In the post on Sunday 5/23/21 we saw that a Subway franchisee is to pay $28,700 to settle EEOC disability discrimination suit. The EEOC alleged that Subway rejected a hard-of-hearing applicant because of his hearing and resultant speech impairments. Pre-suit conciliation failed, so the EEOC filed suit. But the settlement involved more than Subway paying monetary damages – see the post.
TAKEAWAY: Treat all applicants and employees the same – especially if they are in a protected class. Don’t back yourself into a legal corner.
The post on Monday 5/24/21 noted that a business’ reliance on false application information must still be reasonable. You are familiar with the usual language in employment applications – and often handbooks – that give the employer the ability to not hire or to discharge based on false information supplied during the hiring process, right? All well and good, but what if the employer wants to sue the applicant/employee for damages? The types of legal bases (theories) under which such suit might be brought are noted in the post. Let’s look at the example in the post. There, Quidore applied to be Alliance’s COO. During the interview process, Quidore allegedly made several misrepresentations as noted in the post. Relying on the misrepresentations, Alliance hired Quidore. However, Quidore allegedly performed poorly – see the post for what was (not) done and how it relates to the misrepresentations. When performance did not improve, Alliance learned of some of the misrepresentations and fired Quidore who then sued; Alliance counterclaimed as also noted in the post. d to Plaintiff’s pre- and post-employment statements that Defendant. Quidore moved to dismiss the counterclaims, arguing that Alliance did not show that its reliance on the misstatements was reasonable. The court agreed – its reasoning (applying the facts to the law) is in the post.
TAKEAWAY: Don’t just rely on an applicant’s CV – actually check out the background. Get legal assistance if needed.
The post on Tuesday 5/25/21 reminded us that an Association must respond to an owner’s request to inspect records. But do you know what PA law requires? Can a Board member merely respond by saying that the Board is acting ethically? Or that it doesn’t have time to locate and provide the documents requested? Well, no. Depending on what is requested, the Association may need to provide all requested documents, some of what is requested, or none of what is requested. The requests noted in the post are looked at per the law as noted in the post. In Pennsylvania, an Association must abide by its Governing Documents (f they address records inspection) and applicable state law – so know what both provide.
TAKEAWAY: Knowing what owners are entitled to see – or have copies of, which is not the same as inspecting – may be a legal question, so enlist the assistance of a community association lawyer.
From the post on Wednesday 5/26/21 we learned about protecting the condominium or homeowner Association’s funds from embezzlement. The post started with this excerpt: “Bridgett Freeman of Sheboygan stole more than $11,000 from the Westridge Homeowner’s Association in West Bend. Thursday, she was sentenced to six months in jail and three years probation, and was ordered to pay back $11,617.41. She said she was sorry.” I bet the Association was pretty sorry too. Embezzlement can happen by a board member or management company with access to Association funds. There are steps that can be taken to hinder, if not halt, embezzlement. They include requiring 2 signatures on a check (which might have the problem noted in the post), having duplicate bank statements mailed to different people, and the other tips noted in the post. The last item noted is key, so get that in place if it is not already.
TAKEAWAY: An Association’s money, whether operating or reserves, belongs to all owners. Work with the appropriate professionals to protect those funds.”
In the post on Thursday 5/27/21 we saw that an Indian woman engineer alleges workplace bias at Apple over her ‘Hindu ancestry in Pakistan”. Anita Nariani Schulze told a court that she was forced to quit her job with Apple in 2019 after tolerating years of discriminatory treatment by her Indian & Pakistani managers. Schulze is Indian, so how does that make sense? See the post for how the cultures allegedly led to discrimination. And note that this is by far the first suit to allege discrimination in Silicon Valley by South Asian tech workers – see the post for more. So, what did Schulze allege happened to her? That her two managers consistently excluded her from meetings while inviting her male counterparts, criticized her, and more as noted in the post. And how did the cultural differences play into the equation? See the post. The court denied Apple’s motion to dismiss (the basis is in the post) so stay tuned.
TAKEAWAY: We are starting to sound like a broken record: treat all employees the same (unless required by law to do otherwise) and you should avoid legal hot water. Keep an employment lawyer nearby too.
The post on Friday 5/28/21 told us Elon Musk was ordered to delete threatening tweet to Tesla workers, NLRB rules. The tweet threatened employees who wanted to unionize. What did the tweet say? See the post. And what else did Tesla do? Yep, also in the post. And there is more: the NLRB said that Tesla also ran afoul of the law by including a provision in its confidentiality agreement that prevented employees from talking to the media about the company and acting as noted in the post against an employee who was one of the charging parties (see how things come back around?!?). The charges were filed in 2017, so it took a while to get to this point, but the Board’s ruling is still instructive.
TAKEAWAY: Remember that non-union companies are still subject to Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) – ensure that there are no violations and use employment and labor counsel to keep you legally compliant.
Finally, in the post yesterday 5/29/21, we read that Universal TV faces a lawsuit for allegedly replacing employee who got COVID-19. William Pavlu is an electrician who has worked on many television shows. Pavlu says he woke up sick and stayed home from work one day this past December. Universal allegedly sent a nurse to administer a COVID-19 test – which came back positive. So, then what did Pavlu and Universal do? See the post. Pavlu’s condition worsened and he was admitted to a hospital. At least two of his staffers were also admitted to the hospital due to COVID. And what did Universal do to them all? See the post.
TAKEAWAY: Make sure that the basis for adverse action, including termination, has a legal basis – consider discussing the action with an employment layer prior to taking the action.