In the post on Sunday 9/26/21 we saw Eli Lilly and Company accused of discriminating against older adults, favoring young, attractive people. Let’s look at the facts. 2 applicants for sales rep positions claim they were not hired due to age. Jerad Grimes, 49, and Georgia Emily Edmondson, 55, filed suit; their allegations included multiple polices to recruit young workers and reject adults 40 and over. Those policies included the items identified in the post. Grimes and Edmondson allege that Eli Lilly wants younger sales reps due to their appearance. The company denied the allegations. And this is not the only suit Eli Lilly is defending now. There were allegations of sex discrimination and bullying by a former lobbyist, a federal investigation into records tampering and more (including something involving its former CFO – see the post). That earlier suit alleges that Eli Lilly fostered a culture that brought about all of these things (and seemingly ties into the allegations in the more recent suit).
TAKEAWAY: Treat all applicants and employees the same as long as they can do the job (or at least the essential functions, with or without accommodation, but let’s leave the ADA for another day ….)
The post on Monday 9/27/21 told us an appellate court overturned ruling in favor of Seattle Mariners in ADA case. So, what is the background of this suit? The plaintiffs allege that spectators using wheelchairs at T-Mobile Park had inadequate sightlines as required by DOJ’s 1996 accessible stadiums guidance. The trial court said that the stadium was in compliance, but that ruling was overturned on appeal. The difference? What was being looked at, which here was the people standing in front of the wheelchairs. The post goes over the appellate court’s analysis as to how the trial court erred and what must be looked at on remand
TAKEAWAY: Remember that the ADA covers more than just workplace accommodation – get competent legal assistance when dealing with the ADA in any way.
The post on Tuesday 9/28/21 explained why stead, low condo and HOA fees should raise a flag – and other tips for owners and buyers. It’s great to have someone else do the maintenance and upkeep for your house and grounds, right? And to have those services cost as little as possible. But when assessments and dues in condo or homeowner associations have not increased in years, that is not necessarily a good thing. Why? It may mean that the association will be unable to fulfill its main-tenance responsibility due to insufficient reserves (which go to things like those mentioned in the post). It is easy to budge for reserves; paying for a future big expense is simple when doing it one tiny bit at a time over many years (which is how reserves are built up). And what happens if there is a big expense for which the association is liable and reserves are insufficient to cover it? See the post. Those looking to buy a hoe in a condo or homeowners’ association should ask questions; the 4 in the post are a good start. NOTE: you can also listen to the podcast on this topic posted on the CAI Keystone Chapter’s website, www.cai-padelval.org : http://ow.ly/lXpa50Gdd44t
TAKEAWAY: Know what may be lurking down the road if you buy a home in a condo or homeowner association – have a community association lawyer look at the Governing Documents you are given BEFORE you buy.
The post on Wednesday 9/29/21 told us that “paramour preference” is not sex discrimination: when a romantic partner is chosen over a subordinate. A federal appellate court joined sister courts in holding that a “paramour preference” claim cannot carry a Title VII sex discrimination claim when that is the only basis of liability. The theory is that sex discrimination occurs when a supervisor’s relationship with a sexual or romantic partner results in an adverse employment action against another employee. In the case in the post, the action was against a male employee because of a female paramour. So why have the courts rejected this theory? In part it goes back to the statute itself – see the post for the analysis. It is also based on the Supreme Court’s 2020 Bostock decision dealing with sexual orientation and gender identity as applied to Title VII (also discussed in the post). Bostock gave us a test to see if there was indeed discrimination on the basis of sex. The test is noted in the post.
TAKEAWAY: Favoring a romantic or sexual partner over any other employee may or may not be illegal discrimination; it depends on the facts of the case. Get advice from an employment lawyer.
In the post on Thursday 9/30/21 we learned why vaccination discrimination is perfectly legal and not a human rights violation. Some media outlets say that human rights are extensive and prohibit discrimination among categories of employees. For example, the post mentions a recent TV news shows featuring a lawyer who billed himself as an employment lawyer. When asked if employers could mandate vaccinations and terminate employees who refused to comply, he said they could not as it would violate human rights, privacy rights and the person’s bodily integrity. Too bad that what he said was legally incorrect. There is no question under the law that safety trumps privacy. As for human rights, the protected characteristics are set forth in the law (with some being noted in the post). But otherwise it is perfectly legal to discriminate. For example, an employer could hire someone based on the color of the suit they wore to the interview or take other actions as listed in the post. Yep, legal even though perhaps not fair. The same lawyer continued to say that employers cannot “punish” employees by terminating them for refusing vaccination. Again, wrong (with limited exception as noted in the post). The lawyer also said that employees who don’t want to work with unvaccinated co-workers have rights; that is true to the extent that if they don’t like how the employer is handling things, they can quit.
TAKEAWAY: Don’t believe everything you see or hear on the news as it may not be completely (or at all) legally correct. Consult an employment lawyer for things that do or may affect your job or workplace.
The post on Friday 10/1/21 educated us on how a condo dispute after derecho highlights HOA challenges. While what happened here was not local, the outcome could be the same from a hurricane or other weather phenomenon, so pay attention. Here there was a severe wind and rainstorm in August 2020. Yes, last year. The condo association has the responsibility to repair water damage to Anne’s unit. She has been in a hotel since then with little work done since April 2021. Anne and other owners blame the delays on the Board and a contract it signed relative to oversight of the repairs. The owners are upset due to how the contract affects them – which is noted in the post. And also what the Board is doing with the repairs (again noted in the post). Some owners have called a special meeting to discuss what is going on.
TAKEAWAY: Know what your Governing Documents and state law require or allow, including who is responsible for which items of maintenance or repair. Consult a community association lawyer with questions.
Finally, in the post yesterday 10/2/21, we saw that Ford Motor Co. must face ex-supervisor’s racial, sexual harassment claims. The suit was dismissed by the federal trial court but revived on appeal. DeAnna Johnson claimed she was forced to quit after Ford did not take action about the near-daily sexual and racial harassment by a coworker who was training her. Johnson is Black, the coworker is white. What he did and said is noted in the post (including asking her for nude photos and so much more). She says the comments were directed to her and other employees she and the trainer supervised. She began to complain to the senior production supervisor and shortly was transferred to a different area of the plant. But she was sent back for a few days to cover another employee’s absence; what the former trainer did during that time is in the post (and abhorrent). Johnson again complained. The trainer was finally discharged, but not before Johnson had to act (as noted in the post). She sued in 2019 for racial harassment and hostile work environment under Title VII. The basis upon which the trial court granted summary judgment for Ford is noted in the post (and hard to believe given the facts of the case). Johnson appealed and now has her reversal (and opportunity to move forward with the case). The appellate court also gave instructions to the trial court as to what it should consider on remand..
TAKEAWAY: Why the appellate court reversed in this case is in the post and instructive for employees, employers and lawyers alike. Know the law.