Suits and settlements: racial harassment & retaliation, ADA (re websites), USERRA and Kim Kardashian, condo/HOA hearings, and more in Our Social Media Posts This Week, June 20 – 26, 2021.

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.

$2M settlement of racial harassment and retaliation suit

In the post on Sunday 6/20/21 we saw that Ryder and Kimco Staffing settled EEOC racial harassment and retaliation suits for $2M. Ryder is a FL-based transportation and supply chain solutions company, and Kimco is a CA-based staffing agency. The suit alleges that African American employees assigned to Ryder’s facility by Kimco and those hired directly by Ryder were subject to racial harassment. What did they do? See the post. And when an employee complained, neither Ryder nor Kimco took steps to correct the situation; instead, the employee who complained was fired. But wait, there’s more – see the post for additional allegations of discrimination on the basis of race. When conciliation failed, the EEOC filed suit (in CA). Now both defendants have agreed to settle: they will pay $1 million each plus additional non-monetary relief as listed in the post in order to resolve the suit. And the court retains jurisdiction for 2 years.

TAKEAWAY: Treat all employees the same, period. Yup, it’s that easy to stay legal.

accessibility issues under the ada for on-line reservation and apppointment scheduling

The post on Monday 6/21/21 asked: have you been served with an ADA website reservation system lawsuit (and noted that this applies to hotels and potentially anyone who allows any online reservation or appointment scheduling)? Similar to the numerous ADA lawsuits that have been filed regarding accessibility of brick-and-mortar establishments, there are now ADA suits relative to accessibility of and discrimination by on-line website reservations systems belonging to places of public accommodation. What is the issue? That the sites do not permit reservation of accessible rooms. So, what questions arise when one of these suits is filed? First, what are the plaintiff’s motives? Is this akin to the ‘drive-by” cases or something else? See the post for a detailed explanation. Next, what are the owner’s objectives in defending the suit? Cost may weigh one way, whereas precedent and other things may weigh another, Again, an explanation is in the post. Several other considerations are also noted and explained in the post.

TAKEAWAY: Whether hotel/motel or anyone else who allows any online reservation or appointment scheduling, make sure that disabled individuals have the same across-the-board access as able-bodied individuals. This goes for your website and third-party sites with which it is integrated.

condo & hoa boards – run for election if unhappy with current operations

The post on Tuesday 6/22/21 was about all things real estate: run for the condo or HOA board if you’re unhappy with its work. Boards and management companies usually do their best to meet maintenance and repair obligations, but occasionally they fall behind. It might be lack of caring, lack of time, lack of finances, or something else (such as is identified in the post). Owners may have several options, including those listed in the Governing Documents. They always have this option noted in the post.

TAKEAWAY: Know your Association’s obligations and whether they are being fulfilled, then act with the advice of a knowledgeable community association lawyer.

DOJ lawsuit settlement over userra rights of army national guardsman

The post on Wednesday 6/23/21 told us that DOJ announced a settlement with Ashley Home Store over discrimination claims of an Army National Guardsman. Christopher Robbins is a Captain in the IN Army National Guard. He began to work there as a salesman in 2014. In Summer 2017, he gave notice that he had to attend an out-of-state military training exercise. What the employer did, and then Robbins’ resulting action, are in the post. Yes, the finale involved Ashley paying money.

TAKEAWAY: Know applicable law, including USERRA, and have an employment lawyer on call.

kim kardashian sued for various wage-related employment practices

In the post on Thursday 6/24/21 we learned that Kim Kardashian is being sued for employment practices that are sadly common. Seven people sued, accusing her of wage theft, retaliation and more. The plaintiffs are cleaning and maintenance workers at one of her homes. The details of the allegations are in the post, including child labor law violations and that someone was fired after complaining. So, what was her response? See the post (and how often people or businesses of every size and in every market attempt this defense). As for Kim, who says she is studying to become a lawyer, this is a good opportunity to do the right thing (as noted in the post).

TAKEAWAY: Even in situations where a person or company has no legal liability, they may have a moral responsibility to do the right thing.

attorney attendance with owner at condo/hoa fine hearing?

The post on Friday 6/25/21 presented a condo or HOA question: Can an owner bring his attorney to attend a fine hearing? We asked what your Governing Documents say about this (as that may be the first step in answering the question). Next, what does applicable state law provide? If all are silent, then what? The explanation in the post offers good insight as to whether the attorney should be allowed to attend and why (or why not).

TAKEAWAY: Know the law, but also know what can prove helpful to the association if the matter goes any further.

pay discrimination lawsuit joins other diversity and bias issues
faced by google

Finally, in the post yesterday 6/26/21, we learned that a Google pay discrimination lawsuit was granted class action status. Yes, another suit against Google. This one was filed way back in 2017 and alleges that Google violated stat law by paying women less than men doing the same job. And what does the class action grant mean? See the post. This is not the only issue that Google is dealing with – there are high-profile diversity and bias issues too as noted in the post. As to this suit, Google did make a comment. See the post.

TAKEAWAY: Pay all employees the same when they perform the same work. Just do it.

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