, but not when applicable law requires there be flexibility – consult an employment lawyer to assist with the interactive accommodation process if necessary.
Finally, in the post yesterday 2/8/20, we learned that the ousted Grammy CEO files an EEOC complaint (and noted that perhaps there was a good reason for the 7-month delay). Deborah Dugan, the Grammy’s first female CEO who was hired in May 2019 and began working in August 2019, filed a complaint. It included several notable allegations, including that her predecessor raped a female artist and more as noted in the post (yes, please read this). Some of those about or against whom she made allegations have issued denials (and, in fact, their versions as noted in the post). Coincidentally (or otherwise) she was put on admin leave just a few days prior to her EEOC filing. How Dugan’s charge describes the environment is sad and in the post. What gives this an interesting twist is that Dugan never made any complaint until after claims were made by a female employee against Dugan, her reaction, and the investigation (see the post for all of that). The admin leave was supposedly due to the investigation, but what Dugan says it is is retaliation – and for what — is in the post (and is not a repeat of anything else).
TAKEAWAY: Even the beautiful people must follow the laws – and when they don’t, it often plays out in the media. In your workplace, keep your nose clean and the media quiet.