In the post on Sunday 10/16/2022 we read about weeding through the uncertainties of marijuana testing in the workplace. With medicinal marijuana legal in many states, and recreational marijuana in some, should employers continue to test for marijuana use? Maybe, if only to remain in compliance with a federal law. The first step is to know who MUST be tested. The federal Drug-Free Workplace Act requires a “drug-free workplace policy” for those entities noted in the post. But does the DFWA require testing? No. What it does require is noted in the post. But don’t forget about DOT’s zero-tolerance requirement for “safety-sensitive” positions (many of which are listed in the post) – and since that is federal law, it preempts any state law to the contrary as to those employees. For most employees, however, state and local laws may prohibit some or all testing for marijuana use. Some examples are in the post. And just to make it more confusing for employers, while all marijuana use is still illegal under federal law, medical use is not protected under the ADA but some states’ laws allow off-duty medical use to be considered a reasonable accommodation. So what is the best advice for employers at this point? See the post..
TAKEAWAY: When considering continuing or instituting marijuana testing for applicants or employees, first consult an employment lawyer.
The post on Monday 10/17/2022 suggested we don’t jump to conclusions: why your employees may be quiet quitting. This follows our 9/18/2022 post on quiet quitting. And yes, quiet quitting is a thing now. And what are some of the things that characterize it? Setting boundaries, not taking on additional work, doing the bare minimum, and more as noted in the post. And those people now WANT others to know what they are doing and why. Maybe it ties in to other changes in the employment sea we’ve seen – as also noted in the post. Soc-media posts from quiet quitters have cited poor compensation, excessive work hours, poor work/life balance, and a lack of communication or support from managers as reasons. DO you remember the movie Office Space? It was released in 1999 but may have been prescient for the reasons described in the post. So what are some areas an employer can work on to prevent or reverse quiet quitting in the workplace? First, compensation. Perhaps bonuses for consistently high performers. Or even other things noted in the post. Also, recognition, a sign of appreciation. Other ways are also in the post with examples of each.
TAKEAWAY: Know your employees and what they are doing and why – and what you may be able to do about it.
The post on Tuesday 10/18/2022 told us neighbors from hell filed a complaint for us watering our PLANTS – and more condo/HOA stories you just need to read. Huh? Someone was creating a dream patio garden with 10 plants. Then the neighbor started complaining because the watering of those plants was getting her property wet. But look at the post to see just what property! So the owner put trays under the plants and a metal dish under the hose pipe. Was the neighbor satisfied? No – for the (picky?) reason in the post. After the owner offered a suggestion, the neighbor filed a complaint with the HOA. And that was that. Yep, go back to the property the neighbor didn’t want to get wet … And then there are links in the post to a VID of a man defecating on his neighbors’ lawn and much more.
TAKEAWAY: Sometimes life in a community association is not all cheery, but everyone must live by the same rules. It may, however, be an issue of uneven enforcement, so contact a community association lawyer to discuss rights and obligations.
The post on Wednesday 10/19/2022 told us the EEOC sued Red Robin for sexual harassment, retaliation and constructive discharge. Nope, not a laughing matter. Red Robin has restaurants all over the US (and Canada) and now is on the other side of a suit filed by the EEOC in late September. The suit alleges that a line cook repeatedly subjected female employees to sexual harassment including offensive sexual comments and more as noted in the post. And when the female employees objected? He retaliated by calling them sexist slurs and refusing to give them their food orders (which had the effects noted in the post). Several of the employees reported the cook’s conduct to supervisors and managers. What did they do? See the post. The suit seeks lost wages, other monetary damages including emotional distress damages, punitive damages, and injunctive relief (including the things listed in the post). One manager even tried to justify the harassment when a female employee complained; what the manger said (you won’t believe this!) is in the post – and the suit. .
TAKEAWAY: Train your employees on what they can and cannot say and do – and enforce and reinforce that training.
In the post on Thursday 10/20/2022 we stuck with theme: EEOC sues Shepherd Electric for race discrimination and retaliation – and this is just down the road in Baltimore! This suit was also filed in late September. Here the EEOC alleges that the company discrimi-nated against 2 Black former managers at a warehouse. After one of them complained that the company disciplined Black employees more harshly than white employees, he was fired (and see the post for his service record). And the other employee? Fired a week after he complained that the company paid a significantly higher salary to a newly-hired white employee performing the same duties. Conciliation failed, so suit was filed.
TAKEAWAY: Treat all employees the same regardless of race (or any other non-job-related characteristic). Help yourself to stay out of legal hot water.
The post on Friday 10/21/2022 gave us a real estate title tip: homeowners’ and condo-minium associations – they’ve got the power! Or at least some power, which those who buy into and live there agree to for various reasons. But here we talk about 2 issues that can crop up at the time of sale/purchase of a unit in a condo or home-owners’ association: resale certificates and association liens. The association can (and usually does) charge a fee for a resale certificate, but it is oh so important for the seller, buyer and association – some reasons why are noted in the post. HINT: in PA a resale certificate has statutorily-mandatory contents and certain legal effects. And what about liens in favor of the association resulting from the owner/seller’s failure to pay assessments or other amounts due? Not only should those be listed on the resale certificate, but there can be an effect on title (see the post and know PA law).
TAKEAWAY: Consult a community association lawyer before you sign on the dotted line to buy a unit in a condo or HOA – know what you will be getting into – and if questions arise during your ownership or Board service.
Finally, in the post yesterday 10/22/2022, we saw a Court rules that it’s unconstitutional to let transgender guard strip search Muslim prisoner. In 1995 Rufus West was convicted of armed robbery. West is a 51-year old Muslim man. He said that in 2016 a strip search occurred and that a trans male guard was asked to observe while another guard conducted the search. West filed a religious exemption request with the warden to prevent that from happening again. Based on the response (in the post but you can guess). West filed suit in 2017 and cited his religious beliefs – see the post for details. The suit was dismissed in 2019 after weighing West’s religious beliefs against the guard’s right to identify and be treated as a man. The arguments of the attorney general (some of which were weighed on by the Supreme Court in Bostock) are noted in the post – and swayed the judge. But that decision was recently overruled by a federal appellate court. How the appellate court weighed the conflicting rights is in the post – along with what is said West was entitled to as a result.
TAKEAWAY: There are many situations where one person’s right to something conflicts with another’s right to something else and the decider (often an employer) must make a decision. The safest thing for an employer in that situation is to consult an employment lawyer.