Sexual harassment by a car dealer, employer dress and grooming codes post-Bostock, funny but true stories from condo & homeowner associations, child care leave during this pandemic summer, and more in Our Social Media Posts This Week – July 12 – 18, 2020.

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 7/12/20, we learned the EEOC sued James Mitsubishi Hamburg for sexual harassment. The suit alleges that 2 female employees were subjected to a sexually hostile work environment. How? The GM made numerous unwelcome sexual advances and comments. The conduct included comments about their bodies and more as noted in the post. As for actions, those too are noted in the post. And as if that were not enough, what else he did is in the post too. The suit alleges that the GM’s behavior was known company-wide, including by the HR VP (what that person did is in the post). One of the females quit.

TAKEAWAY: You will be found out; just don’t harass any employee, for anything, at any time.

The post on Monday 7/13/20 was about employer dress code & grooming requirements post-Bostock. You know what that reference is to, right? Just to make sure, let’s have a reminder. Bostock is the very recent Supreme Court case saying that employers cannot discriminate against employees (or applicants) on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. So how does that affect dress codes and grooming standards? They cannot (any longer) differentiate based on gender. Period. Even if there is no differentiation on gender lines, there might still be other types of problems as noted in the post; be careful. So how do employers get around sex-specific dress and grooming codes? Follow the tip in the post.

TAKEAWAY: Unless it is a BFOQ, make sure dress and grooming codes apply evenly to all employees.

The post on Tuesday 7/14/20 referenced War of the Roses and Caddyshack but noted these condo tales are even better (and happen in homeowner associations too!). We start off by reading about a man who was sued by his condo association because he had too many rose bushes. What was the outcome? See the post. And then there was the board that wanted to ensure members had artistic talent, so they screened creative work. Really. What about the unhappy resident who was yelling so loudly during a board meeting that his dentures flew out of his mouth and hit the president in the head?!? We have treehouse troubles, cheap & clean, and hazardous waste stories in the post. We have conflict of terror, night calls, Bill the Cat, and much much more in the post. Read them all for a smile – and being thankful that they are not your association’s issues.

TAKEAWAY: Strange and unusual things happen in planned communities – be prepared to deal with them between you and an attorney well-versed in community association law.

The post on Wednesday 7/15/20 was about managing FFCRA child care leave during the summer. It’s the age of COVID-19, your child is out of school, camps are closed, and the child is too young to stay home alone. What do you do? You consider leave under the FFCRA (CARES Act). You might be entitled to up to 12 weeks of leave to care for your child. The first 2 weeks would be paid sick leave and the other 10 would be emergency FMLA leave. What the employer must pay (yes, pay!) for those weeks is noted in the post. But there are steps to take. First, there has to be a valid reason for the FFCRA leave – see the post. And employers can require documentation to make sure. What can be requested is also noted in the post. Next, the employer should see if flexible work arrangements are possible. Examples are in the post. The other steps are also listed in the post and are equally as important.  

        TAKEAWAY: If you think the FFCRA is a minefield, consult an employment lawyer to help you get through it with your rights and obligations intact.

The post on Thursday 7/16/20 asked: How soon will we have a Coronavirus vaccine? There are a lot of potential ones out there, but they have to run the maze first. Experts say that once 70% of the world population is immune, the virus will have a hard time spreading. The scientific name for that is in the post. But of course, we need to get to that landmark … The post traces the timeline of COVID-19, which just shows how quickly it overtook the world. However, decoding the genetic sequence occurred almost as fast as the spread: within 2 weeks! The first vaccine came out 42 days after publication of the decoded sequence, and more have followed. What the different companies developing vaccines have done, and when, is also in the post – and makes for interesting reading. Once the FDA approves a vaccine, it still must be mass-produced. How many does? See the post for the astronomical number. And that only happens once there is funding. Then it must go through the next steps as noted in the post. Bets are for seeing a vaccine in … the time explained in the post. And finally, there is the question of effectiveness. There are variables that are discussed in the post.

TAKEAWAY: A vaccine will help stop the spread of COVID-19 but won’t stop its mutation the need for continued different variations of the vaccine, and people needing to continue to take precautions.  

The post on Friday 7/17/20 told us that Capital City Dental Care (owned by Michael A. Sisk, DDS, LLC) is to pay $100,000 to settle an EEOC age discrimination suit. We noted that while this is a local case, the law applies to everyone. Yes, this happened in Harrisburg, PA. After the practice was purchased, the new owner allegedly fired 8 of 9 dental hygienists older than 40, based on their ages. Then later the company took other action based on age – ugh – that is in the post. The EEOC sued when conciliation failed. How the case got to the EEOC is noted in the post. And what the company will provide as part of the settlement is also in the post – including monetary and non-monetary relief.

TAKEAWAY: Don’t take adverse action against anyone based on age or any other protected characteristic – it will be very costly.

Finally, in the post yesterday 7/18/20, we saw that Pediatrics 2000 will pay $68,000 to settle a religious accommodation lawsuit. The employer here is a NY private medical practice (so you’d think they would know better, right?). It serves children and teens. It knew an employee was a Jehovah’s Witness when she was hired. It initially accommodated her religious beliefs as noted in the post. Then it changed its tune, calling the religion a cult and taking the action noted in the post. When she asked to be excluded from the company’s holiday party for religious reasons – what the company did is in the post. As well as how that different from the result for other employees.

TAKEAWAY: Let’s say it again: Don’t take adverse action against anyone based on a protected characteristic – it will be costly.

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