Soccer, restrictive covenants, accommodation, condo and HOA dues, recognitions, and more in this time of social distancing – Our Social Media Posts This Week – Mar. 29 – Apr. 4, 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 3/29/20, we read that US Soccer Foundation claims competition pool physical demands give US Men’s National Team job different than US Women’s National Team. So, they are not comparators? Hmmm. There might not be sports right now, but there is still sports litigation! You may recall that the women filed suit, alleging pay discrimination based on gender. The Foundation, which is the overall employer, has said that the work is not equal, either in terms of revenue potential or actual physical labor. The basis upon which the Foundation makes that claim is in the post. In one place, the Foundation said that women’s soccer is easier than men’s soccer. Again, the basis for that statement is in the post, along with other support for the Foundation’s position. The women’s response (in the media at least) is also in the post. The women also made a good analogy that seems to undermine the Foundation’s argument – see the post.

TAKEAWAY: The law prohibits different pay for people doing the same job, regardless of gender. Period.

The post on Monday 3/30/20 was about restrictive covenants – protect what’s yours when employees leave. Restrictive covenants are legal within certain parameters. They include non-disclosure provisions (which prohibit the use, disclosure, duplication or dissemination of confidential information and define what confidential information means in that particular context), non-solicitation of customers (with the geographic and time limits set forth, along with a definition of “customer”), and more noted in the post. There might also be state or federal laws that impose restrictions – see the post. Further, the timing of the covenants is also important as noted in the post.

TAKEAWAY: Restrictive covenants are allowable but consult an attorney to make sure they are legal in your workplace and your state.

The post on Tuesday 3/31/20 told us that Nissan failed to show the ADA interactive process, so a suit was revived. Uh oh. What happened? Fisher took leave for a kidney transplant. Just before the leave expired, Nissan’s HR manager gave him a warning (noted in the post). Fisher told his doctor who fully cleared him to return to work. Upon return to a different job, Fisher found it much harder than it was supposed to be; he was granted extended leave. He then returned to his old job, but what happened was new (again, see the post). Fisher eventually did not return and was fired. He sued. The trial court granted summary judgment for Nissan but that was reversed on appeal. The basis of the reversal is in the post but stems from an analysis of the requirements of the ADA interactive accommodation process.

TAKEAWAY: When an employee is eligible for ADA accommodation, make sure to fulfill your obligations relative to the process. Consult an employment lawyer if needed.

The post on Wednesday 4/1/20 asked: Can condo association or HOA owner withhold dues to take certain action? (No, this was not a joke.) The situation plays out across the nation – an employer acts against an employee that is not liked by others affected by it. Here, it was the association in a condo that fired an employee and owners were unhappy. So, the question is whether the owners can withhold dues payments as a means of expressing their feelings on the firing. Well, yes and no. Anyone can refuse to pay dues, but it will eventually just cost them more (and possibly not resolve the underlying issue). The post includes some examples of how owners might better try to resolve this type of issue. The post also includes what a board might need to do if owners do use this method of “discourse”.

            TAKEAWAY: Whether owner or Board member, consult a layer well-versed in community association law to ensure you know what actions you can and cannot take without hurting yourself.

In the posts on Thursday 4/2/20, here, here, and here, this author glowed about being honored for selection as a 2020 PA Best Lawyer® for Labor & Employment Law in this metro area (which includes numerous Central PA counties). This honor comes about by peer nomination and review. This author thanks clients and colleagues for allowing her to answer legal needs now and going forward.

TAKEAWAY: Trying to do one’s best to represent clients’ interests is rewarding, but a small pat on the back from one’s colleagues is a huge honor!

The post on Friday 4/3/20 was about business sense: think twice before you Google that new hire. (Yes, Google is now a widely accepted verb as well as a noun!). Yes, on the positive side, you can get (some interesting) search results when you Google someone you are thinking about hiring. But on the other side, you can get (some interesting) search results when you Google someone you are thinking about hiring. And that is because you may not legally be able to use what you find out – even in the tiniest way. How your search results might vary – and affect the legality of your use of those results – is in the post. And some of the bases upon which the potential employee might have a claim against you, especially if not hired, are also in the post.

TAKEAWAY: Know the law – and have an employment lawyer help you stay on the side of legal when hiring, disciplining, or firing employees.

Finally, in the post yesterday 4/4/20, we learned that a School of Medicine agreed to pay $144,000 to settle a retaliation lawsuit. The suit was filed in September by the EEOC. It alleges that the school fired Thomas, the former associate director of customer services and supervisor of the IT help desk, after he complained that managerial-level employees were required to recruit and hire young people, especially millennials. The exact words are in the post. After Thomas complained about a specific applicant not being hired, the school took the action noted in the post. After that, Thomas filed charges. When the EEOC was unable to conciliate, it filed suit. And now that suit has settled for monetary damages and more as noted in the post.

TAKEAWAY: Make sure adverse action to be taken against an employee is legal; think (and consult your lawyer) before you act.

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