Articles Posted in Employment

Inclusive_Progressive_Pride_flag-300x186The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) recently created a new webpage with helpful practical information to guide employers and employees about employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. This new webpage provides additional clarity about sexual orientation and gender identity protections based on the 2020 Supreme Court decision in Bostock v. Clayton County (decided on Jun. 15, 2020). In Bostock, the Supreme Court held that those firing individuals because of their sexual orientation or transgender status violated Title VII’s prohibition on discrimination because of sex. Title VII is part of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, a national law that prohibits employment discrimination based on protected classes of people such as race, color, religion, sex, and national origin.

The new webpage is intended to function as one comprehensive resource to educate employees, applicants, and employers about the rights of all employees, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender workers, to be free from sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination in employment. In addition, the new webpage includes information on related topics of harassment and retaliation. Although Title VII and Bostock only apply to employers with 15 or more total employees and does not generally apply to independent contractors, associations with any employees can still learn best practices from these new EEOC resources to prevent discrimination (and liability) in the workplace.

We share below some important reminders and takeaways from the recently published resources:


This April marks the 53rd anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 (also known as the Fair Housing Act), which “prohibited discrimination concerning the sale, rental, and financing of housing based on race, religion, national origin, [and] sex” written by Senator Edward Brooke, the first African American popularly elected to the U.S. Senate.

If you missed SwedelsonGottlieb’s webinar on Civil Rights & Fair Housing in Community Associations, you can catch it here: under the “hot topics” videos tab or listen to it on the HOA Show. We discuss the history, current events and the seemingly never-ending challenges that we still face today.
Sandra L. Gottlieb, Esq., CCAL and Joan Lewis-Heard, Esq. were featured guests on The HOA Show podcast hosted by Ryan Gesell, CIRMS, CMCA of Cline Insurance Agency. In the episode, they talk about the Civil Rights Movement, the history of the Fair Housing Act and other discrimination thwarting legislation, and the impact on community associations. We hope that you will find inspiration from Civil Rights Activists who fought against segregation and championed Fair Housing, learn what is required when discrimination occurs, and discover the best practices to put in place. Let’s start the conversation of how we can work together as an industry to combat racism in community associations. Listen to the podcast here:

By David C. Swedelson, Partner at SwedelsonGottlieb, Community Association Attorneys

super-bowl-50-hero.jpegMany of our condo and HOA association clients have employees. Some have many employees. And this week, many of those employees are talking about and betting on the game, oftentimes while at work. In fact, some employees have set up betting pools encouraging other staff members to place wagers on various aspects of the game. Legal? What about all that cash that is being passed amongst employees? And what about the lost productivity?

And talking about productivity, leading up to the game, employees will be reading articles about the game, texting friends about the game, etc. Many will be communicating with friends regarding Super Bowl parties. And they will be doing this while they should be working. Can or should your association enforce productivity standards?

By Sandra L. Gottlieb, Managing Partner at SwedelsonGottlieb, Community Association Attorneys


Wage & hour lawsuits are being filed with increasing regularity, and community associations, as employers, are not exempt. Unfortunately, some of our association clients have already been sued on wage and hour claims, and it appears that the risk of the association employer being sued for these claims is greater than ever.

What can you do to not be a target for litigation? Start by evaluating your association’s pay practices.
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By David Swedelson, Senior Partner at SwedelsonGottlieb, Community Association Attorneys

weedwhack.pngWe know that most of you are likely overwhelmed with the new Davis-Stirling Act. But there was other new legislation that impacts many California community associations.

Minimum Wage

By Sandra L.Gottlieb, Condo Lawyer and HOA Legal Expert, Senior and Managing Partner at SwedelsonGottlieb, Community Association Attorneys

donald.pngWe are often called upon to assist boards of directors with the termination of an association employee. All too often, however, we are called too late, after the board or manager has terminated the employee, and frequently we find that the termination was done incorrectly and problems have arisen. When terminating an employee, it is always best to consult with legal counsel first, as there are appropriate and inappropriate ways to terminate an employee. By talking first with legal counsel, the board and/or manager can ensure that termination is the appropriate remedy and ensure that it is done correctly to avoid exposure to the association as the employer, avoiding expensive and time-consuming litigation.
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Blog Post by David Swedelson and Sandra Gottlieb, Senior Partners at SwedelsonGottlieb; Condo Lawyers and HOA Attorneys

SB 559 goes into effect on January 1, 2012 and expands the prohibited bases of discrimination under the Unruh Civil Rights Act and the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) to include genetic information.

“Genetic information” is broadly defined, and includes information relating to an individual employee’s genetic tests, the genetic tests of the employee’s family members, and the manifestation of a disease or disorder in the employee’s family members. Under the new law, discrimination in hiring or employment based on any of these characteristics would be considered a violation of law.

By David Swedelson and Sandra Gottlieb, Condo Lawyers and HOA Attorneys, Senior Partners at SwedelsonGottlieb

On October 9, 2011, Governor Brown signed into law several new bills impacting California community associations as well as their managing agents who are employers. These new laws include the imposition of penalties for “willfully misclassifying” workers as independent contractors and the creation of a new definition of “gender” when interpreting California’s anti-discrimination statutes to include gender identity and transvestitism. Follow this link for a summary of some of the new laws that will have the biggest impact on California community associations and their management and vendors.

By Sandra L. Gottlieb, Esq.

Although the legal definition of what constitutes a “hostile work environment” is continually evolving, an employer has a general duty to protect its employees from a hostile work environment which can generally be defined as existing when an employee experiences ongoing workplace harassment and fears going to work because of the offensive, intimidating, or oppressive atmosphere generated by the harasser. Hostile work environments apply to community associations and their managing agents, whether they are directly employed by the association or through a management company. The harassers can be board members, owners, residents and even vendors. The association’s duty to provide a hostility-free work environment also extends to all association employees, and not just the manager(s), and to the employees of its vendors such as landscaping, maintenance and security personnel.
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